I was born in Whitby, grew up in the Esk valley and went to small country schools in Ruswarp and Robin Hood's Bay. My parents encouraged us to read and there was no shortage of good books when I was growing up.
Tales of adventure, fables and fairy tales, myths and legends covered my bookshelves. We were also encouraged to play outside - a lot. In fact we were expected to go out and play and not come back for quite some time. My world was defined by an active imagination and an almost feral existence outdoors. Moors, valley, riverbanks and rock pools were a playground of unending discoveries and my roots go deep here.
That relationship with magic, nature and story has been lifelong and now it underlies my livelihood in ways I could never have expected.
I also grew up with a passion to see the wider world. Perhaps to do with growing up in what was then such a remote place and reading my father’s copies of National Geographic. After leaving school I travelled abroad and in the years that followed lived in other countries, mostly in rural or wild places. Relationship with the natural world was and still is a necessity, oxygen for the soul.
During those years I had a few different careers, including organic farming, book selling, painting and decorating and sound engineering. Along the way I got a degree in music technology and music, and also a teaching degree. I still play and sometimes teach guitar but now also deliver storytelling events to schools and visiting school groups.
I came back to live in the UK in 2004 and through a series of happy accidents ended up training to run a local ghost walk. After a few years I set up my own walk in Robin Hood's Bay. Meanwhile I was realising that these are ancient and storied surroundings and that the best way I could re establish a close relationship with my birthplace was to get outside and get soaked in its stories. It wasn't long before I established Guided Walking Tours of Whitby as a vehicle for other stories and folklore and because I love Whitby too.
I spent 2 years part time studying celtic and eastern european mythology and storytelling at the West Country School of Myth. There I entered a world where stories and landscape are inseparable. I found what I was looking for - a vehicle that would allow me to express what I felt to be the essence of the otherworldly dimensions of nature and spirit, using story as a conduit. It is said our ancestors believed that in order to have a meaningful and magical life, you should wrap yourself in the swan feather cloak of story and have a relationship with the land around you.
My passion is to connect people with the earth as a place of mystery, meaning, a sacred and precious place of deep nourishment. I try to do that as a cultural custodian of my own five miles through the medium of storytelling.
I am always grateful when anyone anywhere turns up to listen. It is a gift I cherish.