Friday, 7 January 2011

Disengage, Parry, Lunge

I've just managed to find the time to watch the first episode of Bruce Parry's new series Arctic with Bruce Parry which is being shown on BBC 2 and likely, unless you're reading this much later than I wrote it, to be on BBC iPlayer (tm). I first got into Bruce Parry with the TV Series Tribe which is absolutely excellent. I have the DVD box set and it regularly comes out for a rewatch. I found his next series Amazon quite hard going, but this new one seems to be getting back to his old style.

I'm constantly astounded by his apparent innocence and naivety, which seems odd for an ex-marine, but let's face it, if he went into a tribe of potential cannibals acting like Bear Grylls, he'd have probably been in a stew long ago. Can you imagine Bear's poor cameraman in the next pot? Bruce seems to have a knack for getting involved and is not scared to try anything, be it labour, a pint of blood, the local brew of fermented misc or the shaman's lotions & potions, some of which look quite harrowing.

Bruce is a friend of a friend of mine who met him near to where he lives in Ibiza. Apparently he's quite a party animal. He's also hung like a horse, I hear, and if you've watched his first documentary he did, First Contact - Cannibals and Crampons, which Bruce and his mate shot, you'll find a funny bit in there about that. C&C is a real eye opener in terms of the sorts of things that can go wrong if you're unprepared, which they both were. It's worth a watch and is part of the bonus features of the Tribe box set.

It's nice to watch a series dedicated to the Arctic which is not, at least initially, plastered in snow. It's quite normal for southerly regions within the Arctic Circle (66° 33' N) to have summer temperatures up to 10 °C (50 °F). Certainly, where I was in Finland, the land was lush in the summer. It was shocking for growing veg, but excellent walking. There was a pretty nasty midge issue during the thaw which caused such a problem with the huskies that they were transported to Helsinki until it all froze up again.

In a prolonged Arctic survival situation, the seasonal changes in temperature can be extreme and change can come quickly, so ensure you are prepared to move if you need to. Remember also that the temperature on the coast can be vastly different to that of inland regions. In the summer, inland regions may be warmer, but as winter comes, the coast is the place to be. Don't head in a northerly direction to get to the sea though, because as we know, it gets colder the further north we go (in this part of the world) and that would be counter productive. Watch out for those insects too, they can really spoil your day.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the series which is likely to get a lot chillier and I hope, one day, to meet the man himself. I think I'll have a look and see if he's doing a tour soon. Oh, his website is buggered. Ho hum.

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