AN ADVENTURER in every sense of the word, former commando sniper turned TV presenter Aldo Kane has been inside active volcanos, set the world record for rowing across the Atlantic, explored uncharted territory on expeditions with Steve Backshall, and got up close and personal with the Mexican drug cartel. But the ex-marine admits his latest adventure may be his most fulfilling yet.

While away on his most recent expedition, a six-part ocean adventure series being made by BBC Studios and film director James Cameron for the National Geographic channel, Kane, 43, became a first-time dad, and was able to watch the birth of his son over video link from the middle of the ocean.

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“Atlas came along while on my first trip away for the project,” Kane, from Kilwinning in Ayrshire, says. “I got back when he was 17 days old, so it’s been a baptism of fire learning new dad skills ... but it’s been bloody brilliant.”

After two months at home adjusting to fatherhood, Kane’s new port of call was the Azores. Speaking from his quarantine quarters in the remote region, his thirst for adventure remains palpable.

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“After making it into the marines aged 16, I had pretty much sailed around the world by 17,” he says.

“By 18, I was in Northern Ireland on an operational tour, so by the time I’m 26 I’ve done 10 years in the marines, I’ve travelled the world, been to war ... all of that adds up to more than a job, it becomes almost part of your DNA.

“For me travel is education – travel and adventure are an education of what’s going on in the world, and what I think about it and how I interact with it.

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“I’m super-aware that we’re only here on Earth for a fraction of a nanosecond, and if I have the privilege of being old and stuck in a nursing home then I feel like at least I’ve given it a good shot.”

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, Kane admits all work ceased almost overnight. Although not being one to sit idle, he used his time of reflection to pen a new book.

“Lessons From The Edge is the story of my life up until this point,” he explains, “and all the various different expeditions I’ve been on and what I’ve learned from them now. All the things that happen in these strange environments, the lessons from that can be transferrable into everyday life.

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“The lessons that I’ve learned from working – whether it’s with Narcos, dangerous wildlife, anti-poaching, mountaineering, climbing, diving – I’m just trying to tell the story but also to draw it out in a way that the reader can get something from it too.

“Lockdown was just the perfect opportunity – I literally went from having no time at home for the last year to having four full months where I didn’t go anywhere, so I didn’t really have an excuse not to write it.”

Despite now residing in Bristol, Kane retains close ties to his homeland. He says: “It [Scotland] never leaves you. The last tune on my phone is probably The Corries. The more I travel the more I listen to Scottish music.

“It’s never far from me.”

Lessons From The Edge by Aldo Kane is available to pre-order now (Publishing September 30, 2021, Yellow Kite, Hardback, £20).

 

ALDO KANE’S PERSONAL BEST  

Best beach

I’ve spent a lot of time up in the west coast and one of the best places that I love for beaches is Barra and Vatersay. I’ve spent a lot of time camping on a beach in Vatersay – that is brilliant. If you go across Barra to Vatersay there are two beautiful beaches, one east and one west. I think it’s called Traigh Siar.

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They are just beautiful beaches –I love them.

Best building

It has to be Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I remember when I was a kid I was super-interested in taxidermy. When I was around 10 I wrote to them and asked if I could learn how to do it.

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They brought me over for a day or two and took me round all the big freezers and showed me how they did all the taxidermy. But it is just a stunning building.

Best street

I spent most of my years in Glasgow, so I’m automatically directed to that. Ashton Lane is cracking with all its pubs and you can sit outside. It sort of reminds me of everything that is Glasgow.

Best childhood memory

We used to go driving around Scotland every summer. Mum and dad had an old Volkswagen Campervan and with us five kids we used to basically camp all over the place. I remember one particular time camping in Glencoe, right next to the river. I remember washing in the river in the morning and having Cornflakes and powdered milk for breakfast.

Best walk or cycle

I absolutely love Glencoe. My wife Anna and I got married there two years ago at The Study. My all-time favourite mountain walk in Scotland is the Aonach Eagach ridge. Also in Glencoe you have the Hidden Valley which is a great walk.

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I just can’t get away from Glencoe. It’s one of my favourite places on the planet from all the places I’ve been to all over the world.

Best view

One of my favourite views is when you’re on the bridge going through Glencoe over to Ballachulish: the Ballachulish Bridge. As you look back east into Loch Leven and then over into Glencoe is just beautiful.

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Best shop

I like The Bakery by Zique in Glasgow’s west end. They do amazing cakes and coffee in there.

Best Scottish delicacy

I love haggis, neeps and tatties but it has to be in the right place. At the end of Glencoe there’s the Clachaig Inn and that is a place that I’ve spent hundreds of nights staying in or camping out the back of. If you haven’t been it’s definitely worth a visit. It does haggis, neeps and tatties there and I love having it after I’ve done the Aonach Eagach ridge – you walk down the last part of the ridge and you finish at the pub beer garden. Then you can have pints of Guinness and your haggis, neeps and tatties.

Best place for a cuppa

I remember liking Tchai-Ovna House of Tea in Glasgow. Another great place to have a cup of tea is on top of Buachaille Etive Mòr – The Buachaille. If you can get there early enough, park at the mountain rescue hut, walk up through the corrie, get to the top for sunrise and enjoy a nice cup of tea.

Best place for alone time

I’ve spent a lot of time on Barra so it would probably have to be there. You get an Airbnb up there, and you can just walk for hours along beautiful turquoise water, white sandy beaches and there’s not very many people there.

Instagram: @aldokane