Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Alone in the wild

Ed Wardle, pictured above, whom was featured in the Channel 4 programme "Alone in the wild" has come in for a lot of stick in the press. This seems to be mainly because he went out to a 'remote' area in the Yukon to survive for 12 weeks but had to give up after 7 weeks.

He was not fairing very well - had lost lots of weight and was basically starving - so, rightly so, he called it off for his own safety.

Many people have criticised him and Channel 4 for sending him out there very unprepared ie little or no survival training. The premise seems to be that he was chosen because he is a good cameraman/producer and had done some 'wild' filming before such as Everest. This clearly did not prepare him for a survival situation and understandably so. It is one thing to be out in the wilds with support and an entirely different kettle of fish to be in the wilds with no support.

Anyway, despite all that I think the guy has a lot to offer us in terms of knowledge. What he put himself through was probably as close to reality as is possible and gives a really good idea as to how a real person may cope if they were suddenly put into that situation. Personally I would love to interview him and find out how it went wrong for him, the psychology he went through and a whole gamut of other things about his physical deterioration etc. This would give me valuable knowledge that I could pass onto others when I teach them survival skills.

So all in all I say 'fair play' to the bloke and we should recognise that he managed 7 weeks before pulling the plug which could be more than a lot of people could manage.


Wild Tracking said...

Well said Jon, too many people these days are very quick to judge. I thought it was a real insight altough I only got to see one programme because I was abroad.

But what I saw gave you a real feel for the emontional and pyscological side of the skills we teach.

Has this been a subject of BCUK as I have not been on of late as I have just got back.



Jon Simons said...

You can bet your bottom dollar that this has been a thread on BCUK. Many many pages worth and as far as I could see - the vast majority being negative.

A real shame considering he had the nerve to do it and I do really wonder how much better some of these folk would have done!

Wild Tracking said...


I so agree with you, it would be very interesting to see the effects it would have on the so called skilled Bushcrafters etc.

I know in the gulf I had to handle the morale of my men in a very extreme way. When I share the story with people they look at me as if I were mad. But at the end of the day the situation demanded a completely different approach.

Suffice to say their morale went up and the fall out from it affected others who where not there in a very positive way for several weeks to come.

I guess what I am saying is... don't knock until you have walk in the other persons shoes.



Pablo said...

I agree. It takes guts to get out there and do it (despite the fact there was money invloved) but it takes even more to call it a day.
I think he did have some training, but perhaps not the experience to go with it. Perhaps a little tip for you instructors to pass on. A week's course doesn't make someone an expert.

Jon Simons said...

Too right!

Tim Noble said...

No prizes for killing yourself. Part of survival is to recognise when you are not and doing something about it.