Meet adventurous Bingley couple travelling the world in their retirement, who were tipped from canoe on Zambezi river by a hippo

Bingley couple David and Lynn Pickles have had some incredible adventures around the world since retiring in 2004. Grace Hammond reports.

They have been tipped from a canoe on the Zambezi by a hippo, found a spitting cobra in the bathroom of their accommodation in Zambia and have met some of the crews filming for David Attenborough television series.

David and Lynn Pickles certainly have some remarkable stories to tell family and friends from the best part of two decades travelling the world, after taking early retirement back in 2004.

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The Bingley couple, aged 72 and 69, stopped their jobs as a brick layer and bank clerk to embark on years of adventuring, visiting countries across the globe and encountering wildlife in natural habitats. From trekking through Brazil, to tropical Safaris in India and motorbiking across Europe, they have not looked back since.

David and Lynn Pickles have spent their retirement travelling across the world. Photo: McCarthy StoneDavid and Lynn Pickles have spent their retirement travelling across the world. Photo: McCarthy Stone
David and Lynn Pickles have spent their retirement travelling across the world. Photo: McCarthy Stone
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The sites we have seen with our own eyes in the flesh, rather than what another has captured on their camera phone, is a buzz like no other – there is always a possibility you are seeing something for the very first time that nobody else or very few have been able to witness before. We’ve both lived in Bingley all of our lives, but have always had itchy feet. We are always looking to plan our next trip away and weekends away in England can be just as good as going abroad.”

The couple have been married for 47 years, having met in a pub where they realised they had a shared passion for riding motorbikes. “From there our relationship blossomed into many amazing rides together around West Yorkshire, further afield in the UK, and even into Europe,” Lynn says.

David adds: “It wasn’t just our thrill for bikes that bonded us, we soon realised that our love for nature, wildlife, and the great outdoors were a shared passion also.”

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Over the years, the couple have seen tigers in their natural habitat in India, got up close to elephants in Africa and more recently, took the Shongololo Express train from South Africa to Namibia. Their adventures have created impressive stories to share with family and friends, as well as neighbours at Whitelock Grange, a McCarthy Stone retirement living development, which the pair became the first homeowners to move into last year.

David says: “We lived in a three-bedroom semi-detached house with a large garden which was proving very time consuming to maintain so we jumped at the chance to obtain a maintenance free apartment.

“Moving to Whitelock Grange was a no brainer as it meant we could then lock up and leave our apartment in the knowledge that the property was secure, we could then pursue our love of wildlife and travel. This has been a real lease of life for the both of us.”

Lynn adds: “We have made so many friends who often go out for meals together. The residents have now set up a gardening club and often partake in games of scrabble and jig-saws as well as enjoying fish and chip suppers together. There’s plenty to keep us occupied when we are at home.”

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Looking to the future, remote Zimbabwe is top of their travel list. “It’s a place that has been on our bucket list for several years, but we’ve not managed it yet as it is quite a difficult place to get to,” Lynn says. “We are still working on an itinerary with the hope of finally going next year. We’ve heard such amazing things about it there.”