Ed Stafford, the first person to walk the Amazon, talks teddy bears, Snowdon, skunk gunk and Michael J Fox.
Highest mountain you’ve climbed?
Nevado Mismi in the Peruvian Andes, which is a pathetic 5600m. The furthest source of the Amazon River springs from it, and it’s still high enough to have a couple of small glaciers.
Who’s your mountaineering hero?
How can it not be Reinhold Messner? He quite simply rewrote what was possible for men and women to achieve. Legend of legends.
Funniest thing you’ve seen on a hill?
Getting caught in the dark crossing the Andes and only having a wind-up torch. I could constantly hear my guide winding the crappy plastic handle to see where he was going, interspersed with Spanish swearing.
Scafell Pike, Snowdon or Ben Nevis?
Snowdon. I remember leaving my teddy, Edward Bear, in the summit café when I was 4 years old and having to turn around and go back up, I was so distraught. Magical place.
What’s your favourite hill snack?
Bananas and Bird’s custard.
Wild camp or posh hotel?
I’m bored of posh hotels. At first the novelty of emptying all the little bottles of soap into my bath kept me entertained, but the excitement’s worn off. My last TV series, Marooned, was wild camping like I’ve never done before. No tent, no knife, no food, literally nothing to help me survive. It’s amazing what you can do without.
Most expensive piece of kit you own?
My stuff tends to be cheap and minimal, so probably my Solargorilla from PowerTraveller - best way to stay charged anywhere in the world.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?
Skunk. It sprayed me before I could kill it too and somehow the yellow gunk got into the meat.
When were you last naked outdoors?
July. I’ve done 140 days naked in the wild for TV and have vowed never to take my clothes off for the camera again. I’m approaching 40 now, enough is enough.
Who would star in a movie about your life?
Who’s your most famous friend?
Michael J Fox came to one of my talks and we had a nice chat! He’s a cool guy but I couldn’t really classify him as a friend. Steve Backshall (from BBC’s Deadly 60) and I get on well.
How much is a pint of tea at Pete’s Eats?
I was going to say 20p, then realised we’re not in the 1980s. Possibly £1? [Still too cheap; it’s £1.60.]
Your ultimate mountain day in three words...
Come alive again.
This interview was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Trail Magazine