Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Martin Clunes's Travelling Life

Interview by Sarah Madden2:47PM BST 03 Apr 2014

Martin Clunes's Travelling Life

How often do you travel?

When I was filming the television series Doc Martin, I didn't get to go anywhere except travel between my home in Dorset and on location in Cornwall. But when I started making documentaries my travels escalated tremendously and I got to go to some amazing places.

What do you need for a perfect holiday?

Just my wife Philippa and my daughter Emily. My wife and I try to surprise each other with a weekend away to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day. My best attempt at complete surprise was for her birthday about two years ago when we went to Vienna and took her on a carriage ride to see the Lipizzaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School.

Your most adventurous travel experience?

Every since I was a child I’ve had a fascination with Madagascar. A few years ago I got to go there to make a documentary about lemurs and it was a dream come true. I made a four-hour steep uphill trek into the primary rain forest - the hardest thing I have ever done physically. But every tree looked like a city of its own, and every bough a town, each covered in plant and insect life.

Have you ever been on safari?

I spent time at the Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge in Kenya at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro for a documentary. I was in a camp used by the American conservationist Cynthia Moss who has made a life's study of elephant behaviour. I got to know an elephant called Nina there who had spent 20 or so years in a small private zoo having been orphaned as a calf. She was big, fat and spoilt but full of character. I established a rapport with her by spoiling her with bananas and sugar cane. We got along just fine before we had to translocate her 300 miles or so to the conservationist Tony Fitzjohn's camp at Mkomazi in Tanzania where she lived free for 12 years.

But more recently I was in Kenya to film a documentary about a lion, which took three years but was a true labour of love for me. We wanted to tell the story of Fitzjohn, a wayward youth who made his way to Kenya's Kora National Park, near the border with Somalia. He worked with the conservationist George Adamson there, who was eventually killed by Somali herdsmen and his camp was completely destroyed. Tony has rebuilt the camp called ‘Kampi ya Simba’ since. Everything has been perfectly replicated and I got to stay in what would have been George's tent which was a huge thrill.

I've had a passion for lions from the time my mother took me to see the film Born Free and it stirred something in me. I sought out Joy Adamson's books Born Free, Living Free and Forever Free and read them back to back. Each black and white photo from the books was burned onto my mind’s eye and the thrill of visiting some these places and meeting the people who did these things has been enormous.

READ MORE HERE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/celebritytravel/10741849/Martin-Cluness-Travelling-Life.html

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