University of Oxford

Six decades on, another Cumbrian explorer heads for jungle

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

A student from South Cumbria who is about to lead an expedition into the Borneo jungle has been meeting another Cumbrian who explored the same area 64 years ago.

Matt Smith and Gordon Pickles

Matt Jones from Crosthwaite (pictured left), who is president of the Oxford University Exploration Club, is leading a team to the Usun Apau plateau, in one of the most remote areas of Borneo.

He planned the trip after finding records of an earlier university expedition, and then learned that Gordon Pickles, a member of the that team, lived only 10 miles away near Ulverston.

Gordon's advice to his successor is to be well-equipped for first aid, after he had to stitch up a fellow team member's leg after an accident.

One of the most interesting parts of Borneo is that it's been completely devastated by deforestation, and the area we are going to has remained a little island of undeforested area, raised above the jungle canopy.

Matt Smith

In those days there were no roads so we went up the river on government launches and then walked for about a week to get to our first camp."

Gordon Pickles