PK Podcast 009: Leon McCarron & Tom Allen On Making Meaningful Journeys, Off The Beaten Track

by Paul Kirtley

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Tom Allen and Leon McCarron in Patagonia on horseback

Leon and Tom making their first horseback journey in Patagonia. Photo courtesy of Leon McCarron.

In this podcast episode adventurers Tom Allen and Leon McCarron join me to talk about making independent, long distance, human powered journeys off the beaten track.

Both are Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society. Both have made seriously long bicycle journeys, taking them through countries and terrain many wouldn’t even consider visiting, never mind cycling through.

Tom continues to explore the potential of bicycle travel as a tool for making personal, meaningful journeys.

In 2012, Leon and Rob Lilwall walked from Mongolia to Hong Kong, a 3,500 mile hike, which featured in a 4-part National Geographic series about the journey.

Leon is also known for the 1,000 mile journey through the Empty Quarter desert, with Alastair Humphreys, retracing the steps of Wilfred Thesiger, pulling their equipment and supplies on a specially designed 4-wheel cart.

Both Tom and Leon’s big trips have involved making films or films having been made about the journeys. They recently teamed up to make a couple of adventurous journeys together, one in Patagonia, Argentina and the other in Iran. Both journeys had purpose and meaning. Each has resulted in the video footage captured during the trips being made into feature length films.

I caught up with Tom and Leon in a north London park, not far from their editing room, which I sensed they were keen to escape from.

Our conversation forms episode 9 of the Paul Kirtley podcast…

How To Listen To This Podcast

You can listen to this podcast here on my website by using the player above. Just press the play button on the right of the player.

You can download the podcast episode .mp3 file by right-clicking on the download icon just to the left of the play button to save the .mp3 file down to your local machine/device.

You can also subscribe on iTunes and on Stitcher or via my podcast-only RSS feed.


Click here to read or download the transcript of Paul Kirtley Podcast Episode 009.

Tom Allen and Leon McCarron wild camping in Patagonia

Wild camping during the Patagonian trip. Photo courtesy of Leon McCarron



Trailers For Some Of Tom And Leon’s Films


Thanks For Listening!

Thanks for joining me on this podcast. If you have any comments about this episode, please leave them in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page. Thanks!

And Finally…

Finally don’t forget to leave an honest review & rating on iTunes or on Stitcher.

Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of this podcast and I read each and every one of them.

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog

Podcast With Chris Townsend, Backpacking Legend

Six Men, Three Boats And The Bloodvein: Canoeing A Wilderness River

Planning An Overseas Wilderness Journey

Fjelltur: A Norwegian Adventure

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Paul Kirtley is an award-winning professional bushcraft instructor. He is passionate about nature and wilderness travel. In addition to writing this blog Paul owns and runs Frontier Bushcraft, a wilderness bushcraft school, offering bushcraft courses and wilderness expeditions.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Makin

Thanks Paul for another great podcast.
It was fascinating to hear about the planning behind these types of trips / adventures. I am very much looking forward to viewing both of the films when they are released.



Paul Kirtley

Thanks for the feedback Sean. Glad you enjoyed this. I’m also looking forward to the finished films…




Jamie Dakota

Hi Paul,

Cracking work on these podcasts, the perfect length for my commute in and out of work.
Have you considered throwing in the occasional anecdotal episode about your own adventures?
I’m sure plenty of folks would be interested in listening to your own trips outdoors, whether its a trip that had an issue you overcame which people could learn from, or a trip that went perfectly and makes a great story.




Great podcast Paul. Thanks for doing it, and the unseen labour and time behind it. Have shared.


Paul Kirtley

My pleasure Craig. Thank you for your words of appreciation and for sharing this.

Warm regards,



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