Ascension Island is a small and incredibly remote island in the South Atlantic, forming part of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.
I’ve always loved remote and unusual places, especially Islands and would love your ideas about how I can get there!
Why do I want to go to Ascension Island?
- It’s really, really remote. It is both small AND far away! It makes St Kilda look like central London and North Rona like Manhattan by comparison. It is approximately half-way between Africa and South America.
- Charles Darwin visited Ascension on his famous Voyage of the Beagle and wrote all about it.
- It is volcanic, red and most of it looks like the surface of Mars (or at least as Mars is portrayed on Star Trek).
- There is a unique and eccentric rainforest in the centre of the island planted on the instruction of Charles Darwin. There was too little water to support a permanent population until Darwin suggested planting various species of different types from all over the world to encourage rain – and it worked!
- Ascension Island is an amazing place for nature with giant turtles, land crabs, feral donkeys and sea birds with such cool names as the Black Noddy, the Brown Booby and the Ascension Island Frigate.
- The island has played an important part in the history of sailing, warfare and even in the space race.
- The Island was initially permanently inhabited when Napoleon was exiled to St Helena as a navy base to guard agains any escape attempts.
- Anti-slavery patrol ships were based on Ascension during the 19th century.
- With all the celebrity deaths last year (I particularly miss Rick Parfitt) and all the current worldwide political uncertainly, being on a small rock in the middle of the South Atlantic may be the way forward!
Last year I entered a competition to win a trip to the Island. This was the CapriSun bucket list adventure where you thought of your ultimate adventure and then let the public vote on it. My personal bucket-list adventure would have been to visit the Falkland Islands and to Ascension Island (or in Gaelic, na h-Eileanan Fàclanach agus Eilean na Deasgabhalach).I got into the top ten of the public vote in the competition and was delighted to hear that I’d won a runner-up prize, particularly since they said that prizes would be linked to the adventures chosen by the competition winners. I was hoping for perhaps a book about the British Overseas Territories and was therefore surprised to find that the prize I had won was was a day trip to Edinburgh Castle!
After this, being a man of limited means, I accepted sadly that I was unlikely ever to get to Ascension Island.
Then I had another idea. Recently, I learnt about a crowd-funding project All the Stations by Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe to visit all the railway stations in Great Britain and to document this in professional videos. It’s a big project which will take them a month and cost over £30,000 to produce the videos. Geoff is already a popular YouTuber and was successful in reaching his target in just two weeks. I was one of the many subscribers and am sponsoring Stepps and Dumbreck stations!
This got me thinking whether I might just be able to visit Ascension Island after all through a crowd-funding campaign or could find another way of funding the trip.
I’d really like to hear your views on my idea and whether it might be a goer or not.
I’ve researched the matter and have worked out that a trip to the Island for a few days would cost between £2,500 and £3,000 including all the costs (trains, planes, accommodation, car rental, visa, insurance and everything else).
If I go with the Crowdfunding option, what is really important about projects is that people who consider contributing some money feel that they are getting something back. With the All the Stations crowdfunder, the most important thing is that you feel that you are actually on the trip along with Geoff and Vicki through their videos and social media content.
Here is my question for you. If I set up a crowdfunder:
(a) Do you think Crowdfunding would be a good option? If so, would you be willing in principle to contribute a little money (I don’t mean a lot of money – but £10 or £20)
(b) What would you like to see as an outcome from the project, either for yourself or something that would be of general interest to the public.
(C) Do you have any other ideas about ways to raise money?
I’ve spoken to some friends already about this and together we’ve come up with the following ideas:
- A bilingual blog about Ascension Island – looking at history, nature, conservation, arranging the trip and more
- A bilingual Gaelic-English ebook about the trip and the Island, free to subscribers
- Offering to speak to club and societies about my trip afterwards in Gaelic or English.
- Approaching Gaelic broadcasters and publishers to see if they might be interested in this idea
- Offering the best photos I take on the island to subscribers on a memory stick.
- A Vlog or no podcast about my trip
- A gift like a postcard or Ascension Island flag for all subscribers.
- A short (very lo tech) film about my trip.
- Offering to volunteer with Ascension Island conservation for a day or two while I’m there
The most important thing is that people woukd feel that they are getting something back and that it wouldn’t just be “Alasdair’s big fat holiday”!
What do you think? Good idea or bad idea? Have you ever been involved in a crowd-funding campaign before? I’d really appreciate any views at all.
What do you all think? Please leave a note on the blog if you have any thoughts or ideas.