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In the depths of winter in 1705 the young Johann Sebastian Bach, then unknown as a composer and earning a modest living as a teacher and organist, set off on a long journey by foot to Lübeck to visit the composer Dieterich Buxterhude, a distance of more than 250 miles. This journey and its destination were a pivotal point in the life of arguably the greatest composer the world has yet seen. Lübeck was Bach’s moment, when a young teacher with a reputation for intolerance of his pupils’ failings began his journey to become the master of the Baroque. Chaired by Kirsty Lang.
After more than a hundred years of the internal combustion engine, a new automotive technology has arrived. Cleaner, quieter and fun to drive, electric cars are here, and they are here to stay. But how do we get from 2.6% of new car sales in 2018 to the numbers we need to make a real difference to air pollution, and climate change? The Government has set ambitious targets for the uptake of electric vehicles. If we are to meet them, a change in the way people drive and think about the technology is required. Join Robert Llewellyn, TV presenter, author and electric vehicle expert, Jesse Norman, Former Future of Mobility Minister and local Hereford MP, Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Energy Electric Vehicles and Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers, as well as panellists from the motor and energy industries, to discuss this transition. Chaired by TV presenter and author Kate Humble.
When Monisha Rajesh announced plans to circumnavigate the globe in eighty train journeys, she was met with wide-eyed disbelief. But it wasn't long before she was carefully plotting a route that would cover 45,000 miles – almost twice the circumference of the earth – coasting along the world's most remarkable railways; from the cloud-skimming heights of Tibet's Qinghai railway to silk-sheeted splendour on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
Packing up her rucksack – and her fiancé, Jem – Monisha embarks on an unforgettable adventure that will take her from London's St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond. The ensuing journey is one of constant movement and mayhem, as the pair strike up friendships and swap stories with the hilarious, irksome and ultimately endearing travellers they meet on board, all while taking in some of the earth's most breathtaking views.
A conversation with two outstanding nature writers. Although common, moles are mysterious: their habits are inscrutable, they are anatomically bizarre and they live completely alone. Marc Hamer has come closer to them than most, through both his long working life out in the Welsh countryside and his experiences of rural homelessness as a boy, sleeping in hedgerows. In How to Catch a Mole: And Find Yourself in Nature, Hamer tells his story and explores what moles, and a life in nature, can tell us about our own humanity and our search for contentment. Barrie’s Incredible Journeys shines a light on the astounding navigational skills of animals of every stripe. Dung beetles steer by the light of the Milky Way. Ants and bees navigate using patterns of light invisible to humans. Sea turtles, spiny lobsters and moths find their way using the Earth’s magnetic field. Salmon return to their birthplace by following their noses and birds can locate their nests on a tiny island after crisscrossing an entire ocean. Corrigan is a journalist and travel writer.
A marine biologist of over twenty years and advisor for the BBC’s Blue Planet II, Dr Jonathan Copley explains the science and wonder of the deep ocean. Combining untold history of ocean exploration and a personal account of what it’s like to be a ‘bathynaut’, diving in a mini-submarine, Copley brings to light weird and wonderful deep-sea creatures that we find ‘down there’ and explains how the oceans and their health is connected to our everyday lives.
When Alice Morrison first headed out to Morocco, it was to take on one of the most daunting challenges: to run in the famous Marathon des Sables. But as soon as she settled in a flat in Marrakesh she was won over by the people, the spectacular scenery and the ancient alleyways of the souk. Soon she was hiking over the Atlas Mountains, joining nomads to sample their timeless way of life as they crossed the Sahara desert, and finding peace in a tranquil oasis. Alice came to fame with her BBC Two series Morocco to Timbuktu. Chaired by Kitty Corrigan.
Award-winning travel writer Nicholas Jubber journeys across Europe, exploring the great epic poems and how they have a startling resonance in contemporary times. Reaching back to the era remembered as ‘the Age of Migration’, Jubber explores how attitudes to population movement, borders, kin relations, sex, class and political structures are dramatised in the ancient and medieval epics. From Homer’s Odyssey through the devastating conflict of the French Song of Roland and the German Nibelungenlied, to the great Viking sagas such as Beowulf and the Icelandic Njal’s Saga, these are timeless tales about human nature, but also windows into other societies, with different emphases on matters of honour, kinship, fundamentalism and fate. He talks to the great storyteller Daniel Morden.
The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride twenty-five horses across a distance of 1,000 km. In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.