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This sporting life


“The glacier was great, but I’ve been looking forward to camping on my own iceberg”


a diver, a naturalist and an explorer, so I’m managing to tick quite a few boxes. I like to think if I met my nine-year-old self, he wouldn’t be too disappointed in me. I always think if you want to know whether something is cool or not, ask an under-ten.”


AMAZING THIMGS IN AMAZING PLACES


And before you go attributing his break into TV to his blond good looks, hold on just a minute; these things don’t just fall into your lap, you know. “I had a lot of friends who worked in


adventure, science and natural history documentaries, Bristol being a bit of a centre for that. When I started writing articles, and doing talks on my own projects, I started making short films to link to the articles, or to use as clips during my talks. This developed into selling a short film about diving in the Cave of Skulls in Scotland to the BBC. “From there I started pitching ideas


to various companies and made myself a little showreel. I pitched about a dozen ideas to BBC’s Coast, who said they said they couldn’t afford to make any of them, but asked whether I’d like to present a wildlife piece. That went well, and they offered me another four pieces on the series. “TV is great, as it allows me to do amazing things in amazing places, which


Ice work for some . . .


I’d otherwise never be able to afford to do, and hopefully motivate and inspire people along the way.” And while his broadcasting hero,


predictably, is Sir David Attenborough, “at the other end of the scale there’s Travis Pastrana and Nitro Circus for unashamed gross action. I’m also in the middle of filming with Chris Packham; his knowledge of wildlife puts me to shame. He’s also very funny, although you couldn’t broadcast most of it.” Even with his impressive CV to date,


“Operation Iceberg has to be up there,” he says. “Normally I’ve had to do things on an absolute shoestring, but here I had the support to do more and also get access to things otherwise off-limits; camping on an iceberg, anyone? There’s a huge depth and breadth of knowledge in the team, so I’m constantly learning. At six weeks it’s also my longest expeditition, and the first I’ve been paid for, which is always nice. “As I write this, we’re halfway through


Operation Iceberg, so we have just left the glacier and are about to head out to the iceberg. The glacier was great but I’ve been looking forward to camping on my own iceberg since I first got involved. The fact they’re going to let me kayak around it, climb up it and dive inside it, and collect data for the scientists, means the next three weeks will just get better and better.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Andy’s idea of


relaxation isn’t the same of most people’s. “I can’t sit around all day by the pool


This is the nearest thing you’ll find to Andy ‘relaxing by the pool...’


on holiday, that tends to frustrate me. Paradoxically I find stressful situations de-stressing. The more active and productive my day has been, the easier it is to settle down and chill out at night; I enjoy weekends in South Devon with the


Tell us a fascinating


fact, Andy . . . “In 2009 a whale was discovered with a harpoon embedded in its flesh. The dating of the harpoon put the animal at 256 years old. There have been multiple cases of harpoon tips dating to over 200 years ago found in living Bowhead whales, which means there are probably Bowheads swimming around our oceans that were born before Napoleon.”


Bristol Gang kayaking, diving, climbing and maybe the odd half of shandy. “I don’t actually eat out that often,


I’m more familiar with the Bristol pubs, especially as I started the Friday Afternoon Club. Most of the Bristol Gang, like me, don’t have proper jobs that are 9-5, five days a week, so in order to get that Friday feeling I instigated a plan to meet up whenever we were around on a Friday at 17.00. We pick a different pub each time and are slowly but determinedly working our way around the city.” Last question: what would Andy


recommend never leaving home without? Admittedly we’re not planning on anything more adventurous than a trip up the Gloucester Road, but even so . . . “It depends on the trip, I suppose, but


there are some universal constants. I always take a small titanium lock knife – it’s razor sharp and never rusts, and a head torch, which admittedly has proved useless on Operation Iceberg as we’ve got 24-hour daylight. I also normally carry a small waterproof notepad and pencil.” Well, the latter recommendation makes total sense, even to us mere mortals. CL


Operation Iceberg begins on BBC2 on 9 September • bbc.co.uk/nature


www.mediaclash.co.uk Clifton Life 73


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