Into the Unknown; STAR WATCH Ed Stafford Ventures into Previously Unexplored Territory across the Globe for His New Documentary Series, into the Unknown. the Adventurer Talks Wayward Camels, Human Kindness and Vodka-Fuelled Nights in Siberia with Jeananne Craig

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 22, 2015 | Go to article overview

Into the Unknown; STAR WATCH Ed Stafford Ventures into Previously Unexplored Territory across the Globe for His New Documentary Series, into the Unknown. the Adventurer Talks Wayward Camels, Human Kindness and Vodka-Fuelled Nights in Siberia with Jeananne Craig


N one of the hottest places in the world, the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia, Ed Stafford found himself in a bit of a tight spot.

IThe explorer and adventurer was trekking through the sizzling sandy expanse, with only two camels for company, for his new TV series Into The Unknown, which sees him visit some of the globe's most remote locations.

Three became two, however, when one of the camels - the one carrying all the water - bit through its halter rope and went AWOL.

"I searched the horizon and eventually could see this camel about 700m behind me, it was bloody scary," recalls Stafford, who became the first man to walk the length of the Amazon River in 2010.

"I had this bizarre Wacky Races-style run through the desert, trying to drag this one camel, which had one eye, behind another camel, who was scared and running away from me. At the time, I was just trying to deal with the situation, but [it was] potentially life-threatening, because no water in the desert is a disaster."

The new Discovery Channel show sees Stafford explore what's really going on behind unexplained satellite images of some of Earth's most isolated spots, from an uninhabited expanse of swamp on Kimaam Island in West Papua to the Patomskiy crater in Siberia.

He also returns to the Amazon - where, five years ago, he walked more than 4,000 miles from source to sea over 859 days - to visit a mysterious azure blue pool of water, deep in Brazil's remote Mato Grosso state, and crosses the Zambezi River and floodplain to reach Zambia's "Wild West".

The 39-year-old former Army captain, who was born in Peterborough and grew up in Leicestershire, deliberately didn't embark on each adventure with a set itinerary.

"If you're making a TV programme and you've planned it all beforehand, the fun of the unfolding adventure gets removed. The idea has always been to come up with the idea and fly the next day. I think it works better - all the planning decisions and unfolding just happens on camera," he explains.

It also meant that Stafford - whose previous series, Marooned, saw him stranded with nothing but his video equipment in locations including Thailand, Rwanda and Arizona - often had to rely on the kindness of strangers.

"Because I'd just done so many days in isolation, it seemed like a really nice healthy shift from all of these very introspective survival projects, where you're struggling on your own. Suddenly you're doing all these adventures where you have to draw on people's help. …

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