Melanie Sykes - A Week In The Wild - Me, Stanley Johnson, Henning Wehn and the director Damian O'Mahony

A Week In The Wild

It was way back in January that I was approached by BBC2 and asked if I would like to take part in a television show called A Week in the Wild which meant trekking through the Copper Canyon in Northern Mexico, a canyon system larger and in some places deeper than the Grand Canyon.

You may know I spent three weeks in the Australian Jungle for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here but as much as that was real and difficult, you are not that remote and obviously you are being observed at all times and therefore very safe.

Melanie Sykes - A Week In The Wild - Me and Stanley Johnson

This however was the real deal, walking through and sleeping in one of the world’s remotest places, camping in the wilderness and trekking for miles, so naturally I jumped at the chance and the challenge.

My companions were politician Stanley Johnson, writer and father of Boris, and Henning Wehn, a German comic living and working in Britain, both whom I had never met and had heard little of.

We all met in Mexico City and flew on to Chihuahua and then took a six seater propeller plane to Batopilas, the base camp of our trek.

Melanie Sykes - A Week In The Wild - Me and Jesus and Perfecta

There was much to discover and many people to meet but first we had to climb. The first day was arduous, the terrain unpredictable and steep with the temperature soaring by the minute.

When we reached the summit we set up camp in the most glorious of settings. The views were sensational and the feeling of one’s insignificance against the grandeur of the terrain was humbling.

The following day we pushed forward and stayed on a cattle ranch with Jesus and his wife Perfecta where we tried our hands at lassoing the cattle and tasted the local grog. It hit me quickly and let’s just say it made me a bit giddy!

Melanie Sykes - A Week In The Wild - Me at the gold mine

The next day we were saved the trek on foot and travelled by mules to a gold mine. It was fascinating to watch the process in which it is extracted from the rocks. Very basic and extremely hard work.

We also went to meet the Tarahumara, the running people, the indigenous people of the canyon. They were so welcoming and showed us their unbelievable agility, running on rocky terrain in just their thonged shoes or no shoes at all. They are so fast and sure footed – it is actually mind boggling.

We travelled on to witness a harvest festival and ceremony where two goats were sacrificed – my least favourite experience of the trip and that is putting it mildly. This village was extremely remote and was nestled into the valley between its imposing mountains. The celebrations went on into the morning.

Melanie Sykes - A Week In The Wild - Me on a mule travelling to the gold mines

During my time in Mexico I developed a big soft spot for Stanley, who was a fantastic companion and a truly fascinating person, never lost for a story to tell, a quote to share or a song to sing, and Henning just had me stitches the whole time as only a good comedian can do with his one liners and quips.

It was a wonderful trip and felt I had conquered the physical challenge although I did feel out of my depth at times with being so remote and away from home but I would not have missed it for the world.

I really hope you will enjoy the show as much as I did taking part. 

Melanie Sykes Signature

A Week In The Wild is on BBC2 September 1st at 9pm