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

Doug Scott

Doug Scott began climbing in Derbyshire when he was thirteen and without any obvious plan in it was soon discovering the cliffs of Snowdonia, Scotland, the Alps and the Dolomites. He completed his first Alpine season at the age of eighteen. In 1965 aged twenty-three, he went on his first organised expedition, to the Tibesti Mountains of Chad. It was to be the first of many trips to the high mountains of the world.

On 24 September 1975 he and his climbing partner Dougal Haston became the first Britons to reach the summit of Mount Everest and they became national heroes. In total, Scott has made forty-two expeditions to the high mountain of Asia, reaching the summits of forty peaks. With the exception of his ascent of Everest, he has made all his climbs in lightweight or alpine style and without the use of artificial oxygen.

Scott was made a CBE in 1994. He is a former president of the Alpine Club, and in 1999 he received the Royal Geographical Society Patron's Gold Medal.
In 2011 he was awarded the Piolets d'Or Lifetime Achievement award, during the presentation of which his mountaineering style was described as 'visionary'.

In 1995 he founded Community Action Nepal (CAN), a UK-based registered charity which aims to help mountaineers support the mountain people of Nepal. Scott continues to climb, write and lecture, avidly supporting the work of CAN.

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


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Coming Up Next...

to be confirmed

To Be Confirmed Shortly - 05/10/2016 19:00


A short ride in the jungle

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

Ants was forced to cancel her appearance for us in our last season because she had the opportunity to go on a journey to Arunachal Pradesh. We're delighted that she's back in our line up this season, to talk about her solo journey down the remains of Indochina's legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail, the subject of her book, A Short Ride in the Jungle: the Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle.


Everest the Hard Way

Doug Scott - 25/10/2016 19:00

Forty years ago British mountaineers Dougal Haston and Doug Scott stepped onto the summit of Everest, having, for the first time climbed the world’s highest mountain by its massive South West Face. They were the first to ascend this huge wall of rock, snow and ice and their climb would go down in mountaineering history, as ‘Everest: The Hard Way’. Doug will be telling the story not just of the climb, but also how his life led up to this defining moment and where it took him upon his return from the summit.

By 1975 this wall of rock and ice had already seen off five previous expeditions consisting of some of the strongest mountaineers of the time. In the autumn of 1975 Chris Bonington and his British team returned to the face and finally succeeded. Dougal and Doug had 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”.

Using a lightweight approach, Doug went on to continue his outstanding mountaineering career – making over forty first ascents in the Himalaya and Greater Ranges. He also felt a need to set out to help the mountain people of Nepal who had helped him achieve these climbs. He did this by setting up the charity Community Action Nepal

Chris Bonington, CAN’s very active Patron, commented ‘actually, what Doug’s achieved with Community Action Nepal is even more impressive than his climb on Everest. He and his team have set up over forty projects – health posts, schools, porter rescue shelters and other community buildings in some of the most remote and poorest communities in Nepal. Sadly the recent earthquake has destroyed or badly damaged all of the project buildings’.

Following the gripping tale of Everest, Doug will provide an update on CAN's plans and the progress it has made with the reconstruction of the projects in the eighteen months since the earthquake. After his talk Doug will be raising funds to support the work of CAN by selling Nepalese goods and signed framed mountain prints. He will also be selling copies of the first volume of his autobiography, Up and About, which was published last autumn.

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