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BBC Wilderness Walks

1998: BBC Wilderness Walks

Fridays 8pm, BBC2

"This is the second series of Wilderness Walks made for BBC television in the U.K. and is made up of six x 30 mins documentaries devoted to a single subject. The brief is clear: we steer well clear of the usual television celebrities to find people who have had their lives profoundly affected by a relationship with particular landscapes. Our programmes see our guests joining Cameron McNeish (arguably Britain's best known walker and editor of TGO - The Great Outdoors - magazine) on a multi-day walk through a wilderness area. We're interested as much in our guests and their motivation as the walk itself and aim to get "under the skin" of what motivates our guests and why such landscapes are so important to them.

"We see Ray and Jenny Jardine in a long line of U.S. based wilderness thinkers and philosophers - Muir, Emerson, Thoreau, Abbey etc. We view them as immensely important." -BBC"

We were interested in Ray and Jenny for a number of reasons: their achievements as long distance hikers (PCT 3 times; Triple Crown etc); their importance as innovators (Ray's designing of friends for climbing in the 60's; their own design of kayak for their recent trips in the Arctic etc). But perhaps most importantly for the philosophy, motivation and commitment that lies behind these achievements - from our point of view their whole concept of ultra-lightweight backpacking together with their philosophy of going with nature. From a U.K. perspective we see them in a long line of U.S. based wilderness thinkers and philosophers - Muir, Emerson, Thoreau, Abbey etc. We view them as immensely important and they were right at the top of our list for this second series of Wilderness Walks.

Our team (camera/sound recordist; safety officer; runners etc) are all outdoors people - some with a credible record of climbing; wilderness travel etc. Being with Ray and Jenny was a real privilege and being able to share their lives for a short period an immense pleasure. We found it absolutely fascinating to see and hear at first hand their own views; to see how they camp with tarp; a quilt instead of sleeping bags and lighting fires the traditional way with fire-bow and tinder. Most of this will be totally new to a U.K. audience and will, I think, just blow our viewers away!

Many will have heard of Ray and Jenny but our film will be, I think, a first for British television. All of us were fascinated to see how they operated; delighted to spent time with them and thrilled they entered into the project with typically whole hearted enthusiasm and trust. Wow - we had a great time! And The Three Sisters Wilderness is just superb.

All of our guests are so very different: a former rock singer turned politician; a British government cabinet minister; a Scot who's spent half of each year for the last 30 years exploring the High Atlas mountains of Morocco; a writer who spent 18 months walking the 10,000 km from the Atlantic Ocean to Istanbul etc etc. But each have this fundamental umbilical relationship with their chosen landscape. I guess the Jardines' are unusual in one point: they have taken this relationship further than many of our other guests and integrated it into a whole Wilderness philosophy that our audience will find riveting.

Best wishes from Scotland,

29th October 1998

Richard Else

Series Producer/Director, Wilderness Walks

Triple Echo Productions (television & radio production)

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