An Articlave author has travelled one thousand miles on foot through the heart of the Middle East, from Jerusalem to Mount Sinai, taking on some of the planet’s most challenging environments and trails.
Hailing from the small village just outside Castlerock, Leon McCarron is an award-winning adventurer and filmmaker specialising in long-distance, human-powered expeditions.
In recent years he has cycled around the world, walked 3,000 miles across China and trekked 1,000 miles through the Empty Quarter.
A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Leon won the RGS Neville Shulman Challenge Award in 2017 which saw him live and travel with the ancient Samaritans for three weeks.
Now he has released a book entitled ‘The Land Beyond’ which has been described by no less a figure than Ranulph Fiennes as ‘a marvellous adventure and an impressive feat of endurance’.
The book falls neatly between travel writing and history as McCarron, step by step, paints a stunning picture of the rich culture, geography, the uncertain present and the diversity of faiths and peoples who inhabit the region. McCarron uses ancient trading routes, shepherds’ paths, wadis and mountain passes to complete the demanding journey.
It is the tale of perseverance, endurance and walking, “I would walk because I love walking, and because I have yet to find a more immersive or exploratory way to travel”, all set against the backdrop of the stories of ordinary people,” said Leon.
“This is the story of the Holy Land, told by the people who live there.
“My focus was on communities rather than countries, people rather than politics. The aim...was simply to travel from conversation to conversation.
“It was a journey intended to focus on the other side of the Holy Land and the Middle East, the part that we don’t hear about all that often.”
The book is described as telling ‘stories of the kind and honest people who live in the Holy Land and the Middle East’.
It serves as a humbling contrast to the conflict and terror seen in the media and sheds light on the reality of life in this part of the world.
Reviews of Leon’s book, which is available on Amazon and published by IB Tauris Publishers, include:
“Informed, engaging and sensitive - Leon makes the perfect companion for the dusty road.” Benedict Allen
“A marvellous adventure and an impressive feat of endurance.
“This is also a journey that explores the people and landscapes of a misunderstood part of the world with great insight and enthusiasm.” Ranulph Fiennes.
Leon’s first book - The Road Headed West - about his bicycle journey across North America was published in July 2014 and is now an Amazon Top 10 Bestseller.
Find out more about Leon the explorer at his website www.leonmccarron.com