Dan Richards Booked! Festival 2019 review Mary Irvine
Dan Richards ‘Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the World’
Balloch Library Sunday 19th May 2019
This was my favourite event of this year’s festival.
The great intrepid British explorer, risking life and limb to go where no man has gone before (or rarely, in this case) is not of a bygone age. He is very much alive, roaming the outposts of the world, sleeping in huts (the garden shed variety,) bothies, sæluhús (houses of joy), shrines, research stations. Snow clad mountains, deserts, inhospitable terrain. All have one thing in common – wilderness (albeit a beautiful wilderness) and Dan Richards!
Illustrated with amazing slides Dan took us on his own journey of how he came to be this man who travels the world, often on a wing and a prayer, apparently. His story began with elderly relatives who had done wonderful, exotic, exciting things. No ‘spoilers ‘in this review but a fascinating account of their exploits when climbing was done in plus fours and brogues. Must be in the genes, Dan. Would love to see you in plus-fours with belted coat and brogues. Maybe a cane stick? Another inspiration was the pelvis of a polar bear his father brought home. Don’t even ask about the elephant gun. Come to think of it Dan’s father probably also had those genes.
The stories of the haunted house of joy in Iceland, Simon Starling’s shed (made into a boat/winning the Turner Prize) were told in humorous fashion. Dan soon built a rapport with his audience with a great presentation full of throwaway humour and asides. It was clearly his warm personality that drew new friends to him where-ever he went.
There was a serious side to Dan’s talk. It was a subject about which Dan was obviously very passionate and sincere – that of protecting our planet before we reach the point of no return.
I look forward to reading ‘Outpost’ and dipping into some of Dan’s previous books.
Welcome back the great British, (if slightly eccentric), adventurer…
‘Outpost’, published by Canongate, available on Amazon, Hardback £11.87, Kindle £8.54
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