wilderness LECTURES

Conquest of the Blue Nile

John Blashford-Snell OBE on 02/11/2011 19:30

Advance ?9.00, Door ?9.50, Concessions ?8.50

Chemistry Theatre, University of Bristol
Col. John Blashford-Snell  (c) John Blashford-Snell

John Blashford-Snell, one of the world’s most seasoned and legendary explorers, has organised and led over a hundred expeditions to remote corners of the globe. Fascinated by early civilizations, he has explored the sites of ancient harbours off Cyprus and Libya, discovered forgotten settlements in the jungles of South America and deep in the Kalahari and Sahara deserts. Leading the first expedition to descend the fearsome rapids of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia he developed inflatable boats that revolutionized river exploration. In 1974 he led the major exploration of the entire Congo River with giant inflatable craft. He also led the first
crossing of the complete Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia. In South America, his teams tested the theories of the late Dr Thor Heyerdahl using traditional reed boats to show how ancient people could navigate the rivers. He has carried out numerous expeditions in Guyana and done four to help the Wai Wai tribe. In Nepal John discovered giant “mammoth-like” elephants.

From 1978-1992, under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, he organised and led Operations Drake and Raleigh, involving over 10,000 young men and women in the largest youth leadership expedition ever. Today, as President of the Scientific Exploration Society, he organises expeditions for more mature people concentrating on archaeological, environmental, medical and wildlife projects. He is also President of the water charity Just a Drop which provides clean water for remote communities.

Author of fifteen books, he also finds time to work with underprivileged youngsters in Britain’s inner cities.


Conquest of the Blue Nile (c) John Blashford-Snell

In 1968 the 5000 feet deep, 400 mile Ethiopian Blue Nile gorge was one of the last unknown areas of Africa. Disease, enormous rapids, a huge waterfall, ferocious crocodiles and armed bandits discouraged exploration.

At the request of Emperor Haile Selassie, John Blashford-Snell, then a Royal Engineer Captain, led a team of sixty servicemen and scientists to navigate, map and explore the river, using unique inflatable craft and modified assault boats. In two months they fought rapids and bandits and pioneered white water rafting.

Email a friend

Security question

JQI         S        
6      J    8 2   53W
CTT   WLC   74Q      
E U    I      G   QK9
NTA           5