Leon McCarron is a Northern Irish adventurer and filmmaker. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and specialises in long distance, human-powered expeditions.
At the end of 2012 Leon crossed 1000 miles of the Empty Quarter desert with Al Humphries, roughly following the route of explorer Wilfred Thesiger and pulling a cart loaded with their supplies.
Just prior to that he had completed a 6-month, 3,000 mile expedition walking the length of China, from the Gobi desert in Mongolia to South China Sea in Hong Kong. National Geographic produced a 4-part TV series of his journey.
Leon’s exploits didn’t stop there with other journeys including a 14,000 miles solo and unsupported bicycle ride from New York to Hong Kong, a folding bike trip around the British Isles to climb the six highest Peaks, and the descent of the longest river in Iran, the Karun, and a crossing of Argentine Patagonia on horseback.
At BAM we love Leon’s humble and determined approach to completing challenging adventures in remote parts of the world. His passion to share his stories through writing and making films provides inspiration for others.
We interviewed Leon to find out more:
Do you have a secret skill or talent?
I play the Irish tin whistle – not very well, but I play it! I often carry it when I’m travelling and use it to make friends – music is a great icebreaker!
What would you have chosen as your dream job?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a postman or a professional rugby player. Neither are looking likely now! I think my dream job now would be to be a Foreign Correspondent – I have a romanticized ideal of it in my head, reporting from the beach in Cuba, or from a dusty frontier town in the Wild West, but I still think I’d like the reality too!
What things do you do to stay fit and healthy?
I’m a big believer in exercise being a key part of living a happy and fulfilled lifestyle. I’m not very good at any sports, but I like to try my hand at all of them. As an only child, I’m particularly fond of the loner sports – cycling, running etc. Variety is key – and I love seeing people out on the road early in the morning putting in the miles before work.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I have many.
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Probably someone funny, or someone very intelligent who likes to talk. Billy Connolly would probably be a good bet…
What’s your worst joke ever?
A dyslexic man walks into a bra….
Your favourite drink?
Good single malt Scotch…
All time hero – Bob Dylan. Currently listening to Bruce Springsteen (The Pete Seeger sessions)