The Long Way Up

An exercise in disappointment, rather than the emotional journey that we all desired

Ben Shelley


Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

I imagine that the appeal of this lad’s adventure will resonate most with those who watched the original two adventures. The Long Way Round and the Long Way Down arrived on our screens during the postmillennial decade.

In the first adventure, we saw Ewan McGregor and his friend, Charley Boorman travelling around the world on two motorbikes. They travelled from London to New York the Long Way Round. It was a true lads adventure and one that set me on my journey of desire to explore the world.

The Long Way Down was the same concept as the first adventure, yet it was from Scotland to the lowest point of South Africa. More adventure and more excitement to entice me out of my shell. It was a trip that was hampered somewhat from Ewan’s side, in the fact that his now ex-wife joined for a short stretch and there was petty squabbling between him and co-lead, Charley Boorman.

With all of this in mind, I was still picturing the comradery that was personified in the original offering when The Long Way Up arrived. What I actually got was,

‘High-level celebrity makes a statement with previously forgotten about a friend.’

The Build-up

Each trip follows a set structure. They use the first two episodes to show the planning that goes on and the reasons for the trip.

Within the Long Way Up, we are treated to background footage of Charley and the horrific accident that he had.

“The latest accident in Portugal was pretty scary. I was overtaking a car on my motorbike when it clipped me, sending me careening into a wall. The thing I remember most was flying through the air and seeing the pavement and wall and thinking, ‘This is going to hurt’. It felt like my whole body had been jarred. I’ve crashed a lot in the past. I broke both legs, which is why I ended up lying in bed for three months. It was six months before I could walk on one leg.”
Bumps and breaks of Charley Boorman’s life … and near-death. Belfast Telegraph

Before this, Charely and Ewan had lost contact and the near-death nature of the accident brought them back together. This is…



Ben Shelley

Someone who has no idea about where their place is in this world, yet enjoys writing about books, education, entertainment and videogames