Wednesday, 11 September 2013

From Deepest Africa to the Highest Himalaya: Siân Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons

Our first speakers in the Inspiring People talks season for 2013-14 are Siân Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons.  Travel writers and expedition leaders, Siân Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons will share their experiences of Africa and the Himalayas in talks in Kirkcaldy on Monday 16th and Edinburgh on Wednesday 18th September.  

Siân Pritchard-Jones has been travelling in Africa for 30 years. She worked in computer programming and systems analysis for far too long, until overland travel and particularly the Himalayas captivated her on a trip to Nepal in 1982.

Siân Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons met in 1983, on a trek from Kashmir to Ladakh. By then Bob had already driven an ancient Land Rover from England to Kathmandu in 1974 and led overland trips across Asia, Africa and South America as well as decrepit old tourist buses around India. He had also lived in Kathmandu as a trekking company manager. Before they met, Siân had worked in computer programming and systems analysis, but her heart had always been in the Himalayas, after a trip there on her way back from working in New Zealand.

Since they met they have been leading and organising treks in the Alps, Nepal, Algeria and Niger; they have hitched across Tibet, driven a busload of over-50s overland to Nepal, explored the Sahara and driven across Africa to Gabon. Some of this was real work, but luckily that ‘proper job’ has not materialised.

However, they regularly return to their first love, Kathmandu and the Himalayas, where they work with various publishers in Kathmandu, and have written guides on the Kathmandu Valley, Ladakh and Tibet.. During 2011 they revisited Tibet, this time driving the same old Land Rover back from Kathmandu to the UK overland via Lhasa, Kazakhstan, Russia and across Europe. It was with great relish that they returned to one of their former trekking haunts in Nepal - the Annapurna region - to research a new guide, and to contribute to Trekking in the Himalaya. 

Tickets are available on the door: £8 for adults, free for students, under 18s and RSGS Members. Kirkcaldy: 7:30pm on Monday 16th September in the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee Fife Campus, 5 Forth Ave, Kirkcaldy, KY2 5YS.
Edinburgh: 2:15pm on Wednesday 18th September in Appleton Tower, 11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9LE.

This talk is part of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Inspiring People talks programme. For more information on the talks visit