DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL – Saturday 8 May, 8.30pm
Ray Mears is journeying through the wilderness of the Australian Outback – but he’s not alone. Along the way, he is joined by local experts who can enrich Ray’s journey and deepen his understanding of Australia’s unique bushcraft. Over the last decade the name Ray Mears has become recognised throughout the world as being an authority on the subject of Bushcraft and Survival. He has also become a household name through his television series: Tracks, World of Survival, The Essential Guide to Rocks, Extreme Survival, Trips Money Can’t Buy with Ewan McGregor, The Real Heroes of Telemark, Bushcraft Survival, and more recently, Wild Food. These programmes have reached out and touched the hearts of everyone from small child to grandparents.
They are enjoyed by many because of Ray’s down to earth approach, his obvious love for his subject and the empathy and respect he shows for indigenous peoples and their cultures. In Ray Mears Goes Walkabout, Mears is following in the footsteps of John McDouall Stuart, one of the unsung explorers of Australia. His contemporaries, Burke and Wills, tend to get the attention for their ill-advised, fatal south-to-north crossing of this continent. They were typical of their age, setting out with an army of men, food and equipment, determined to conquer the land rather than work with it.
But Stuart had a very different approach, travelling fast and light – much closer to Ray’s own attitude to travel. Stuart’s early forays into the Outback provided him with the knowledge to forge a route across the continent. It’s the skills that Stuart acquired on these journeys that Ray focuses on, showing how to wring water from these arid lands. He travels this burnt, inhospitable landscape, bringing alive the story of Stuart and his men and gaining ever more respect for those early explorers as he goes. The aboriginals of Australia have a tradition of travelling their country, maintaining their culture, looking after the land, telling stories and visiting family. It’s a practise they call Walkabout.
In this series Ray Mears follows suit as he makes four journeys through the wilderness of the Australian Outback. These journeys represent something very close to Ray’s heart: the most important thing that can be learned when travelling is to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. For Ray, this is the only way to promote understanding and learning. Australia presents a fabulous opportunity to show this, encompassing so many different natural habitats, with a rich indigenous culture and many tales of exploration and survival. Go walkabout with Ray Mears on the Documentary Channel, Saturdays at 8.30pm from 8th May.