Inspirations

 
 

As well as the many places featured in this blog, there are many people who have inspired me to create it. This page notes just a few of those people and perhaps gives you a few places to look for further reading, viewing or other routes to inspiration yourself.

View of the Cairngorms (Nan Shepherd's 'living mountain') while on trail with the Wilderness Foundation UK

View of the Cairngorms (Nan Shepherd's 'living mountain') while on trail with the Wilderness Foundation UK

Roger Deakin was the first nature writer to really capture my imagination. His 1999 book Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain is a masterpiece and set me off on a journey through other literature and media. It is a celebration of swimming in natural waters around Britain. In fact, Waterlog is recommended by groups under the 'Reading Well' initiative, endorsed by health professionals, as a mood boosting book. 

Robert MacFarlane was the next stop on my journey, and was a good friend of Roger’s before the latter sadly passed away. Robert’s journey to many of the remaining wild places in Britain (The Wild Places) or some of the same isles’ ancient walking routes (The Old Ways) are real treats.

Alistair Humphreys does a tremendous service to society by reminding us that adventure is never far away and you don’t need lots of time and money to have an extraordinary experience. In some ways, I see the moments recorded in this blog as the #NanoAdventures to Alistair’s #MicroAdventures. His blogs, books, photos and videos are a regular inspiration.

Looking further back in time, the writing of John Muir is unparalleled. His way with words really captured me and transported my imagination to far off wild places. His ability to convey the wonder of nature is one of the main reasons the concept of National Parks (protected areas of natural wonder) has come to pass. He led President Roosevelt through the Yosemite and the President went on to establish that area as National Park as well as many others.

This short film - produced by Alistair Humphreys - is based on the writings of John Muir. It is an ode to wilderness, and was filmed in the Scottish Highlands.

Later than John Muir, it is Nan Shepherd who brought her local mountains - the Cairngorms no less - to life in spectacular fashion in The Living Mountain. Although not published until 1977, it documents her experiences of the seasons and all aspects of nature on the mountains she loved. It was Nan who really convinced me that small moments explored in depth and with meaning can have great significance.

Andy Puddicombe and Headspace provided my first exploration and coaching in mindfulness. Using their guidance, I found a new way to ease stress and fatigue, enjoy life in the present and - combined with all of the above - enjoy natural spaces more.

And on a person to person level, it is through volunteering on camps for young people with the Wilderness Foundation UK and Action for Conservation that I have been able to see first-hand how time in nature provides a therapy for us all.

I owe great thanks to all of those mentioned above, and many friends and family for a great deal of inspiration. I leave you with this final thought...

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
— John Muir