Adventure Ramblings, June 2023
A journey through the borderlands where adventure meets social and environmental change
Curated by, Adventure Ramblings is how Adventure Uncovered shares thought-provoking adventure stories, following in the footsteps of the seventeen Editions we published between 2020 and 2023 (the seventeenth is in the works!). You can read more about why we’re transitioning here.
Every ramble will be unique. Some will follow a guiding theme, others will rely solely on serendipity. We’ll take in the topical and the timeless, and will wander into adjacent territory from time to time. The beauty of rambling is that you never quite know. (Have something you think we should include? Email Sam at email@example.com)
With that said, let’s begin.
Join us in Wales at the first OUTSIDE Adventure & Film Festival
Co-presented with TYF Adventure, OUTSIDE is a new festival celebrating slow adventures, films and reconnection, all outdoors!
With nature connection at an all-time low, we’ve curated a weekend of outdoor activities and workshops on the wild western tip of Wales, washed down with local food and nighttime screenings of unseen purpose-driven adventure films.
Join us on the Pembrokeshire cliff tops this September 8-10, for wind-down vibes, slow starts and mindful adventuring.
Submissions are open for Adventure Uncovered Film Festival 2024
If you’re a ﬁlmmaker or know any filmmakers looking beyond typical adventure ﬁlm narratives, connect them with AUFF! 2024 submissions are open until November 30th 2023, with early bird entry rates until September 30th. Get involved to be part of the only adventure ﬁlm festival dedicated to stories with social and environmental narratives.
A weekend spent paying to unplug
When John Downes heard about the chance to pay for a weekend away with the option of having his phone taken from him, he was taken aback by how much excitement it brought. So he decided to try it.
The surprising history of roller skating
For most outdoor sports, inclusivity is a recent concern. But from the (relatively) progressive gender politics of 1930s roller derby through a Black- and queer-driven disco scene to an empowering roller renaissance, the story of roller skating fabulously bucks that trend – even in its more rambunctious forms.
Could skiing become socialist?
Amidst corporate consolidation, resort gentrification and growing climate-driven scarcity, skiing has become a sport for rich people. But it hasn’t always been so, and needn’t be in the future. In The Socialist Case for Skiing, Richard Micahel Solomon outlines a fantastic, fanciful vision for a non-profit, publicly owned ski industry.
Europe’s first wild river national park
Seeking a summer adventure? Albania’s Vjosa River was announced in March as Europe’s first wild river national park, a triumph of years of coordinated environmental activism against a deluge of dam proposals. From 2024, all 118 miles of the river in Albania, plus three main tributaries and some surrounding land, will be protected from extractive industries but open to tourists (with expansions to come). Exploring the river - crucial habitat for critically endangered species like the Balkan lynx - would be a fine way to support a model with the potential to address Europe’s diabolical river health.
Is it time to decolonise your lawn?
Not everybody loves a freshly mowed lawn, as it turns out – and for good reason. A colonial British export, supposedly symbolising success and civility, the lawn is in reality the logical end point of a cultural drive to control nature, no matter the implications for biodiversity (and surely the least adventurous green space conceivable). Mowed Down, published by Bitch Media just before they closed, is a good way into North America’s growing anti-lawn movement.
What kind of education could solve the climate crisis?
Black Mountain College, an experimental university in Wales, is offering an interesting new answer in the form of its Sustainable Futures: Arts, Ecology and Systems Change degree, which combines systems thinking, activist pedagogies, artistic methods and nature connection to equip students to realise far-reaching change, not economic growth. Founder Ben Rawlence - best known for his book The Treeline, charting the northward march of the boreal forest – explains the thinking behind Black Mountain College in a recent essay
Gender equality in surfing
In 2021, surfer Lucy Small won the Curly Maljam Pro and called out the massive disparity in men and women’s prize money in her victory speech. After going viral, she’s been campaigning for gender equality in surfing and working on a related film series for Project Blank. The first film, Yama (screening in June in the UK, Australia and North America) documents a pioneering group of female surfers and skaters in Ghana. Matt Barr interviewed Lucy in 2021 for the reliably thought-provoking Looking Sideways podcast, and recently spoke with her and filmmaker Maddie Meddings about Yama.
The reality of the lawless high seas
Stories often paint the high seas - ocean beyond national waters, covering 43% of the planet’s surface - as a romantic canvas of plundering pirates, exploratory voyages and circumnavigational odysseys. But the reality of lawless maritime wilderness is much darker, as the remarkable investigative podcast The Outlaw Ocean makes clear.
A psychedelic meditation on trespass
Inspired by two trespassing friends reassuring suspicious passers-by that they were simply heading “to our uncle’s field,” Acid Camping is a short audio essay about trespassing, land inequalities and how we can reimagine countryside access, recorded by Matt Huxley while out for a mischievous ramble.
A Roger Deakin disco mix
The Swimmer, Patrick Barkham’s biography-cum-memoir of the writer, environmentalist and pioneering wild swimmer, was published last week. To play us out, I was reminded of this wonderful Spoken Word & Nature Disco mix, anchored by samples of Roger Deakin, curated by the folks at Caught by the River – a Deakinish cultural space akin to a riverside gathering. Until our next ramble, play well!
Delhi’s vigilante wildlife rescuers
Oscar-nominated documentary All That Breathes follows brothers Nadeem Shehzad and Muhammad Saud as they dedicate their lives to rescuing black kites falling from Delhi’s polluted skies. It’s a moving, cinematically striking portrait of ecological passion against a backdrop of social and environmental breakdown (even if the title evokes a familiar hypocrisy, whereby tales of animal rescue are celebrated against a backdrop of ignored meat consumption).
The tree climbers of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one place to look for climate solutions; the 2019 UN Champion of the Earth has been pioneering good environmental policy in recent years. Fertile soil, then, for growing a striking subculture of climbers scaling wondrous strangler figs, captured beautifully in Climbing Giants by climbing filmmaker Noah Kane.
Indigenous Bolivian women reclaiming adventure access
Bolivia’s indigenous Aymara and Quechua women, known as cholitas, have faced decades of systematic persecution. Photographer Celia D. Luna’s colourful new series, Cholitas Bravas, sets out to document defiant cholitas skating, climbing and wrestling in their traditional dresses and signature bowler hats.
2023 Nan Shepherd Prize
The 2023 Nan Shepherd Prize, named after the legendary Scottish nature writer, is open for submissions to writers underrepresented in nature writing through ethnicity, disability, class, sex, gender, sexuality or any other circumstances. The winner will get a book deal with Canongate, following previous winners Nina Mingya Powles and Marchelle Farrell.
Thanks for reading Adventure Ramblings! We’ll be back next month. Subscribe for free if you haven’t already, or forward this to a friend if you have.