Ski to the Edge sets off: a 600 Mile Yukon Wilderness Expedition

Yukon Government Archives photo shows Alex Van Bibber, Curly Desrosiers and Harry Cooper in the Firth River area in 1948. (Alex Van Bibber collection, 92/28 #15, Yukon Archives)

The late Alex Van Bibber was a child of the Gold Rush era in the Yukon Territories, born in 1916. In 1943, he led the Canoil expedition to find a new oil pipeline route as a result of concerns over the Japanese landing on the nearby Aleutian Islands. We were hugely privileged to hear Alex’s stories first hand as he gave us his last interview in 2014, at the age of 98. He shared tales of rafting to school from their home in Fort Selkirk to Dawson City with him, as the oldest child aged 13, in charge. He later starred in films about the Yukon, ‘Challenge to be free’ and ‘The Last Trapper’, he took the Chicago mob hunting and even took the Kennedy family up Mount Kennedy. His life was full of rich adventures as a guide, instructor and rescuer – the modern day title of ‘legend’ was well deserved.

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Exploring the most splendid playground in the world! Recording UK marine wildlife.

“The seashore is the most splendid playground in the world. There is so much to do and so much to see that we never grow tired of being there. No matter how long a time we may spend at the seaside, there are always new treasures to seek, fresh discoveries to make – always something more to interest or amuse us.”                                                                                      
                                                                                                           The Sea Shore by F. Martin Duncan

Those words were written over a hundred years ago in a book for children but they are still true today, and just as true for adults as for kids – in my case anyway! You will find me exploring the marine environment at every possible opportunity, snorkelling, diving, turning over boulders on the seashore and peering into rockpools.  Continue reading

Snowshoes, hot tents and contentment in Sweden

Like quite a lot of people, I suspect, I once considered the onset of winter, with the mountains locked in snow, as the end of play. Not being a particularly good skier, deep snow meant a full stop to three seasons of boreal travel. My discovery of snowshoes has radically changed things. Continue reading

Crossing Australia – no weak link

When I pack for an overseas film shoot my first thought is ‘what can I pack that I don’t mind destroying?’. Usually I can expect the shoots to be in pretty extreme environments (think mountains/ deserts/ jungle). As a result I have an enormous drawer full of crapped-out clothing which include: a pair of combat trousers with more stitch marks than a rag doll, another pair which are gaffa-taped together and pretty much all of my shirts have holes in places there shouldn’t be holes. This is what I have worn on adventures for almost a decade – disposable clothing – because nothing tends to survive long in the field when you’re crawling through the dirt and dust, running up mountainsides, jumping in rivers and then sleeping in these same clothes. Continue reading

The right tools

Arriving at any new venue, it is easy to expect that you will be able to capture the perfect “Google” photo – that classic ‘wow’ image that appears when you tap a location into a search engine. It is a natural reaction and one we are all prone to.  But the weather gods are fickle, often conspiring to scupper our preconceptions when we actually get out of the car. Continue reading

If it’s good enough for an otter…

I have been living and working in the Lake District for over 17 years. I teach wilderness bushcraft and expedition skills, instructing on everything from wild foods and tracking to axemanship and woodcraft, spending well over one hundred nights a year living outdoors under canvas in the UK, and travelling overseas to lead expeditions in the colder months, from dry desert to coastal tropical, and from steaming jungles to frozen sub-Arctic environments. Continue reading

Jumping the midnight sun

So here I am, an Adventure Leader for British Exploring, fresh back from the land of fire and ice. It was three awesome weeks of inspirational landscapes and people. I’ve always loved geography, and one of the reasons I entered the world of outdoor education was to immerse myself in the geography of the world.

Iceland is about as amazing as it gets when you are looking for a few geography topics to bring into the day. We spent one evening jumping the sun at about 11pm! It was a memorable way to grasp the concept of the midnight sun! Continue reading

Madagascar’s ‘Silk’ Route

I’ve been visiting Madagascar for over 20 years: in fact I’ve returned each year since 1991. Back then it captivated me like no place had done before, or since, and my enthusiasm has yet to diminish. Since my first visit in 1998, one place on the island has been my favourite – Marojejy National Park in the far north east. It is one of Madagascar’s wildest places.

I initially visited the park with just one aim – to get photos of the incredibly rare silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus). Continue reading