“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
– Philip Pullman
Welcome to my online home The Wild of the Words! You'll notice pretty quickly that, as a result of me being a story obsessive and self-confessed addict of the Great Outdoors, every aspect of my work focuses on combining the word with the wild. I'm basically a nut about blending traditional folk narratives, myths and legends with the wild outside to create really rich outdoor experiences for everyone. In it's simplest form, my work animates the outdoors - brings it to life for you through story and practical outdoor skills - and suddenly the natural world becomes something you want to step closer to, connect with, share and protect.
Nowadays, it's all too easy to feel disconnected from the land and the wild world outside. We're gradually losing that link with the outdoors that contributes so much towards us feeling rooted and whole. But folklore, story and bushcraft skills offer us the chance to regain and rekindle that special relationship with nature. They give us a way back in. Myths, legends and old stories told while we practice our bushcraft skills offer us the chance to engage with our natural world on more than just a practical level - they make things much more emotional, exciting and inspiring; encouraging us to cherish and preserve the trees, plants, landscape and creatures to which these stories are connected.
After many years of teaching and spending half of my life outside, I originally established The Wild of the Words as a way to draw together my love of story and outdoor skills. Before long, I found myself performance storytelling and bushcraft instructing professionally with audiences of all ages, delivering workshops and events that ranged from corporate storytelling and educator training, to supper clubs and retreats...and people were following me to hear about how I planned to combine stories and the outdoors next!
Ever since I’ve been small, I’ve combined the wild with the word. Family camping holidays saw me spending most of my time hiding in the heather, buried in a book. I would never have survived the stresses of mainstream teaching if I hadn’t spent every weekend high up on a mountain side with plenty of head space. My number one priority as a mum has always been to make sure my girls feel grounded in the outdoors and constantly inspired by the stories that sit within it; confident in the knowledge that both will guide, inspire, heal and teach them – always. I'm keen to always learn, as well. I've trained with the country's best when it comes to my mountain and bushcraft qualifications (John Rhyder's Woodcraft School), and I adore sharing everything I've been taught by the tutors and instructors I've been lucky enough to have.
I want to encourage others to embrace and enjoy the outdoors through story and bushcraft - providing people with practical ways and means of reconnecting with the wild outside through narrative and practical experience. If you choose to follow me on social media or via my blog then you can expect to encounter plenty of tall tales as well as a heady mix of bushcraft, outdoor activity inspiration and constant recommendations of all the incredible writers, storytellers, explorers and adventurers who influence me. It's all about community – around which storytelling is centered, of course.
So, the word and the wild. The wild and the word. My ultimate goal is is to prove to you - as Carolyne Larrington (author of Hag: Forgotten Folktales) so perfectly puts it - that “the modern world still holds its magic, if only we attune ourselves to its enchantments".