Niall McCann Wild Expeditions: 7 Continents, 30+ Adventures & National Park Rescue

Dr Niall McCann Podcast

SEASON 1 EPISODE 4 – SUMMARY

In this podcast conversation, Chris Watson sits down with Dr Niall McCann.

Dr. Niall McCann, a National Geographic explorer, biologist, and conservationist, shares his experiences and adventures across the world, from the polar regions to the jungles and desert.


Niall discusses his work in media, including hosting the TV show ‘Biggest and Baddest’ and working with Sir David Attenborough.


We also discuss Niall’s foundation, National Park Rescue, which aims to save national parks in Africa from collapse due to wildlife poaching.

Dr Niall McCann Is Guest on Adventure Diaries Podcast Episode 4
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Niall shares his upbringing in a family that normalized adventure and exploration, and how he transitioned from being a biologist to a conservationist.

Dr. Niall McCann also discusses his expeditions in Greenland, encounters with wildlife, and the impact of climate change on polar regions.
In this conversation, Chris Watson discusses his experience rowing across the Atlantic Ocean and his work in conservation.


He shares the challenges he faced during the row, including dealing with various weather conditions and a terrifying moment when their boat nearly sank.
He also talks about the planning and preparation required for such an expedition.

In terms of his conservation work, Chris discusses his involvement with National Park Rescue and their mission to protect national parks at risk of failure.


He highlights the importance of engaging with local communities and providing stable employment and trade. Niall reflects on his work with Sir David Attenborough and the shift in focus towards highlighting the threats to the natural world.


NIall encourages listeners to explore and appreciate their local environment and recommends supporting the charity Millimetres to Mountains, which helps people recover from trauma through outdoor adventures.


Episode Takeaways

  • Dr. Niall McCann is a National Geographic explorer, biologist, and conservationist.
  • He has worked in various environments, including the polar regions, jungles, and deserts.
  • Dr. McCann has been involved in media projects, such as hosting the TV show ‘Biggest and Baddest’ and working with Sir David Attenborough.
  • He is the founder of National Park Rescue, a foundation focused on saving national parks in Africa from collapse due to wildlife poaching.
  • Dr. McCann’s upbringing in a family that normalized adventure and exploration influenced his career path.
  • He transitioned from being a biologist to a conservationist, driven by a desire to actively save species from extinction.
  • Dr. McCann has undertaken expeditions in Greenland and encountered wildlife such as giant otters and snakes.
  • He has witnessed the impact of climate change on polar regions, including changes in polar bear populations and the livelihoods of indigenous communities.
  • Dr. McCann emphasizes the importance of education and awareness in mitigating the effects of climate change and protecting wildlife. Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean involves facing various weather conditions, including flat calm conditions, headwinds, and storms.
  • Proper planning and preparation, including physical training and nutritional preparation, are crucial for a successful ocean rowing expedition.
  • National Park Rescue works to protect national parks at risk of failure by collaborating with government authorities and engaging with local communities.
  • Engaging with local communities and providing stable employment and trade are essential for successful conservation efforts.
  • Sir David Attenborough has shifted his focus towards highlighting the threats to the natural world and the importance of protecting it.
  • Exploring and appreciating one’s local environment can be a rewarding adventure, and supporting organizations like Millimetres to Mountains can make a positive impact.

Call To Adventure

I think get to know and love your home and the places around you. We can all seek adventures in far flung places, but adventure starts at home.

And there’s no better adventure than learning everything there is to know about the countryside, the parks near your own house. You may have come across an adventure called Alastair Humphreys and he did something very interesting in the last year or so.

From the Ordnance Survey you can buy a site-centered map with your house in the middle.

I’ve got one upstairs and our house is in the middle and then it’s a few kilometer’s around either side. And he got a site-centered map for his house and then spent a year visiting every square kilometer on that map. And that’s a really interesting way to do it.

I haven’t been quite as pedantic as that, a lot of them are in the middle of the Bristol Channel, but my daughter who’s now four and I have explored most of the square kilometers to the north of our house and it’s just a lovely thing to do, is getting to know and love the environment around where you live.


Pay It Forward

Earlier this year I did an expedition with my friends Ed Jackson and Darren Edwards and all three of us have got spinal cord injuries and we skied across the Vatnajokull ice cap in Iceland and we were raising money for a charity called Millimetres to Mountains which Ed and his wife Lois set up.

And Millimeters to Mountains is an astonishing charity. Darren and I are both ambassadors.

And Millimetres to Mountains takes people who’ve suffered mental or physical trauma, whatever it is, and uses adventure in the outdoors to help them recover.

And seeing the power of adventure in the outdoors and the community that comes with that in helping people recover from whatever trauma they have been through.

I find totally uplifting and totally inspiring and I would love it if people could look into Millimetres for Mountains and consider coming on one of their public walks.


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