I am not what you would call an indoors person.
I’ve always enjoyed the outsider lifestyle on lots of levels. And, for me, adventure has always been a key part of appreciating life and the world.
For a week, I slept in a tent in the Arctic Circle. -20C, -30C with windchill. Waking with snot frozen on your face was not a pleasant experience. Nor was getting set on fire by an exploding lamp.
Most days I’m out on my mountain bike or running through the wilds, here in Mercia. I’ve climbed mountains, walked deserts. But it’s not just a matter of pitting myself against nature (hint: you never win), nor is it purely about solitude and the meditative act – even though it’s a proven way of boosting creativity, vital for any writer, artist or musician.
For me, it’s as much about connecting with history. Our story is written on the land. (My old university professor pioneered the study of aerial photographs to discover the hidden secrets humanity had left there.) One of my favourite pastimes is walking the old ways – the drovers roads, the old straight tracks, the five thousand year old lines across the landscape. It’s a way of learning, of connecting with who we were through direct physical contact.
I have a notion of walking a few of these ancient pathways and posting a few photographs here across the summer, if anyone is interested.