Adventure Bulletin September 2021

Book of the Month: Life Lessons from the Amazon by Pip Stewart

Hi everyone!

You might be thinking, “Hang on a minute, isn’t this the second Wednesday of September?” And you’d be absolutely right. This month has gone a little awry, but hopefully this will be the last time… Here’s why.

Since I started Intrepid Magazine several years ago (3…? 4?!), I’ve been doing it alongside a full time job. It’s always been a thing on the side that had to somehow fit into the margins of my life: commuting, lunch breaks, evenings. But I’m pleased to announce that I’ve handed in my notice at work to focus on my freelance writing and this magazine.

That might seem like a bold move, since this new format still isn’t actually breaking even. But this is mostly because I simply haven’t had the time to promote it - and luckily my freelancing is going well enough to cover things for now. Almost all of the magazine’s cost are paying our contributors properly and that is definitely worth doing.

Anyway, if adventure teaches us anything it’s to be bold and I really believe we could make something amazing here. So expect a far more regular schedule than the slightly chaotic posting that’s been happening in recent months. Plus member benefits getting better and better!

If you’d like to help out, please do consider forwarding this to a friend or subscribing. Things are only going to get better from here.


Adventure Running Spotlight

This month’s theme is running. We’re calling it adventure running because we mean anything that doesn’t involve doing laps on a track or tarmac. We would say trail running, but that excludes fantastic urban challenges like the Smog Graham Round. More on that in a minute.

There will will probably only be one article coming out this month, since I messed up the schedule by losing the first week. But maybe if I’m quick to commission you’ll get two. Watch this space! For now, here are a few adventure runners in our spotlight this month:

  • Elise Downing ran around the coast of Britain in 2015. We recently featured her book Coasting as Book of the Month. You can download the first 3 chapters to read here. More from Elise at elisedowning.com

  • Anna McNuff ran the length of Great Britain without any shoes on, in a wonderfully bonkers 2352 mile expedition. She did the London Marathon barefoot to practice too. Watch her Barefoot Britain vlogs or find out more here.

  • Tina Page is always on running adventures. Her most recent challenge is Running the Summits: 1000 mountain peaks in 365 days. She also wrote a great article about planning running adventures in a print edition of Intrepid, which is available in our Online Library.

  • Beth Pascall is an ultrarunner (and a doctor) who is systematically going round beating records and winning races! In particular, read her Bob Graham Round blog and the video series of running the Cape Wrath Trail in winter. (All episodes are on the channel, just not in a playlist.)

  • Jasmin Paris is best known for smashing the Spine Race (Pennine Way) record and finishing hours before her next nearest competitor. You can read an account of it, and all her other runs, first hand on her blog jasminfellrunner.blogspot.com

  • Alison Walker became the first person to run the Smog Graham Round solo: a 300km loop that takes in the high points of each of the 32 London Boroughs. An account of the challenge here. Her blog is at runandcake.wordpress.com

  • Sabrina Verjee is best know for her campaign to get the record for the Wainwright Round, taking in all 214 peaks in Wainwright’s guides to the Lake District. She is now the overall record holder, completing the route in under 6 days, but the real achievement is being bold enough to publicly fail again and again before becoming an overnight success.

  • Rosie Swale-Pope is running from the UK to Kathmandu at age 74. When she had to pause her run because of travel restrictions, she ran LEJoG while she was waiting. rosieswalepope.co.uk She documents her runs on Twitter.

  • Rosie Watson is running across Europe and Asia, looking for stories of better ways of living, working and meeting our needs in the climate crisis. Her New Story Run film explains her motivations really well and you can read about the people and projects she’s encountered so far on her blog newstoryrun.wordpress.com

I am sure there are many many more fantastic, adventurous runners out there. Who have we missed?


Adventure News

  • Jenny Tough is all over our adventure news this month! She’s just come in first female at the Silk Road Mountain Race, started her final run of her Running the World’s Mountains project (across the Transylvanian Alps) and been nominated for National Geographic Readers Awards (you can vote for her here).

  • Rosie Stancer and Pom Oliver are walking 600km across Uzbekistan’s Aralkum Desert. Expedition page here.

  • Jane Dotchin made the news by being 80 years old and going on a 600 mile pony trek. She’s been doing it every year since 1972 and, reading between the lines in the article, is probably wondering what all the fuss is about. A refreshing reminder that adventures don’t have to be firsts or record breaking.

  • Abbie Barnes is cycling across the UK via each of the National Parks and their highest summits (she’s getting off the bike for that bit!). More about her challenge here and supporting mental health and green spaces.

  • Katie McCabe, aged 14, sailed around Great Britain piloting her craft solo. News article here.

  • Daisy Adams is a 4 year old cyclist whose Instagram account we just found (managed by her mum). She’s one of 100 Women in Cycling picked by Cycling UK each year. This video made me smile.


Book of the Month

This month’s book is Life Lessons From the Amazon: A Guide to Life From One Epic Jungle Adventure by Pip Stewart.

Life Lessons from the Amazon is the tale of an epic three-month adventure through unexplored jungle terrain – and it might even change your life.

Fuelled by a zest for life and the desire to explore the world around her, Pip Stewart took on a world-first challenge: following Guyana’s Essequibo River from source to sea. With the help of guides from the Waî Waî indigenous community, Pip and her teammates journeyed through the rainforest, facing peril every day as they kayaked rapids, traversed waterfalls and hacked their way through the mountainous jungle of the Guiana Shield, before finally reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

Survival skills and a flesh-eating parasite weren’t the only things Pip took home from the rainforest. From contending with snakes to learning about the value of community, forgiveness and self-belief - in Life Lessons from the Amazon, Pip shares many pearls of wisdom that we can all apply to our own lives. Her hard-won insights invite us to embrace the wildness within ourselves and live more every day.

About the Author

Pip Stewart is a mother, partner, writer and chronic over-thinker. She has a degree in History and Politics from Oxford and a Masters in Journalism from The University of Hong Kong. Pip has cycled halfway around the world and completed a world-first paddle through the Amazon Jungle.

On one of her adventures she got a bit too up-close-and-personal with a sandfly and found a flesh-eating parasite munching through her neck as a result. After contracting leishmaniasis, Pip now campaigns to raise awareness of neglected tropical diseases. When not writing, she can usually be found outside with her partner, Charlie, and daughter, Willow.

Connect and share your own adventures through life: @PipStewart on all platforms.

Read the Book

Here’s your link to read the first three chapters (83 pages) of the book. You’ll need to sign in or become a member to view it.

You can buy a copy from Amazon, Waterstones and Bookshop.org - anywhere that sells books!


To Watch

  • Jenny Tough has released a short film of her run across the Canadian Rockies last year. Looks like some hairy rivers! Watch it here.

  • The North Face’s film New Life explores the adventure of parenthood for two professional climbers.

  • Lucy Shepherd announces her new Amazon Uncharted expedition, supported by the Scientific Exploration Society. Watch the trailer.

  • And on the running theme, Sarah Place vlogs about her Ultra Trail Snowdonia race.


To Read

  • Chrissie Dixie has written an account of her Cumbria Way walk. Read it here.

  • Sally Fawcett has written about her Cape Wrath Ultra experience (she was first female). Blog here.

  • Allie Bailey writes a great blog about running at alliebailey.co.uk It hasn’t been updated in a while but lots of previous posts to read.


To Listen

It’s been a while since we featured any podcasts, so here are a few to get stuck into:

  • Tough Girl Podcast: Sarah Williams’ latest guest is Prerna Dangi, a mountain guide and climber from India. Listen here. Sarah herself is currently on the West Highland Way.

  • Chatting to a Friend Podcast: Catie Friend’s latest guest is Jenny Wordsworth, polar explorer and lawyer turned professional athlete.

  • Joy of SUP Podcast: Jo Moseley talks to Cath Knight about paddleboarding on the River Wye and more.

P.S. There are plenty more podcasts in this thread, feel free to add your own and any favourites!


Thanks very much for reading and see you next week!

Emily