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Walking the Nile with Captain Levison Wood - Sunset over Lake Albert

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: May 03, 2014

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FOLLOWING the recent, sad and tragic death of American travel journalist Matthew Power who was reporting upon Captain Levison Wood's attempt to become the first person to walk the River Nile in Africa, the news released from the expedition has been respectfully muted.

The former 31-year-old paratrooper from Cheadle Road in Forsbrook was devastated by the events that occurred in northern Uganda and decided to take several days break from his record breaking 4,250 mile walk to consider his own thoughts.

As everyone would expect the local authorities had to complete the formalities associated with the event before providing Levison with the necessary clearance and permission to return to his trek.

This they did within three days.

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With additional confirmation from Matthew's family that they wanted the expedition to continue, Captain Wood has recently resumed the odyssey northwards along with his constant companion and local guide interpreter Boston.

TRAVELLING ever northwards and following the White Albertine Nile the mood of the journey was inevitably sombre and has been mirrored by the dark brooding clouds that have accompanied the walkers.

March in this part of central Africa heralds the dreaded forthcoming coming 'rainy season'.

With the Sudd swamp awaiting Levison just across the border in South Sudan the already perilous route will only get longer if the rains come early and engulf vast swathes of the river bank.

The following report of the journey has been extracted from his diary:

Day 94 - The road to Obongi

As the Nile flows from Murchison Falls towards the far northern shores of Lake Albert the reed filled river banks are becoming wider and choked with vegetation.

It is far greener here and less hilly as the Nile widens, making the walking a little easier.

The humidity is slightly less intense and thankfully not so oppressive as it was back in the National Park surrounding Murchison Falls.

The number of people we meet in the countryside has increased markedly and everywhere we go it appears that they have heard of our progress and greet us with a warm smile.

In one of the many small villages which hug the shoreline we come across a medium-sized antelope called a duiker tied to a post.

Sadly wild animals like this are often hunted in Central Africa as bushmeat, even though they are a protected species.

After discussing the merits of rescuing this poor creature with Boston, we decide to confiscate the animal by contacting the local Rangers who arrive quite promptly and take the antelope away to the National Park.

Deciding that we may not be too popular with the local people we push on with an additional spring in our heels and cover the 31 kilometres to Obangi by mid afternoon.

A welcome, warm beer follows, accompanied by the usual daily meal of rice and goat which completes the day as we watch the most amazing sunset overlooking the lake.

The part of the river Nile region is home to a vast number of local tribes, all of whom have been very hospitable.

Aside from the Lugbara and Alur tribes the others are considered ethnic minorities in Uganda owing to their low population numbers. Many of these tribes are referred to as Nilotic peoples or Nilotes as they speak Nilotic languages common with groups inhabiting the Nile Valley, and parts of Central and East Africa.

The Nilotes also form the majority of the population in South Sudan which is the next country on our list to cross. Sadly as Boston does not belong to one of these tribes his progress northwards with me will be halted and I shall have to venture on alone.

Day 95 - Achioli to Adjumani

It's hard to imagine that the last leg in Uganda is drawing to a close as we cover the 34km across the hills of Achioli land after crossing the Nile again to the east bank. The weather has got noticeably cooler and the foreboding of the dark clouds shrouding the distant hills to the south forecasts the rainy season is approaching and not too far away.

The next couple of months will be characterised by heavy downpours of rain during the late afternoon with May being the wettest month of the season and could if unduly heavy bring the whole expedition to a premature close.

With a swamp the size of England just ahead in South Sudan, the Sudd must be navigated before the rains arrive.

With these worrying thoughts filling the mind it's easy not to see the beauty of this place. The small circular huts that dot the landscape are easily missed and it's not until late in the day that hunger gets the better of us and we decide to stop and buy a meal in our final town in Uganda. Adjumani.

Michelin star restaurants are not abundant in this part of Africa even though this is the largest town we have stopped in since Kampala.

I dream of taking Sunday lunch back home with my parents in Forsbrook.

What I wouldn't give for a roast beef and 'yorkshire pud' dinner.

Instead we settle for the local Ugandan equivalent of 'Fricassee of saute'd bush rat'.

Even with my eyes closed, the more than palatable peanut sauce could not rescue the charcoal black, rubbery skin and skinny meat that lay lifeless in the bowl - Masterchef it was not.

Readers may wish to follow Captain Wood's exploits as he draws ever closer to the next stage of his journey into the Sudd swamp of South Sudan and the dangers that lie beyond by going online to

'Walking the Nile@ Channel4' or on Facebook.

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