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.

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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.

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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!

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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). After considerable effort, I managed to get something, but of course this was in the days of film and by today’s standards the pictures were very poor. In more recent years, I’ve returned to Marojejy several times to try and improve on those images and to document more of the park’s diverse wildlife.

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Expedition kit fit for purpose

I believe that there are 4 pieces of kit which are absolute essentials and form the backbone of my kit on any expedition, whether instructing DofE students or out in Nepal climbing Everest. These are boots, sleeping bag, rucksack and waterproofs. Having comfy feet, being toasty in the coldest conditions, feeling my backpack is robust enough for the jobs ahead, staying dry and warm on the inside in the harshest of weather – and knowing that this kit will not be a liability – is key to me being at my best in any situation.

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Outdoors Down Under

After winning best ‘Spirit of Adventure’ image in David Noton’s annual Chasing the Light photo competition, we asked winner Todd Stein to write about outdoor life Down Under.

The winning image, Milky Way over the Outback, was taken in July 2016 during a camping trip to Kooroorinya Falls Nature Reserve, south of Hughenden in Outback Queensland. We were the only campers, so the caretaker let us camp in this unused corrugated iron shack, which had a lovely fireplace just outside, where we did our cooking. My wife and children were already asleep when I noticed that the burnt down fire was just bright enough to illuminate the rusty shack. I took 6 vertical shots and stitched them on my computer to create this panorama.

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Searching for Snow Leopards

The snow leopard is the epitome of remote, rugged wilderness and has for so long been regarded as a mythical ghost of the mountains: a creature that lives unseen amongst the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas and Central Asia. Continue reading

Páramo confirmed 2017 Official Kit Partner for British Exploring

Páramo is supporting British Exploring during their 2017 expeditionary year as official kit partner. British Exploring CEO Honor Wilson-Fletcher commented: ”British Exploring is working to raise awareness of environmental issues through our programmes, and to ensure that we leave no trace behind us when we visit wild, remote and fragile environments. It’s a particular pleasure for us to work with an organisation whose brand is about both technical excellence, always a priority, and ethical manufacturing.”

British Exploring will stage 7 expedition programmes in 2017 for young people, visiting the Amazon, Himalayas, Yukon, Spanish Badlands and Iceland – as part of their work as a Youth Development Charity.

Simon White, Chief Leader Expeditionary Year Iceland 2017 gives his perspective on the work of British Exploring and the Páramo partnership… Continue reading