Tuesday 25 October 2016

Explorer Levison Wood tackles Himalayas for Channel 4 TV show

Published 26/08/2015 | 00:08

Levison Wood will trek 1,700 miles through some of the most remote, beautiful and perilous places on earth
Levison Wood will trek 1,700 miles through some of the most remote, beautiful and perilous places on earth

An explorer who trekked the Nile is to attempt to walk the entire length of the Himalayas in his latest TV challenge.

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Levison Wood will begin in Afghanistan and trek 1,700 miles, travelling through some of the most remote, beautiful and perilous places on earth, teaming up with local guides and meeting soldiers, monks and nomadic tribes.

Channel 4 announced its second broadcast partnership with Wood, who spent time as an officer in the Parachute Regiment, at the Edinburgh International Television Festival as he follows up his 2013 trek along the Nile.

Walking The Himalayas, co-produced by October Films and GroupM Entertainment, will see Wood push himself to his physical limits as he is forced through remote, punishing terrain and altitudes above 5,000m where he suffers from a debilitating lack of oxygen.

As well as battling natural obstacles, he has to tread carefully through one of the most fought-over areas of the world - walking through Afghanistan, crossing the Line of Control between Pakistan and India, navigating the disputed territory of Kashmir and making his way through Nepal as it recovers and tries to rebuild itself after the recent earthquakes.

Just last week, Wood and his guide were involved in a serious car accident in rural Nepal, when the taxi taking them back to their overnight accommodation crashed off the road, leaving Wood with a severely broken arm.

Once they have recuperated, they plan to resume the walk together.

In a journey of some four million steps, Wood has also had a chance to meet other local people face-to-face and at their pace.

In 2013, Wood walked the Nile from its source to the sea.

Walking The Himalayas, like Walking The Nile, is being filmed by Wood himself, with visits at key points from a television crew for a TV series to be broadcast in early 2016.

Wood said: "After Walking The Nile, I spent a lot of time thinking about 'where next' before settling on the Himalayas.

"It's an area I've had some experience of, from my time in the Army in Afghanistan and leading expeditions in the region.

"And it's an area I really wanted to find out more about - following in the footsteps of great explorers and witnessing at first hand how people survive and prosper in some of the most remote and challenging terrain on earth.

"It's going to be incredibly demanding, pushing me to my limits, but incredibly rewarding at the same time."

John Hay, commissioning editor for Channel 4, said: "I thought Lev's Nile expedition would be hard to top, but having seen the first rushes from this I'm bowled over.

"He's already walked through parts of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan I'd never even heard of before this project began, but which are both utterly spectacular and seriously tough.

"In our connected age, anyone with money can travel, but to commit to walking every single step through this part of the world takes extraordinary guts and resilience - and there's no one I'd rather go on that journey with than Lev."

Jos Cushing, executive producer for October Films, said: "Lev's Nile expedition really struck a chord with viewers, rekindling people's interest in an old-fashioned form of experiencing the world, step-by-step, and at eye-level in a genuinely challenging adventure.

"Now, Walking The Himalayas promises to show this region like never before. It will change perceptions, challenge stereotypes and reveal a way of life that has remained largely mysterious.

"It's a chance for Lev, and Channel 4 viewers, to meet the people and truly understand the extraordinary Himalayan way of life."

Press Association

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