wilderness LECTURES

A winter series of public lectures in Bristol the theme of which is world-wide adventure.

Our lecturers are well known explorers, mountaineers, travel writers, TV personalities, adventure sports personalities or anyone who has an epic story to tell and can enthral our audience with a rattling good yarn. The talks are invariably illustrated with slides and/or film.

Featured Speaker

Leon McCarron (c) Leon McCarron

Leon McCarron

Leon McCarron is a Northern Irish writer, film-maker and adventurer. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and specialises in long distance, human-powered expeditions. He has cycled from New York to Hong Kong, walked 3000 miles across China, trekked 1000 miles through the Empty Quarter desert and travelled along Iran’s longest river by a variety of human-powered methods. At the end of 2014 he rode a horse across Argentina, following the Santa Cruz river in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. Most recently, Leon walked from Jerusalem to Mount Sinai to explore another side of the Middle East. He has written one book, produced a TV series for National Geographic and made three independent films. A second book and new film series are due out in 2017.

Please check our Whats On to see this season's line-up.


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Walk the Masar

Leon McCarron - 05/10/2016 19:00

In December 2015 Leon set off from Jerusalem to begin a 1000 mile walk through the heart of the Middle East. The journey took him through some of the most debated, maligned and misunderstood parts of the region - the West Bank of Palestine, Jordan and the Sinai peninsula.

Along the way, Leon collected the thoughts and stories of those he met, as well as travelling on foot through stunning and diverse landscapes; rolling green hills, terraced Mediterranean-esque olive groves, epic deep wadis and vast, rugged deserts. This talk will explore the various layers of culture, history, faith and politics at work in the bubbling cauldron of one of the most complex and compelling places on earth – the Holy Land.


A short ride in the jungle

Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent - 19/10/2016 19:30

In 2013 Antonia spent two months exploring what remained of Indochina's legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail, the labyrinthine military supply network that was the fulcrum of the Vietnam War. By the time the war finished in April 1975 the trail had become a 12,000 mile maze fingering its way through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Now, five decades on, much of it has disappeared, and Ants wanted to explore it before it was too late.

Riding alone on an ancient, pink Honda Cub motorcycle, Ants travelled 2,000 miles through extremely remote areas still laden with unexploded bombs. It was a thrilling and times terrifying journey during which she encountered tribal chiefs, bomb clearance experts, illegal loggers, US and Vietnamese war veterans and many more. She also discovered that Honda Cubs aren't entirely indestructible!

Her talk will be about this journey, which was the subject of her second book, A Short Ride in the Jungle: the Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle.

To find out more about Ants see theitinerant.co.uk or find her on Twitter and Instagram at @AntsBK


Everest the Hard Way

Doug Scott - 25/10/2016 19:00

Everest The Hard Way is the story of one of mountaineering's most extraordinary achievements told by one of the world's most extraordinary men. By 1975 the South West face had already seen off five previous expeditions consisting of some of the strongest mountaineers of the time. In the autumn Chris Bonington and his British team returned to the face and finally succeeded. Doug and Dougal Haston reached the summit just as the sun was setting and left at 7.00 pm. Their torches failed reversing the Hillary Step, wind had blown snow into their steps and they were out of oxygen. They decided it would be prudent to bivouac although it was only 300 feet below the main summit. Doug commented, ‘the main thing was to get out of the wind so we dug a snow cave and sat on our rucksacks for the next nine hours in temperatures around minus 40 degrees centigrade. We managed to survive without sleeping bags, without oxygen, and, as it turned out, without getting frostbite. The net result for me was to really widen the range of where and how I would climb in the future. I knew for sure that from then on I would not be carrying cylinders of oxygen”.

This will be a Paul Esser Memorial Lecture, in association with UBSS and UBMC, in aid of Community Action Nepal.