Guy Mostyn looks ahead to likely high­lights on the 2008 ad­ven­ture-sports cal­en­dar

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Active -

Bruce Parry, the TV an­thro­pol­o­gist (best known from the BBC’s Tribe), is in the mid­dle of the Ama­zon jun­gle on a six-month jour­ney from the Peru­vian An­des to the river’s mouth on Brazil’s At­lantic coast. Un­til now, the ad­ven­turer has only ever been able to spend a cou­ple of weeks with the re­mote groups he meets. This is his chance to probe much deeper and the re­sult will be six one-hour films for BBC2. “This is some­thing Bruce has been work­ing on for a very long time,” says a friend.

Next year prom­ises to be ac­tion-packed. First up on the 2008 cal­en­dar is the North Pole sea­son, which kicks off in mid-Fe­bru­ary. But will any­one get there? Pen Hadow has been forced to post­pone his ground-break­ing sur­vey to mea­sure the thick­ness of the Arc­tic ice-cap un­til 2009. This will be a dis­ap­point­ment for Ann Daniels, who was to be in charge of the day-to-day run­ning of the ex­pe­di­tion. She has put her own am­bi­tions to reach the North Pole on ice in or­der to join Hadow’s en­deav­our. This now leaves the field clear for Han­nah McKe­and to at­tempt the first fe­male solo and un­sup­ported jour­ney to the North Pole – the male ver­sion of the feat was first achieved by Hadow in 2003. A spokesman for Daniels spokesman says that she’s def­i­nitely go­ing, whether she gets spon­sor­ship or not.

Spring will see the an­nual Ever­est cir­cus roll into town. Back for a sec­ond at­tempt is Sir Ran­ulph Fi­ennes, who has teamed up again with the guide Ken­ton Cool for a bid from the Nepalese side, fol­low­ing the route climbed by Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary and Sherpa Ten­z­ing in 1953. Sir Ran­ulph failed on the steeper north­ern route in 2005, just two years af­ter a mas­sive heart at­tack nearly killed him. He is rais­ing money for Marie Curie Can­cer Care. “One of my per­sonal goals is to raise a to­tal of £15 mil­lion for char­ity in my life­time,” he says. With five sum­mits un­der his belt, Ken­ton Cool has al­ready climbed the moun­tain more times than any other Bri­ton.

On the ocean, Dee Caf­fari will con­tinue to build her rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in prepa­ra­tion for the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe race af­ter cru­elly los­ing her mast dur­ing the fi­nal approach of the 4,300 mile (6,900km) Transat Ecover B to B race. Just 160 miles (260km) off Cape Fin­is­terre, Caf­fari was dis­masted in 45 knot (83km/h) winds and had to be towed in to Spain. De­spite be­ing the first wo­man to sail solo the “wrong way” around the world, Caf­fari is still a rel­a­tive rookie in the high-oc­tane For­mula 1 world of ocean rac­ing in­hab­ited by pro­fes­sional ath­letes such as Ellen MacArthur.

Ben Fogle and James Crack­nell are teaming up again to race to the South Pole at the end of 2008. Next month, they will un­der­take their first train­ing week in Nor­way. All that stands be­tween them and the fin­ish line at the Pole is the oner­ous task of rais­ing £42,300 each to take part. Other com­peti­tors in­clude Richard Dun­woody, the for­mer jockey.

Mast mis­ery: woe for Dee Caf­fari

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