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  • Mike is currently walking across South America from the Pacific to the Caribbean
  • Come take a walk across the world's largest freshwater lake! Follow in Mike's Baikal footsteps with CrossingBaikal.com
Interview with Sir Wilfred Thesiger KBE, DSO, FRAS, FRSL, FRGS

In 2001 I had read a book called The Danakil Diary and was planning to lead a trip into the Danakil myself. I knew next to nothing about Ethiopia so I took it upon myself to trace the author of the book.

To be honest, as the book recounted an expedition undertaken 70 years earlier I did not hold out much hope. As luck would have it I traced Sir Wilfred Thesiger to a retirement home, Orford House, in Coulsdon, Surrey.

Meeting with Sir Wilfred Thesiger.

The Path Less Trodden - Travel Bubble Podcast

Pilgrim's Way 2020

With Covid impacting on travel plans, Mike decided it was a great opportunity to tick off this famous walk in southern England, over 215km from Winchester to Canterbury.

It was also the perfect chance to raise some funds in the process for The NHS Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, which had recently done such a wonderful job caring for his young niece.

Read my Travel Diary.
See some photos of my journey.
Donations welcome at JustGiving.

The Long Haul - a trek across Lake Baikal in Eastern Russia

Mike Laird Rosie Stancer Lake Baikal Eastern Russia In 2019 Mike ventured off to eastern Russia on a 'double-solo' expedition with renowned explorer Rosie Stancer.

Mike and Rosie both walked and skied over 650 kilometers solo but with a common objective. Travelling by foot and on skis, pulling sledges without resupply they hoped to complete the crossing of Lake Baikal in 25-30 days.

No strangers to extreme challenges, both Mike and Rosie undertook the venture in the spirit of adventure but taking with them a Veterans Aid banner to raise funds for and awareness of the charity they both admire.

Veteran's Aid provides immediate and practical support to ex-servicemen and women in crisis. All money raised by the pair went towards funding Veteran Aid's emergency interventions - the immediate actions that prevent ex-servicemen and women in crisis ending up homeless or facing the prospect and consequences of homelessness.

Last year VA saw 812 ex-servicemen and women, helped 94 veterans into employment or into training and appropriately homed 154.

Read more in Mike's travel diary
See some photos in the Baikal gallery
Veteran's Aid Website
Donate to Veteran's Aid in support of the Long Haul

Fancy walking across the world's largest freshwater lake?

Follow in Mike's footsteps on a Lake Baikal expedition with CrossingBaikal.com.

Diving around the coast of Bali

Mike Laird Dive Instructor Mike spent 2017 working as a Speciality Scuba Instructor in Bali teaching all levels up to PADI Divemaster and including speciality training in Wreck Diving, Deep Diving and Nitrox courses. Working on Nusa Penida and the east coast of Bali Mike regularly led dives on the famous USAT Liberty wreck, Manta Point and other awesome locations in Tulamben and Padang Bai.

In his spare time Mike has also visited the islands of Komodo, Rinca, East Nusa Tenggara, Gili Trawangan, Pulau Padar and Kelor. He has taken medical supplies to camps for people removed from the homes due to the threat of Mount Agung erupting and also done some voluntary English teaching in local schools.

Coast to Coast 2016 - Walking the length of Hadrian's Wall!

Mike on Hadrian's Wall In 2007 Mike was a photographer embedded with troops in Afghanistan. Amongst the many things he saw, he spent time in military hospitals where wounded and severely injured service men and women (as well as civilians) were brought for primary care.

His time in Afghanistan fostered an immense respect in him for what our services do for us and the often perilous circumstances in which they work.

During his walk he is raising funds for a charity called Pilgrim Bandits which primarily assists those unfortunate enough to have lost one or more limbs.

Pilgrim Bandits Pilgrim Bandits know that adversity, challenges and obstacles serve to strengthen the human spirit. But for some of those we support, just to smile or enjoy the company of others, is an almost insurmountable task. We endeavour to get them to believe in a life worth living again. Through Pilgrim Bandits they push to new limits. They help others. They inspire children and young people by working with schools and care centres. They raise funds like other charities, and they also try to fund research to push scientific and engineering advances into prosthetic limbs. The Pilgrim Bandits will never ask for your charity... but, we will ask for your support.

Links to their website and Mike's fund-raising page are below.

As Mike is giving up a week of time, please can you give up a bit of cash? It really would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Pilgrim Bandits Website
Mike's fundraising page - THANK YOU FOR ALL DONATIONS
Click here to view the Hadrian's Wall photo gallery!

Walking across the Bering Straits 2015

May 12th - I recently returned from Moscow and meetings with the British Ambassador and American Embassy. I also met with renowned Russian explorers Matvey and Dmitri Shparo at the Russian Polar Society.

Mike Laird meeting US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft, UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow, and Matvey and Dmitri Shparo in Moscow

March 15th - Mike and James returned to the UK after a successful recce. James frostbite and Mike s wrist injury are both fully mended. Progress is being made on how to refine some of the kit and in general it s looking good for 2016.

British duo attempt Bering Strait ice crossing The Nome Nugget
Daredevil gears up for -40C run in 100mph gales The Scotsman

Royal Patron: HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO
The expedition team are delighted and honoured to announce that following the recce to the Bering Strait in March and subsequent meetings at Kensington Palace in London, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent GCVO has agreed to be the expedition s Patron.

Read further articles, radio and TV interviews
Visit the Bering Challenge 2016 website

Land's End to John O'Groats 2013

With summer approaching fast, and finding myself with a few weeks to spare (a rare luxury for me!), I decided to go through my bucket list and see if I could tick anything off.

As I had recently been taking to my bike regularly to get fitter, item number 27 (cycle across Britain) jumped out at me, and that was it. Bike and tent were in the car and I was off to Land's End!

Read my Travel Diary.
See some photos of my journey.

The Bonham Carter Lecture 2013

I was invited to talk about mudhifs in the Iraq Marshes for the 31st Bonham Carter Lecture at the British Academy on behalf of the British Institute for the study of Iraq (BISI).

My lecture was based around the mudhifs of southern Iraq, both their history and construction, and my planned BISI-funded project to build one of these traditional reed houses with the local community in the marshes of Chabaish, between Qurnah and Nasiriyah.

Listen to Mike's lecture at the BISI website.
See photos of the mudhif project in Iraq in the Photo Gallery.

Trek to the Magnetic North Pole 2013

For some people to reach 'A Pole' is a life long ambition. For me though it was something that really only came onto my radar about two years ago although it had crossed my mind many years prior.

In those two years prior to my setting off on foot for the Magnetic North Pole, I needed to gain many new skills beforehand as well as build on some existing ones. First Aid, gun handling, navigation and general camp craft were relatively easy and just the beginning.

Satellite Communications, understanding polar bear psychology and learning about frost bite treatments all added to the arsenal of skills needed to keep us in one piece in this hostile environment, and ensure our safe return.....

Read more in the North Pole Travel Diary and Photo Gallery.
Where is Mike?

Mike is in Panama.

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Mike on BBC Radio Scotland

Mike Laird on BBC Radio Scotland - 12th June 2014

An interview with Mike covering a range of his travels was aired on BBC Radio Scotland on the 12th June 2014.

Click on the PRESS tab to hear the interview.

Associations and Charities

Mike was a Director of MarocAroundTheClock, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Trustee of the Scientific Exploration Society, and an honorary member of the Anglo-Bolivian Society.

(C) Mike Laird 2024