WHAT does it take to hold your nerve while filming inside an erupting volcano? Or being charged by a rhino? Or meeting trigger-happy drug lords in South America? Some might call it a kind of cool – a breath-taking, audacious coolness of mind.

That’s why last year we chose television adventurer Aldo Kane to top our list of coolest Scots – because of the way he has pushed limits and performed feats most of us find unimaginable.

Next month we launch a series of events – talks, debates, showcases – based around The Herald on Sunday's Cool List and staged by the prestigious Edinburgh Grand hotel.

Called Cool Conversations, they will bring together writers, musicians, mindfulness gurus, explorers of landscapes and ideas, bloggers and creative thinkers.

First up, on March 1, in a rare moment of being back in Scotland, rather than cave-diving in Mexico or tackling Narcos, will be Kane himself. He headlines the debut event, Going To Extremes, and will be joined by others who have taken on the elements, performed daredevil stunts or tested themselves in the wilderness.

Among them are Robbie Griffith, whose Trainspotting-inspired parkour tricks were so cool they went viral, Hazel Robertson, explorer-in-residence at Royal Scottish Geographical Society who has run a 140-mile ice Ultra in snowshoes and trekked across Alaska, and Calum Maclean, the wild swimmer who has brought new meaning to the word “Baltic”.

Cool Conversations will be your chance to ask burning questions, hear tales from, and to share time and perhaps a cocktail with, some of Scotland’s coolest. Tickets are available at £20 each. To whet your appetite here are a few stories from these boundary-pushing adventurers.

Aldo Kane

Extreme adventurer, 41

Moment of cool: Beating Ed Stafford in a race through the mangrove swamps of Borneo

“You’re not born an adventurer. I think being adventurous can be nurtured. I joined the marines at 16, where I then was taught in spadefuls how to be courageous and strong. But I think it was actually being in the scouts, in Kilwinning, when I was a kid that gave me that confidence to know that I could go outside on my own. I could stay outside at night if I needed to. And as a kid to have that in your back of your head, that you could probably stay out at night and not die, is quite a big thing. Confidence grows. You’re just building good foundations, building mental and emotional resilience. You can learn it, whatever your age.

I’m just about to fly out to Oman for the Expeditions series with Steve Backshall. It’s part of a series of ten expeditions to do ten world firsts - whether that’s been cave-diving in Mexico or kayaking and climbing in Greenland. Oman is number nine and we’re basically climbing a big wall, about 600 metres high. It’s a vertical cliff face and it’s never been climbed before.

It’s not that hard to find firsts to do. It’s actually relatively easy, even in the UK. In Scotland for example there are so many thousand kilometres of coastal sea cliffs. Not every single part of it has been climbed. A couple of friends and I rowed across the Atlantic two or three years ago. We rowed from mainland Europe to mainland South America and in 2016 that had never been done before. But I’m not chasing world firsts, I’m just chasing adventure

In the last year and a half shooting, I’ve done some scary things. Being inside a volcano in the Congo when that erupted was pretty terrifying But filming The Real Narcos [a documentary series investigating the South American drugs trade] was definitely up there as the scariest thing I’ve done. All around the world I’ve worked in hazardous environments, but the worst environment is people. When you’re dealing with a coked-up narco who is carrying a gun and he’s just done a job that’s a different matter. It’s quite, quite frightening.”

Calum Maclean

Wild swimmer, 30

Moment of cool: A dip in ice-covered Loch Coire an Lochain, the highest loch in Scotland.

“I was never a competitive swimmer as a child. I just liked being in water. About ten years ago I really got the bug for it. I put it down to one swim in particular. It was in Hobart in Australia. I was born there and half my family live there. In those days I ran a lot and cycled a lot, but I didn’t really swim. There’s a big river called the Derwent in the middle of Hobart and I was out on the bike one day and I thought, ‘Yeah, I could swim that. Let’s go try it.’ When I did it, I got a real buzz. it was a revelation. It was like, yeah, I love this. I’m going to keep doing stuff like this.

I began blogging while I was working for the BBC and based on the Isle of Skye as a broadcast journalist. I’d been doing the job for about three years and I was bored of it. I started to blog and luckily at the time BBC The Social was starting for young people in Scotland and the producer asked me to do some videos. So I did a few and they were okay and then I did the water temperature chart, where instead of using temperature in degrees I talked about the water as “Baltic” or “Hoora cold” or “Baltic”. It just took off. I’ve even been heckled at in Tesco in Aviemore. I’ve had strangers coming up to me, ‘Is it Baltic?”

Hazel Robertson

Explorer, 32

Moment of cool: Soaking in the 24-hour daylight while trekking through the Arctic.

“Probably every time I’ve done some new challenge, it felt like the most extreme thing I’d done, whether it’s been running across Arctic Sweden in snowshoes, or racing across the Sahara in the Marathon des Sables. Each time it’s felt like this is really pushing the bar a bit higher. When you do get to the end I guess it’s a confidence boost in yourself of having done something you weren’t sure you could do. Then it’s about looking at what’s next.

I guess my most extreme challenge was probably the three-month expedition that my husband Luke Robertson and I went on in 2017, aiming to go from the southernmost to the northernmost point of mainland Alaska by sea-kayak and bike. Alaska is also this place of extremes. In the south we were starting in temperate rainforests that get 2000 inches of rain every year, crazy wet. We were then passing all these glaciers and mountains, and then when we headed up to the Arctic and the flat, undulating tundra. Once we’d passed the Arctic Circle we had 24 hour daylight for the last few weeks of our expedition. I felt so energised. It was just this absolute buzz. You almost don’t want to go to bed because you’ve got so much energy.

But the trip was cut short. When we hit the Arctic, we started crossing a series of lakes that are connected by rivers. It’s actually the old historic trade route that the indigenous Inupiat used to kayak along. The plan was to kayak through these lakes by the rivers. And for a few lakes it was fine but as we got further inland, we realised that the water levels in these lakes were really really low and there was this sludgy mud at the bottom that the kayaks kept getting stuck in. Long story short, we found out once we got back was that actually climate change, as the air temperature is warming the permafrost that covers all of the Arctic and sits under these lakes had been starting to thaw.

Robbie Griffith

Parkour athlete, 18

Moment of cool: Somersaulting over a screeching car, Renton-style

“I think I was just ten when I started parkour. I actually went along to classes at my primary school, and there were coaches, it was like a gymnastics class just for parkour. In gymnastics it’s very regulated there’s lots of rules, but in parkour there are no rules. You can move any way you want and it’s more creative. My most famous parkour video is a remake I made with one of my friends of the classic Choose Life scene from Trainspotting. My brother suggested we used the track for a normal parkour video. Then my dad said why don’t you go one better and make the actual scene, remake it in a parkour sense. We just spent a day in Edinburgh making it, edited it for a couple of days and then put it on Facebook and it blew up overnight. We woke up to having all these notifications on my phone.”

For more details and to book tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cool-conversations-tickets-56033467610