Intrepid explorer Levison Wood is walking across the Himalayas for a new Channel 4 series.
The man who wowed viewers with Walking the Nile, a C4 series based on a 2013 walk along the entire length of the African river, is now walking the length of the world’s highest mountain range – a journey of an estimated 4 million footsteps.
Beginning in Afghanistan and trekking 1700 gruelling miles across the roof of the world, Levison will be travelling through some of the most remote, and dangerous places on earth in Walking the Himalayas. He will be teaming up with local guides and meeting soldiers, monks and nomadic tribes as he tries to complete his challenge.
The series promises to see Wood push himself to his physical limits as he is forced through remote, punishing terrain and altitudes above 5000m where he suffers from a debilitating lack of oxygen.
Described by C4 as “adventure journalism at its most raw and authentic” the series is fraught with other dangers.
C4 has said that last week, Wood and his friend and guide, Binod Pariyar, were involved in a serious car accident in rural Nepal, when the taxi taking them back to their overnight accommodation crashed off the road, leaving Wood with a severely broken arm.
The two met on Wood’s first trip to Nepal back in 2001, when Pariyar saved him from the fighting that surrounded that year’s political upheavals, and they were reunited on this journey. Once they’ve recuperated, they plan to resume the walk together, C4 has said.
As well as battling natural obstacles, the pair have to tread carefully through one of the most fought-over areas of the world – walking through Afghanistan, crossing the Line of Control between Pakistan and India, navigating the disputed territory of Kashmir and making their way through Nepal as it recovers and tries to rebuild itself after the recent earthquakes.
Wood’s 2013 Nile walk from its source to the sea was a hit with viewers and critics, drawing an average of 2.6m viewers and critical praise.
Wood said: “After Walking the Nile, I spent a lot of time thinking about “where next” before settling on the Himalayas. It’s an area I’ve had some experience of, from my time in the Army in Afghanistan and leading expeditions in the region.
“And it’s an area I really wanted to find out more about – following in the footsteps of great explorers and witnessing at first-hand how people survive and prosper in some of the most remote and challenging terrain on earth. It’s going to be incredibly demanding, pushing me to my limits, but incredibly rewarding at the same time.”
John Hay, commissioning editor for Channel 4, said: “I thought Lev’s Nile expedition would be hard to top, but having seen the first rushes from this I’m bowled over. He’s already walked through parts of Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan I’d never even heard of before this project began, but which are both utterly spectacular and seriously tough. In our connected age, anyone with money can travel, but to commit to walking every single step through this part of the world takes extraordinary guts and resilience – and there’s no-one I’d rather go on that journey with than Lev.”