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