Adventurers, a new display in the north window of Riverside Museum, Glasgow has opened. It presents the stories of modern-day Scottish adventurers, including Ewan McGregor and Mark Beaumont, told through the objects used in their epic expeditions.
For the first time in a museum display, Adventurers will bring together the essential objects belonging to five contemporary Scots who each set out on their own marathon journey, pushing themselves - and their vehicles - to the absolute limit. Through objects, film, images and a mini-website, the display will reveal the motivation behind their quest.
Actor Ewan McGregor has loaned the BMW Enduro R1150 GS Adventure motorbike he travelled 22,345 miles upon, during his Long Way Round adventure from London to New York via Mongolia in 2004, as well as the BMW R1200 GS Adventure from the hit sequel Long Way Down on which he rode 19,198 miles from John O’Groats, Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa. Explorer Mark Beaumont shares his experience of travelling some 13,000 miles across the Americas, from Anchorage, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina in 2009/ 10. He has loaned his Koga Signature Traveller KS-TR 28 road bicycle and several additional objects including clothing, shoes, sunglasses, an iPod and laptop.
Ewan and Mark’s stories are well known. Complementing the display are the stories of three lesser-known, but no less awe-inspiring adventurers. Kate Rawles merged outdoor philosophy and activism on her impressive 4,553 mile cycle across the spine of the Rockies, in pursuit of the ‘truths’ of climate change.
Kate Rawles, who was among the first visitors at Riverside Museum to see the new display, said: “I'm genuinely delighted to be part of this brilliant exhibition. Bikes and motorbikes are fantastic facilitors of adventure. If you turn up in a remote town or village in a car, not much happens. But arrive on a bike or motorbike and everyone comes to talk to you. On a bike, you are really IN the landscape you're travelling through; you smell, hear and feel it quite differently.
“Bikes, for all their simplicity, are amazing technology. I once read that on a flat road with no head wind a cyclist can cover ten miles on a peanut! Cycling is the most efficient way of moving humans around that we've ever come up with, so bikes are great from a climate change perspective too.
“And they make adventures accessible for ordinary people, like myself. Unlike others in this exhibition, I'm not a great athlete or famous. If I can have an adventure like this on a bike, then anyone can.'
Paralympic cyclist Karen Darke was determined to free herself from the confinement of disability after a devastating fall off an Aberdeen sea cliff, conquering almost 1,000 miles handcycling the Himalayas. Karen has gone on to compete as a Paralypian in London 2012, winning silver in the Women’s road time trial, and is currently in training for Rio 2016. She is also a World Para-Triathlon Champion. For Andy Brown, cycling 9,300 miles in just 364 days across three southern continents was an “unavoidable calling to escape multinational corporation-drudgery”. All have loaned their bikes and many other vital objects used throughout their journeys.
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life said: “The stories told through the new Adventurers display are truly remarkable and worthy of their place in this inspiring museum. It’s clear looking at the similarities between explorers like David Livingstone and their modern-day compatriots that the desire of humankind to explore is timeless.
“The hunger for adventure conveyed by Kate, Karen and the others is something many of us share. Although being an adventurer doesn’t always mean enduring epic journeys, perilous places, soaring heat and sickness, many of us have a goal and this display allows us to reflect on some of the qualities needed to achieve it.
“This major display change highlights Glasgow Museums’ commitment to keeping visitors engaged, enhancing the city’s reputation and stimulating cultural tourism.”
While celebrating these recent achievements of the individuals, whether travelling by bike or motorbike, Adventurers will ask why anyone would willingly put themselves through these conditions: physical and mental exhaustion, dehydration, aching muscles, language barriers, isolation, contaminated water and hostile environments, not to mention being chased by bears, getting mugged and arrested.
Visitors can hear the adventurers’ stories first-hand, via a collection of short films narrated by Andy, Karen and Kate. Each individual explores their life before, during and after their great adventure. In describing their motivations, fears and hopes they go some way towards enhancing an understanding of what it takes to be an adventurer, to have a goal that pushes you to your limits and the qualities that help you reach it.
The display took inspiration from the celebrations associated with the bicentennial of Scottish adventurer David Livingstone’s birth in 2013. Together with an array of objects as varied as Ewan’s motorbikes, Kate’s journal, Karen’s tandem, Mark’s iPod and Andy’s camping stove, it will include an online resource. This will assemble objects from Glasgow’s World Cultures collection, highlighting other significant explorers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including David Livingstone, Marion Scott Stevenson, Annie Royle Taylor and Beatrice Heywood.
Music was instrumental in all of the epic expeditions and the mini-website will also feature the travellers’ audio playlists, alongside a virtual corkboard that enables visitors to add their own story:
The display is situated in the north window of Riverside Museum, Glasgow and will remain on show until 10 April 2015. For more information visit
Notes to Editors
• There will be special screenings from Long Way Round and Long Way Down on at Riverside on 9th and 16th April.
• There is an opportunity to Meet the Adventurer Andy Brown at a special event at Riverside on 25th April at 2pm.
• A number of press images of each adventurer’s journey are available on request.
• A full list of objects included in the display is available on request.
For further information contact Suzanne Rough