Wed 17 Jan 2018, Stamford Theatre talks
In December 2015, Leon McCarron set off from Jerusalem to walk 1000 miles through the heart of the Middle East. The five-month-long journey took him through the rolling green hills and terraced olive groves of the West Bank; the deep chasm-like wadis and ancient kingdoms of Jordan; and vast, rugged deserts of the Sinai peninsula. Along the way Leon collected the thoughts and stories of the people that he met, and explored the rich past, tense present and uncertain future of the region. He also looked at how contemporary borders and checkpoints have affected the land and its peoples, and the role of walking as a possible way to make divided lands feel whole again. Working on the premise that the brain works best at 3 miles per hour, this talk explores the various layers of culture, history, faith and politics at work in the bubbling cauldron of one of the most complex and compelling places on earth - the Holy Land.
Leon McCarron is a Northern Irish adventurer, film-maker, writer and speaker. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an advisor to the Ted Simon foundation. Leon has cycled most of the way around the world, walked 3000 miles across China, trekked 1000 miles through the Empty Quarter desert and travelled along Iran’s longest river by a variety of human-powered methods. Most recently he followed the Santa Cruz river in Patagonia on horseback and, as the recipient of the 2017 Neville Shulman Challenge Award, spent a month living with the world’s smallest and oldest ethno-religious sect: the Samaritans. He is interested in the concept of ‘slow journalism’; telling stories by moving slowly, deliberately and thoroughly, and showing another side to misunderstood places and peoples.
Leon’s first book, The Road Headed West, was published in July 2014. He has made a TV show for National Geographic called