Adventure Ramblings, December 2023
A journey through the borderlands where adventure meets social and environmental change
Happy New Year, friends!
I hope you’ve all started as well as can be hoped.
As the date of this December Ramble attests, getting into the orbit of things took me a little time this year, following a deliciously slow break. No bad thing.
A particular welcome to new readers, who may not know that Adventure Ramblings is how Adventure Uncovered shares thought-provoking adventure stories. Curated by
Seen something you think we should include? Email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. Likewise, comments are always gratefully received.
📂 AU archives
Crawling the countryside dressed as a sheep
Artist Miranda Whall once read her personal diaries aloud to a field of cows. She won a one-way shouting match with some jellyfish. And she has bragged to a sea anemone about everything she excels at. She has also crawled through the countryside dressed as various animals, festooned with GoPros. All good reasons to chat with her for Edition 3, back in 2020.
Miranda Whall sheep crawling. Photo by Rhys Thwaites Jones.
Measuring the awe of a big trip
One reason we adventure is awe: that feeling of encountering something magnificently, incomprehensibly vast. Awe stops us in our tracks. It rearranges our perspective, and helps relieve us of the burden of striving for importance. But how, exactly? For John Hopkins Magazine, Ashley Stimpson explores how psychedelic researchers are trying to answer this question – with help from awe-inspiring landscapes.
Walking Ireland’s ancient transhumance routes
The Burren – ‘rocky place’ in Irish – is a karstic upland in County Clare and County Galway on the west coast of Ireland. For 6,000 years, farmers here have practised transhumance: rotating livestock between grazing grounds on a seasonal cycle. In this Dark Mountain essay, Max Jones joins the autumn cattle drive, from a lowland farm up onto the surprisingly biodiverse winterage of The Burren.
The forgotten surf history of Hawaii’s forbidden island
Ni’ihau, also known as the ‘Forbidden Isle’, is the westernmost point of the Hawaiian archipelago. Since 1864 it has been owned by the American Sinclair-Robinson family, who have, since the early 20th century, barred almost all visitors, in order to protect the health and heritage of the small indigenous population. Against this peculiar backdrop, Chris Cook’s Surfer’s Journal longread tells the largely forgotten story of Ni‘ihau’s surfing history.
Sixty Days on Mongolia's Selenge River
When plans were announced to dam Mongolia's Selenge River – the best remaining stronghold for the planet's largest salmonid, the taimen – Peter Fong had to learn more. Rowing to Baikal tells the story of the subsequent expedition, from the Selenge headwaters to Russia's Lake Baikal. Over 1,500 kilometres by horse, camel, and kayak, Fong traces the history of this mighty watershed.
The cabin dweller of Yellowstone
The Winterkeeper is a meditative short doc profiling Yellowstone National Park caretaker Steven Fuller. Settling into his cabin for the winter, Fuller’s words and photographs recount an idyllic life unfolding beneath the darkening clouds of environmental crisis.
Skiing in search of wolverines
A slightly older film, Finding Gulo follows a pair of citizen scientists – a backcountry ski guide and a field biologist – trying to document an elusive, endangered population of wolverines in Washington State’s Cascade Range. The film blends nature doc, ski flick, and charming character portrait, with a garnish of winter noir.
The dying whistling traditions of northern Laos
Birdsong is a short film by Omi Zola Gupta and Sparsh Ahuja charting the dwindling whistling language of Laos’ Hmong people. It’s an exquisite exploration of the relationships between language, landscape, and outlook – and what we lose when they are severed.
Banff Mountain Film Festival UK Tour
The world’s premier adventure film festival (after AUFF, obviously) begins its 2024 UK tour at the end of January, with dates scattered through to spring. Two programmes of stellar outdoor films to stoke your fire through the dark days.
The politics of the Great British Outdoors
In each episode of Novara Media’s ACFM podcast – the self-described ‘home of the weird left’ – Jeremy Gilbert, Nadia Idle, and Keir Milburn connect progressive politics with culture by musing on a specific topic. It’s impossible not to gather interesting songs, reads, and thoughts along the way. This discussion of The Outdoors spans Edwardian cycling, trespass, national parks, camping, and more.
Drone Photo Awards 2023
The winning shots from the 2023 Drone Photo Awards are predictably entrancing and mind-bending. For our purposes, the Sports category features plenty of adventure. But all the categories – including Wildlife, Nature, and People – are worth your time.
Thanks for reading Adventure Ramblings! We’ll be back next month. Subscribe for free if you haven’t already, and forward this to your likeminded friends.