I used to be in H.M. Armed Forces. Not Special Forces like the Great Man himself, but enough to learn about wilderness survival the hard way, an experience I've been building on ever since. So when Bear asked me to ghost write the book that went with his 'breakthrough' TV series, Born Survivor, I was only too happy to oblige and the book reached No. 4. in the Sunday Times Best Seller List. When I was writing it, people would say "Who's Bear Grylls?". They'd never heard of him. They have now!
Gold of the Gods is an adventure novel for children (aged 9-12) and is the first in a series of eight in the Mission Survival series. It is about a young BG character (Beck Granger) who finds himself in the Colombian jungle trying to rescue his uncle who has been kidnapped by a gang on the trail of a hoard of lost gold.
I lived in Colombia in the '90s and the inspiration for the book is based on my experiences of the Kogi Indians whose Cuidad Perdida (Lost City) was only rediscovered in the 1970s. It was amazing fun creating all the characters and the survival situations that Beck finds himself in. My first foray into fiction and hopefully not the last!
Great Outdoor Adventures is a compendium of all the jolliest of japes you can get up to in the outdoors with a bit of imagination and a fierce desire to clear the mind of the office 9-5 (6-7-8 or 9!)
It's got some heavyweight advice on everything from camp building to rock climbing, kite surfing to potholing, tree-house construction to paragliding (I used to fly in paragliding competitions). Thoroughly recommended for families with growing teenagers!
The Daily Telegraph Adventurous Traveller is a handbook for everything you need to know about 'Adventure Travel' - including a definition of what that catch-all phrase actually means. In fact, as I discovered when I was writing it, Adventure Travel means a lot of different things to different people as serious adventures like Nicholas Crane (Coast) and Rebecca Stephens M.B.E. (the first British woman to climb Everest) reveal. Written with Nigel Gifford O.B.E. whose experience of organising expeditions to remote corners of the globe is second to none.
At last a book with my name on the front cover. You see I'm not just a ghost! This was the result of an amazing year-long project I embarked on at the end of the '80s with my old friend, Stephen Clark, who went on to write the book and lyrics for the musical Love Story and won an Olivier Award for Martin Guerre. And a Year Went By tells the story of our year in words and photographs. Stephen wrote the magical poems and I took the photographs - this was during a previous incarnation as a documentary photographer. Sir Peter Hall wrote the introduction and we had an exhibition in the foyer of the National Theatre with the surreal experience of watching our name in lights as we crossed the Thames.