I was born in Zambia. I studied at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford and was Director of Art at Glenalmond College in Perthshire before I began writing in 1998. I write about and photograph landscapes, nature, travel and people and because all these things come together in the best waste of time ever invented – fishing – I often write about fishing too.
I write books and magazine features, take photographs, occasionally make films.
My new book Silt Road grew out of my fascination for landscapes, particularly the chalk hills and rivers of southern England: it is the story of this landscape told through the story of a suburban river and a few people whose lives it shaped.
As one project leads to the next I am starting work on a book – working title November 1917 – which will be a documentary fiction about the impact of one event cascading through a family’s century.
I have published three books with Random House and their imprints Yellow Jersey Press and Chatto and Windus: Somewhere Else, in 2004, The Accidental Angler in 2006, Silt Road in 2013.
Over the years I have had many features and photographs published in The Field, Gray’s Sporting Journal, The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian and The Independent and in 2000 I won the Periodical Publishers Association Feature Writer of the Year Award for my stuff in The Field. I’ve done some work for TV and in 2008 I wrote and presented the critically-acclaimed BBC4 film ‘Fish! – A Japanese Obsession’ about the cultural relationship between the Japanese, fish and fishing.
I am passionate about conservation, particularly of rivers. In recent years I have worked with WWF, pressing for more sustainable water management in the English chalk streams. I’m President of the Wild Trout Trust a conservation charity which offers advice and support for river conservation projects. In 2011 I joined forces with a few friends in Norfolk and established The Norfolk Rivers Trust to work on the restoration of the small chalk streams where I live in East Anglia.