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The Lindesays

William Lindesay 


William Lindesay OBE is a geographer by training, and an honorary senior research fellow in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool, his alma mater.  

   Exploiting his 2 hr 39 minute marathon, 69-minute half-marathon and 31:30 10K capabilities, William took up ‘real cross country’ by running Hadrian’s Wall from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway, in 1984. That ‘Wall Fever’ directed  him to China where, in 1987 he became the first foreigner to make a journey on foot along 'the Great Wall' (as the world knows it today) — a distance of 2,470 kms.

   Since 1986 William has spent around 27 years out of the last 30 years in China. He has authored five books on the Great Wall, published by Oxford and Harvard university presses and Penguin among others, and presented his own Great Wall documentary on National Geographic Channel. In China William has curated The Great Wall Revisited exhibition at two premier Beijing venues and is recognized worldwide and within China as  the leading non-Chinese expert in Great Wall Studies.

    In recognition of his pioneering and perseverent conservation work , he’s recently been dubbed ‘Guardian of the Great Wall’ by the Chinese media. He has received many prestigious awards for his work, not only for conservation but also for presenting the Great Wall to the world. These honours include Permanent Residency of China (a great honour), the Friendship Medal, the Great Wall Friendship Award, as well as drawers-full of other awards that make excellent paperweights. His most recent prize, a snazzy red and gold sash, was in recognition of being a ‘Good- Example Setting Citizen in Huairou District, Beijing’.

Qi Lindesay

Qi Lindesay (Chief of Everything — COE)


Qi Lindesay studied history at Xian’s NorthWest University, and is definitely the woman behind William’s success, honours and books. A great adventurer herself, she finally succumbed to William’s third proposal of marriage and bravely went to Britain with her husband when people from the PRC were as rare as pandas. 

      Qi is in charge of anything at WildWall that requires diplomacy, relationship management, planning, logistics or practicalities. 

James Lindesay




Thomas Lindesay, known to most people as Tommy, is an undergraduate student of international relations at Peking University (PKU). He was first carried up to the Great Wall at the age of 6 months, and before his first birthday he had camped beside it. Since then the dust of the Wall has never been out of his fingernails.
Tommy has made two full-length journeys along the Ming Great Wall and participated in two Genghis Khan Wall Expeditions in Mongolia. He is a keen videographer and editor. Along with James, the brothers used drones to film the Great Wall extensively from the air over a 60-day period during the summer of 2016. At the age of 16 Tommy featured alongside his father and brother in a widely watched BBC news feature on droning the Great Wall. Tommy is Depictograph’s film editor.
Tommy is a keen historian and has travelled to more than 30 countries. He is trained in First Response and has practiced his first-aid skills at athletic events and on the high-street. Tommy is also a keen athlete and has participated in road races, trail runs and various Spartan events. He is a certified Hurricane Heat Krypteia (ethos, attitude and skills instructor) for Spartan endurance events and has worked as a race starter MC at events in China. He participated and filmed the Spartan Agoge 003 and 010 events at the Great Wall and on the the Mongolian Steppe.

James Lindesay, also known widely as Jim, and Jimmy by his many Glaswegian friends, is a graduate of World History from Peking University (PKU). The subject of his bachelor degree dissertation was the Jesuit-Kangxi survey of China of the early 18th century from which the detailed geography of the Great Wall was elucidated for the first time.
Jimmy started to spend the majority of his weekends at the Wall in his family’s residence there from the age of four, accompanying William and WildWall guests. At the age of 13 he participated in his first full-length journey along the Ming Great Wall when the Lindesays made a safari journey for 6 weeks. Since then he has made two more full-length Wall journeys. Most recently, in 2018, he accompanied two South African ultra-distance athletes. During their 80-day journey he multi-tasked as a drone pilot, photographer, interpreter and driver. Jimmy has also participated in all three of the Lindesay’s ‘Genghis Khan Wall Expeditions’ to Mongolia’s Omnigovi and Dornod provinces in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
James is a widely-published stills photographer, and in tandem with his brother Thomas was a director of photography of the Lindesays’ flying the Great Wall project of 2016 which saw them filming the Great Wall from the air across the breadth of China and Mongolia. Their work has been broadcast as various stand-alone documentaries worldwide. James is founder of the production company Depictograph, which he named.
Since an early age James has travelled and stayed more than a while in more than 40 countries. He is a keen runner and Spartan race competitor, and was part of the film team for the Spartan Agoge 010 event in Mongolia.
James married his Peking University classmate Elise in 2017 and the double-degree couple of historians offer an exclusive range of specially-curated Beijjng city tours covering the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the National Museum of China, as well as an exquisitely-hosted 48 hour visit to the ancient city of Xi’an taking in the terra-cotta warriors and other splendid sites of antiquity.

(Aide de Camp — ADC)
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