BAMbassador Mary Ann Ochota is speaking at this year’s Kendal Mountain Festival

Mary Ann Ochota, TV Presenter and anthropologist is speaking on Saturday 21st in the Marmot tent in the Basecamp Village at 3.30pm (Free talk) She will be talking about her recent expedition into Australia’s Simpson Desert with 17 pack camels, looking for aboriginal archaeology and surveying some of the flora and fauna. Mary-Ann Ochota’s first desert adventure was into the Algerian Sahara, joining an archaeological survey team trying to map prehistoric rock art before looters came and hacked it out to smuggle across the Libyan border.  The art was phenomenal, but the walking was minimal – from the 4WD and back again, always on the lookout for armed bandits with a sideline in kidnap.   This summer, she went back to the desert – this time, to the Simpson Desert in central Australia, looking for evidence of aboriginal desert tribes. The Simpson is the largest parallel sand dune desert in the world and was described as the ‘entrance to hell’ by early European explorers. The tribes called it home for thousands of years, before finally leaving in 1899. The desert is largely inaccessible by vehicle – so the expedition team were on foot, with 17 feisty pack camels carrying 4 tonnes of equipment, food and water, covering 380 miles in 40 days. Join Mary-Ann for an insight into desert trekking, fighting camels and sacred clay pans, as well as some tales of adventure from other TV journeys.