MMF Travel Awards
The Miles Morland Foundation is delighted to announce the results of their first ever Travel Awards. Earlier this year we said that we would give three Travel Awards of £6000 each to allow the winners to take a trip to “somewhere off the wall, off the map, different, and interesting . . . . The result of that trip should be a piece of writing, a series of photographs, some paintings, or something else tangible that shows the impact that the trip has made on the award winner.”
We offered three Awards but when the time came we were so impressed by the quality and adventurous nature of the entries that we have given four. We would have liked to have given all the short-listers an Award but we had to decide. Sadly that meant no Award for a solar-powered jet-board trip up the Amazon, or following Sir Arthur Grimble to Tuvalu and Vanuatu, or wild swimming from lake to lake in British Columbia, or following in the tracks of a 1931 black journalist who travelled by train from Johannesburg to Lubumbashi in 1931. Sorry, guys, you came very close.
Here in alphabetical order are the four Travel Award winners. On September 1st they will get £6,000 to allow them to take their trips. We look forward to the survivors reporting back to us afterwards.
· Frauke Hein. Frauke is a German woman who has sensibly decided that England is a good place to live, having travelled rough round half the globe. For her award trip she is going to Borneo, the world’s third largest island, not to take pics of orang-outangs, but to follow the great explorers into the jungle heart of Borneo. Clapham it is not. The first part of her trip is a near circumnavigation from the North of Sabah, into Kalimantan along the coast and crossing back to Kuching (hello Google Maps). The second part is following mad Redmond O’Hanlan along the rivers into the jungle. Much of her trip will be done on foot.
· The second winner is Calum Muirhead. Calum is a nice chap whose day job is as a financial journalist. He is going to take six moths off to out-Bryson Bryson. Bryson walked the Appalachian Trail. Calum is going one better. He is going to do the Pacific Crest Trail which starts at the Mexican border and wingles its way up the Sierra Nevada, graveyard of so many pioneer homesteaders, to Canada. It’s a 2650 mile walk, started by many and finished by few. As Calum says, “people are often unsure of their true limits until they are tested.” Calum, you said it.
· Next is Hermione Skye, a visual artist best known for large-scale installations using coloured cord. Hermione is off to Japan, the proposed destination of many of our entrants. Hermione has already spent time in Japan but not visiting her Award destination, the remote Izi Island chain, a string of isolated islands hanging down into the tropics from the southern tip of Japan. They are connected by sporadic ferries, and inhabited in many cases by tribal people, the Shetlands of Japan. “Being in such unfamiliar territory requires surrender,” says Hermione. Indeed. On the way she hopes to stay in people’s houses, and gather photographs, sketches and paintings to supplement a journal.
· The final Award goes to Charlie Walker, a man who has already travelled 55,000 miles on foot or by bike visiting everywhere from Papua New Guinea to the Gobi Desert and northern Siberia. Charlie is going to pop off to the Cameroons, get a bike, and pedal his way through Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, the Gambia and ending in Dakar in Senegal. He will ride through “mountains and forests, Sahel and Sahara. If the opportunity arises to buy a fishing boat or build a raft and float down a great river for a stretch, then I’ll do it.” Of course you will, Charlie, powered among other things by our best wishes.
Few countries have produced as many adventurers and travellers as England, each one madder than the last. Frauke (obviously an honorary English woman), Calum, Hermione and Charlie are right up there with the maddest of them. What great winners. We wish them bon voyage, and we hope bon retour.
Any queries to Mathilda Edwards at the MMF, firstname.lastname@example.org