The inaugural Llangollen Adventure Lecture was held in the Wynnstay Arms in Llangollen on 10th May 2016. These series of talks were the brainchild of, and hosted by, the canoeist-adventurer Dave Manby and Peter Carol of ProAdventure, the local and online camping and outdoors business which celebrated its 25th anniversary during 2016.
The aim of these informal series of lectures was to gather the local mountain bikers, rafters, kayak paddlers, climbers, hill runners, walkers and cavers to come and talk about their adventures and share their experiences.
The inaugural talk, ‘Mountains High and Rivers Deep’, was a specially commissioned presentation by expedition kayaker and author Peter Knowles, who talked about two of his favourite open canoe trips to the Mackenzie Mountains in the far north of Canada, where two renowned and committing rivers cut through the mountains and offer days of real wilderness and white water.
Accompanied by prize winning images of spectacular mountains and dramatic gorges, the talk covered the delights of wilderness camping, wood fires, beautiful walks, rapids and the odd bear story.
The evening was a great success and ensured the return of the Lectures the following month. A not-for-profit £5 entry fee was established, (£4 for advance tickets), in order to build up a kitty so that should a big name be on tour, the organisers had the necessary funds available to book them.
June’s Adventure Lectures were a series of six 10-15 minute talks presented by Milly Reid on the China Caves Expedition of 2003, Richard Prideau on foraging for real in “Should I really eat that?”, Kieran Rae, who talked of the highs and lows he experienced on a 7,000 mile sponsored walk, and Ashley Charlwood on completing the Marathon des Sables.
The Llangollen Adventure Lectures in July were presented by Dave Manby. Through Dave’s talk the audience experienced travelling through India, Iran, Nepal, Turkey and Georgia by kayak, on foot and by bike.
The Lectures went on hiatus during August, as the organisers themselves were up mountains and down dales, but they returned in September with a lively talk by Mathew Wilkinson of Pyranha about his adventures in paradise on the Balearic island of Menorca.
October’s popular short format lectures included ‘Bikepacking’ with Becky Good, ‘Sea Kayaking and Rock Climbing in the Outer Hebrides’ with Chris Eastabrook, and ‘Canoeing the Bonnet Plume River in Canada’ with Tony Howard.
The popularity of these lecturettes by adventurers from near and far was steadily growing and by the time the September talks came round the event had outgrown its venue, so they were relocated to the Sun Inn in Llangollen. Titled ‘Beeline Britain’ the first talk presented in the new location was by Adam Harmer who spoke of being part of the team which in 2014 completed the first ever straight-line journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats, a total of 1,100km. They kayaked, cycled, mountain biked and hiked their way across the UK, completing two record breaking sea crossings on route, including the longest open sea kayak crossing in UK waters – 34 hours of non-stop kayaking over 200km.
The Llangollen Adventure Lectures this month featured adventurer, coach and raconteur Ray Goodwin, who presented a talk on ice climbing in Mount Kenya and paddling the Bloodvein River in “A tale of two mountains. Travels in Kenya and the Sudan”. Sad to say the ice climbs Ray ascended 30 years ago no longer exist, due to global warming.
Booked speakers for the 2017 round of Llangollen Lectures already include mountaineer and author Andy Kirkpatrick in January; coach and explorer Leo Hoare will come along in March to present his adventures kayaking amongst icebergs in Greenland. In February we have tales of Kayaking the Panjshir River in Pakistan.
Thanks to all who have attended in 2016, we look forward to seeing friends new and old in 2017.
As ever, the line-ups and schedules might change so to keep up to date with forthcoming talk’s check our Facebook events page regularly for further details.