Pompeii: Vesuvius’ legacy and warning

October 2 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


David Edwards

Pompeii and Herculaneum in the Bay of Naples were destroyed but also preserved by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, as searingly hot avalanches of ash overran them. Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was buried to a depth of only 4m and an exploration of its excavated streets and buildings can teach us much about the Roman way of life. Herculaneum, buried to a depth of 20m, presented a more challenging excavation but has preserved taller buildings and while a smaller site, is an extremely dramatic one.

Using his expertise as a guide to Pompeii and Herculaneum David explores these fascinating sites and unravels what we can learn from them. Multiple visits have allowed David to build up a library of great images, stories and insights. But Mt. Vesuvius still looms over all, and threatens one of the most densely populated areas of Europe, making it the most dangerous volcano in the world. David uses his geology background to examine the likelihood of it erupting again and what the consequences would be. An assessment of the emergency evacuation plans is combined with his knowledge of other volcanic areas to provide worrying insights.

Web Site: http://www.guestspeaker.earth/


There’s always the hills

October 16 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


Cameron McNeish

Cameron McNeish is a man whose fields of interest include mountaineering, hill-walking, backpacking, cycle touring, mountain biking and Scots and Irish traditional music. He is also an enthusiastic campervan man! For twenty years Cameron was editor of The Great Outdoors magazine and before that he was editor of Climber Magazine. He is an experienced television and radio presenter whose successes include The Edge: 100 Years of Scottish Mountaineering; two series of Wilderness Walks; and The Adventure Show. He is President of the Backpackers Club, Vice President of Ramblers Scotland and Patron of Scottish Orienteering and Mountain Aid.

He has written many books on outdoor subjects and is recognised as one of the UK’s leading  commentators on outdoor affairs. In 2010 Cameron was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by PPA (Periodical Publishers Association) Scotland for his services to magazine publishing and in 2015 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Adventure Awards. In 2016 Cameron was presented with the Oliver Brown Award by the Scots Independent newspaper for his work in showcasing Scotland. Earlier this year he was the recipient of the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture.

He is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and lives in the Scottish Highlands in the shadow of the Cairngorms with his wife Gina.

He’ll talk on the subject of his new book, ‘There’s Always the Hills’ published by Sandstone Press. This is an autobiography and the talk will look at 40 years of earning a living from writing and making television programmes about climbing hills and exploring some of the world’s wild places

Web Site : http://cameronmcneish.wixsite.com/cameronmcneish


Poles at the crossroads

October 30 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


Doug Allan

“For me, wildlife cameramen don’t come much more special than Doug. There’s just no one else who knows these frozen worlds as he does” Sir David Attenborough

Did you ever wonder how to approach belugas underwater? Get up close and personal with polar bears without being eaten? Or not lose that important dive hole when you’re diving under the ice?

Doug Allan is a documentary film maker and photographer, best known for his work in cold, remote places on BBC wildlife and expedition series. His presentation Poles at the Crossroads talks about his 40 years of experience in marine biology, diving and filming in both the Arctic and Antarctic. He has witnessed first hand how climate change is affecting both poles. Is there still time to turn the tide?

Doug spent eight years in Antarctica as a research diver, scientist and photographer for the British Antarctic Survey, before changing direction to full time filming in 1984. Since then he has become one of the world’s best known and respected cameramen. He specialises in natural history, expeditions and science documentaries in some of the wildest and most remote places on our planet, particularly the polar zones. Over his career, he’s filmed for series like The Blue PlanetPlanet EarthFrozen PlanetOcean Giants, Operation Iceberg and Forces of Nature, as well as making programmes for the Living Oceans Foundation about coral reef conservation and overfishing.

His photographic awards include eight Emmy’s and five BAFTA’s. He has four Honorary Doctorates in recognition of his camerawork, as well as two Polar Medals. He’s an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and of the Royal Photographic Society.

Doug’s book will also be on sale                   Freeze Frame – a Wildlife Cameraman’s Adventures on Ice              £25

Web Site : http://dougallan.com/


Animals behaving badly

November 13 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


Mike Leach

Dr Michael Leach is a full time wildlife author and photographer. He has travelled to all 7 continents and worked with many of the world’s most charismatic animals – polar bears in the Arctic, gorillas in central Africa, lemurs in Madagascar, sperm whales in the mid-Atlantic, monkeys in the Amazon, penguins in the Antarctic and elephants in Kenya. As a professional naturalist, Michael will sometimes admit that parts of his job are incomparably wonderful. After all he is paid to visit remote and exotic destinations to study some of the most fascinating wildlife on earth. But envious onlookers forget the giant bugs, cold, lack of sleep, foul smells, underhand skullduggery, horrible food,  exhaustion and frequent embarrassment that make up the everyday existence of anyone who works with wildlife in the field. But when pushed, even slightly, he has been known to add that he would never want to do anything else. This is his perfect job

The Talk  – It’s not only humans that develop bad habits. Meet drunken monkeys, psychotic magpies, light-fingered apes and gluttonous owls. And discover why bad behaviour and intelligence are often very closely connected.

Web Site : https://www.michael-leach.co.uk/


1,000 mile bicycle race across Alaska

November 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


Andrew Heading

Andrew started cycling early, inspired by parents’ exploits on 3-speed sit-up-and-beg Raleighs! Cycled across Sahara to Burkina Faso in ’86, and – with brother Steve – bought first MTBs soon afterwards. Trips across the Pyrenees, Atlas Mountains, Simien Mtns of Ethiopia followed, and a first venture into Alaskan winter riding in 1998. In ’01, became first European to win the 1,100-mile Iditasport Impossible; in ’02 finished 2nd, becoming the first person ever to complete the race’s northern and southern routes human-powered. Also ride Polaris, trailquest and the UK’s ever-popular 12 and 24-hour races, usually in a team with brother Steve and Matlock riding mates Alan Sheldon and Aidan Leheup. Am lucky to live on the outskirts of Matlock, Derbyshire, which must have the UK’s best mix of MTB terrain right on the doorstep…

He will take us to a February, on a snowy startline in Alaska, where competitors gather to take part in the world’s longest winter race – the 1,000-mile Iditasport Trail Invitational (https://iditasport.com/).  A few years ago, Andy Heading was one of 125 taking part – with the simple aim of being the first European to ever complete the event.   Along the way, he encountered wolves, hallucinations and temperatures of 50 below, and followed in the footsteps of gold prospectors and husky-teams who’ve trodden this infamous trail since the late 19th century.

Web Site : http://www.lumicycle.com/individuals/andy-heading

To Eritrea and Ethiopia with John Pilkington

January 15 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


John Pilkington

In 1868 the British government mounted an extraordinary bid to rescue a clutch of European hostages in the Ethiopian highlands. They built a Red Sea port, then a railway across the coastal plain, and finally imported 44 Indian elephants and commissioned 26,000 local people to serve the soldiers and carry their heavy artillery into the heart of Africa.

A hundred and fifty years later, John has been following their route, partly on foot with a donkey, and has been comparing Ethiopia then and now. He’s found a people who are boisterous and charming, living in a dramatic and extremely challenging land. History and adventure combined! On his return he said, “Only the Victorians would have set off on such a mad mission. The captives were being held in a supposedly impregnable hilltop fortress 400 miles inland. Despite arduous conditions, the invaders reached it, freed them, and put an end to the emperor who for four years had been their persecutor. They then looted his rich collection of treasures – which they saw as booty – but to its credit Whitehall resisted the temptation to turn the success into a full-scale colonisation bid. Had it done so, the Horn of Africa’s history might have turned out rather differently. Instead, they simply made their way back to the coast, dismantled the equipment and took their elephants home. “As well as meeting today’s Eritreans and Ethiopians, of course I captured the drama of the route with lots of photographs, and have put the best of them into this new presentation

Japanese winter wildlife and culture. A photographic journey on Hokkaido and the mainland.

January 29 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


John & Rosamund Macfarlane

In winter 2017, John and Rosamund Macfarlane travelled to Japan. Although the main emphasis of their trip was to photograph the wildlife to be seen in winter, they also had fascinating glimpses into the culture and customs of Japan. After a few days exploring Tokyo, they visited the snow monkeys high in the Jigokudani (“Hell’s Valley”)  mountains of mainland Japan, these macaques being famous for keeping warm in thermal pools during winter. They then travelled to Hokkaido, the northern island of the Japanese archipelago, to spend time with whooper swans that fly from Siberia to spend the winter on geothermally heated lakes, and also  the rare and elegant Japanese red-crowned cranes which are known for their elaborate courtship dances and which feature prominently in Japanese culture. Trips out to the sea ice on the Sea of Okhotsk from the Nemuro Peninsula on the north-east coast of Hokkaido resulted in close and exciting encounters with many magnificent Steller’s and white-tailed sea eagles – the former being one of the largest species of eagle, with a wing-span of up to 8 feet. Contact with foxes and Sitka deer added to the variety of wildlife experiences. The talk will be richly illustrated with photographs and AV sequences.

John and Rosamund have lived in Loweswater, Cumbria for 10 years and are keen, award-winning amateur photographers, travellers and walkers. Most of their trips around the world are focused on wildlife and travel photography and recent destinations have included the Falklands, western Mongolia in late winter to visit the eagle hunters, Southern Africa, Svalbard and the polar seas, Scotland and the Colorado Rockies.


Beeline Britain

February 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


Tori James

Beeline Britain – the record breaking straight-line journey. Have you ever considered what it would be like to travel between two of the UK’s most iconic landmarks in a straight line? Or even where that line goes? Ever since the brothers John & Robert Naylor made the first recorded journey between Land’s End and John O’Groats in 1871, thousands of teams and individuals have completed the journey in a variety of ways, but never in a straight line. In May 2014, the Beeline Britain team set out on this straight line journey which comprised the UK’s largest open sea kayak crossing, its second highest mountain and its third largest city. The team of four included a serving RAF Aircrew, a retired Army Captain and Team GB Paralympian, a professional kayak coach and the first Welsh woman to summit Mount Everest. Team member Tori James will take us on a fascinating 1,100km journey from south to north revealing just exactly what it takes to journey by sea kayak, road bike, mountain bike and on foot through some of the UK’s most extreme urban and rural environments.

Tori James, at the age of 25, became the first Welsh woman to climb Mount Everest. Tori stars in the BBC documentary ‘On Top of the World’ which was produced about her expedition and she is the author of ‘Peak Performance’ which describes her record-breaking climb to the summit on 24 May 2007. She was born in Pembrokeshire and grew up on a farm where she claims to have gathered much of her toughness for venturing outside in all weather. She recently discovered that she is a distant relation of Admiral John Lort Stokes RN who sailed on the Beagle with Charles Darwin between 1831-1836. After gaining a degree in Geography from Royal Holloway University of London, Tori secured her dream first job working for British Exploring, a charity founded by a member of Scott’s Antarctic expedition 1910-1913. In 2005 she was a member of the Pink Lady PoleCats, the first all-female team to complete The Polar Challenge, a gruelling 360 mile race to the Magnetic North Pole. In 2010 Tori cycled the length of New Zealand, a total of 2400km, unsupported from north to south. Tori lives in Cardiff and works throughout the UK and internationally. She is a motivational speaker and consultant delivering leadership training and team development for business as well as youth development projects.

www.beelinebritain.com – @beelinebritain Tori James – Speaker, Adventurer & Consultant  www.torijames.com – @torijtweets


It should all have been stopped

February 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


Maurice Steel

‘It should have all been stopped’  a talk which would look at developments in the Lake District over the years, and imagine what might have happened or not happened if there had been pressure and/or conservation groups active at the time.

Maurice spent his working life as a sheep farmer. For 36 years until retirement in 2006, He farmed at Low Place in Miterdale where my flock of 2000 Herdwick sheep grazed the high fells overlooking Wastwater. Outside work his interests have always been in wild flowers and photography. After many years enjoying camera club activities he became passionately interested in making slide-tape shows using a reel-to-reel recorder. He still has all the enthusiasm but not the recorder.”

Mountain Adventures for the Over 60’s – A solo winter traverse of the Cuillin Ridge and new route climbing in the Himalaya:

March 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm £6





Martin Moran

Martin Moran squeezes some new challenges out of ageing legs; fulfilling a lifelong ambition to make a solo traverse of Skye’s Cuillin Ridge in full winter conditions; and after failing to complete a new route on 7434m Nanda Devi finds redemption a year later teaming up with an old friend to tackle a 4000 foot virgin rock spur in the Indian Himalaya.