Friday, 25 September 2009

Hot air balloon

Explorer David Hempleman-Adams has broken two more world records after spending 14 hours in a laundry basket-sized capsule attached to a hot air balloon, it was reported, last Sunday. The 52-year old British adventurer flew more than 200 miles from Butler, Missouri, to Cherokee, Oklahoma, smashing the record for the AA-01 class balloon, which had stood for more than 26 years, and also breaking the record for the bigger AA-02 class of balloon. According to some reports the tiny seating capsule was in fact a £78 Ikea laundry basket.
In an earlier adventure, Hempleman-Adams attempted to fly over the north pole in a secondhand basket previously used to take tourists over Bristol. This expedition was in part modelled on that of Swedish explorer and balloonist, Salomon August Andree, who, in July 1897, attempted to drift, along with two companions and 35 carrier pigeons over the north pole to America. The expedition ended in disaster and it wasn't until 30 years later that their remains were discovered, a story included in the Polar chapter of Those Who Dared.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Those Who Dared

Those Who Dared is a collection of Guardian and Observer journalism covering tales of endurance and derring-do, from the past 200 years.

The Guardian and The Observer have always keenly reported the world of exploration and adventure travel,In the 19th century, they covered the British and European explorers who were trying to fill in the 'blanks on the map' - crossing deserts, racing to the poles, searching for the source of the Nile and trying to be the first to master the peaks of the Alps, and, later, the Himalaya. By the turn of the 20th century, interest turned to Everest, the 'third pole', to the deserts that needed to be conquered, and also to the new ways of exploring that opened up a whole new world of adventure - airships over the North Pole and Citroen driving across the Sahara in the 1920s, to name but two.

Those Who Dared, published by
Guardian Books in October 2009, is a collection of the best of these tales of endurance and derring do, covering everything from Gordon Laing's doomed journey to Timbuctoo in 1828; Ernest Shackleton's months on the Antartcic ice; Wilfrid Thesiger's 1940s crossing of the Rub' al Khali to the race to put the first man in space.

Those Who Dared, the blog, will be musings and comments about tales of adventure in the media, plus material that didn't make it into the book.