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.
Tickets are available from Stanfords' Bristol shop and their online store. Click our ticket office link
Rick Stanton MBE
Having been lured to the adventures of cave diving after simply watching a TV programme when he was 18, Rick found that he probably had an aptitude for it. Cave divers generally fall into one of two categories: technical divers who dive in flooded caves but rarely leave the water, and cavers who dive but treat the flooded section as a barrier to finding further dry caves. Rick Stanton is a rarity in that he is at the top of both disciplines. Time and again he has exhibited a knack for pushing beyond the limits at which others believed the cave to have ended.
Rick, a firefighter from Coventry, has been at the forefront of British cave diving for over twenty years. Initially a dry caver, he learnt to dive while at university in 1979 with the primary intention of exploring caves & sumps in the British Isles, which he continues to do. Since 1998, Rick has been involved in technical cave diving using rebreathers (often two at a time) for long penetration and depth. He has concentrated on the long deep siphons of N Europe, mainly in the Lot region of SW France, but also in the other French, Spanish and Italian caves where he specialises in combining caving techniques with long and often deep multiple sump systems, transporting large amounts of diving equipment through the dry sections of the cave in the pursuit of exploration. In 2010 Rick and Bristol diver John Volanthen were instrumental in a rescue attempt of accomplished French diver Eric Establie who was trapped by a silt avalanche inside the Ardeche Gorge, near Marseille, for which both divers subsequently received awards.
Please check our Whats On to see this season's line-up.
Rick Stanton MBE - 11/12/2013 19:30
Since 2009 Rick has been part of a small team of highly experienced & specialized cave divers making significant progress exploring the flooded tunnels of Pozo Azul, a major resurgence cave in Northern Spain. Cave diving is one of the last few activities where truly original exploration may be accomplished by the amateur explorer. Yet these are no ordinary dives, the underwater journey to the current limit is a record breaking total diving distance of 9km & the team spend two days camped underground in 'Tipperary', as they call an air chamber along the route. In such an environment there is a total reliance on equipment and individual capabilities because there is no-one else that could come to the divers' aid. This lecture will be about the nature of these recent exploratory trips together with an outline of the progression of experience & diving history that has led to this pinnacle of exploration. Rick will convey an understanding of the activity of cave diving & the general approach to such incredible, logistically complicated underwater projects.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes - 08/01/2014 19:30
Ran Fiennes last appeared in our series in November 1999 and we are delighted that he's agreed to appear for us once again. He has led 22 major expeditions to remote parts of the world, including both Poles. In May 2008 he climbed Everest (Nepal-side) to within 400m from the summit. In May 2009 he successfully summited Everest, raising nearly £3 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care. At the age of 68 he is still active and was recently forced to pull out of his latest expedition, ‘The Coldest Journey', a winter crossing of Antarctica, due to frostbite. To date he has raised over £14 million for UK charities. Beyond the Limits will tell his story, or parts of it at least, in his own words.
PLEASE NOTE that this talk will take place in the Victoria Rooms, not our usual venue.
Jamie Maddison - 22/01/2014 19:30
The One Steppe Ahead expedition celebrates a century-old journey by the British explorer Sir Charles Howard-Bury through the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan to explore the Tien Shan Mountains: the ‘Mountains of Heaven'. Jamie - along with expedition partner Matthew Traver - will undertake the 2,500km route Howard-Bury once journeyed along, horse-riding unsupported across the eastern steppe of the country for four months. The pair will face considerable challenges on their voyage: from bartering and buying three suitable horses in Öskemen, temperatures at times exceeding 40°C, exploration of the Jungar Alatau subsection of the Tien Shan range, not to mention maintaining the health of their equine companions over thousands of kilometres of remote travel.
An expedition three years in the planning, One Steppe Ahead is our Award winner for 2013, is supported by the team's patron, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and Jamie and Matt have also received an award from the British-Kazakh Society for ‘The best individual contribution for furthering relations between the UK and Kazakhstan', in light of their efforts to retell this hundred-year-old story of British exploration in Central Asia.