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

Steve Bell (c) Steve Bell

Steve Bell

Ex-Bristolian Steve Bell started climbing in 1975 at the age of 16. He soon became one of Britain's up and coming young mountaineers, climbing the North Face of the Matterhorn when he was 18, and the infamous Eiger two years later. Expeditions to Alaska and the Himalaya followed soon after. In his early twenties he took a break from climbing, spending a season with the British Antarctic Survey before joining the Royal Marines. In 1987, along with Steve Berry, he co-founded the trekking company, Himalayan Kingdoms.

Steve was one of the pioneers of high altitude mountain guiding. In 1993 he became the first Briton to guide clients to the summit of Mt Everest. He founded the mountain guiding company, Jagged Globe, and led expeditions to all of the coveted Seven Summits. In 2004 he emigrated to Australia with his then wife and three children. Recently he was diagnosed with a chronic back condition which forced a premature end to his mountaineering. Steve Bell is a writer, public speaker and entrepreneur, and lives near Melbourne with his wife, artist Rossy Reeves.

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


Coming Up Next...

Extreme Sleeps and Wild Nights

Phoebe Smith - 14/12/2016 19:30

Phoebe is as passionate about the outdoors as she is about travel and has written about both extensively in national and international press and has appeared on radio and TV talking wild camping, travel and women in the outdoors. In this talk she’ll take you with her on a journey around the world to reveal the wildest nights out on the planet. She’ll show you how you can make the most of your weekends here in the UK, unlocking some of the best places to wild camp. She’ll have you reaching for your bivvy bag as she recounts her ‘Extreme Sleeps Challenge’ in which she became the first woman to sleep solo at the extreme points of mainland Britain and will share with you hard-won advice on what to pack, staying safe in the wilderness and how to have some wild nights of your own.

This is a Ginette Harrison Memorial lecture

Diving into Darkness, Explorations in Sistema Huautla

Chris Jewell - 11/01/2017 19:30

Sistema Huautla is a cave system in Mexico's Sierra Mazateca mountains. It's been explored since the '60s and has been the site of multiple expeditions involving cavers from all over the world, many of them from the UK, including the founder of The Bristol Climbing Centre, the late Rob Parker; in 1994, British cave diver Ian Roland tragically died in the terminal sump, using a prototype rebreather apparatus.

In 2013 an international team of cavers and cave divers re-launched exploration in the Huautla cave system with an expedition to dive sump 9 and go beyond what was once called "the most remote point reached inside the earth". Three years later in 2016 Chris Jewell was back in Mexico with another team, this time diving the Huautla resurgence. This talk will recap on the 2013 expedition and the logistics of cave diving in remote locations before unveiling the finds of this year’s expedition. Cave diving in Huautla involves the use of technical diving equipment including rebreathers and mixed gases. This makes it possible for the explorers to spend many hours under the water and travel to both great depths and distances - all in the name of exploration, to go see places no one has ever seen before. In this talk Chris will give you an insight into the world of cave diving, the psychology of the divers, the logistics of technical diving and the thrill of real exploration!


Martyn Ashton - 25/01/2017 19:30

Martyn will tell the story of his riding career and the life changing accident he suffered in 2013 follwing which, he says, "I have learnt so much about myself, life and what is important". Along the way he's tried many new sports and also managed to find a way to ride mountain bikes again. His talk will feature photos and videos of his riding, illustrating important moments from his extraordinary career and his post-accident progression. 'It was awesome but really hard', was his comment after his first spin around the Newport velodrome on a handcycle.