Welcome to "Wild Times With" - a series of interviews with some of my favourite wild people, long-time collaborators and friends. You might even find some of these people running a workshop on a Wild Times retreat... starting with Will Clark, an all round good-egg, river restoration consultant, woodsman, part-time pyromaniac, bushcraft expert and who also conveniently happens to be my brother.
1) Why do you love nature/being outside?
Being in nature feels like the right place to be, or the only place I should be. Like being at home. Any day spent in the wild is a good day.
2) Favourite nature fact?
There was a time in the planet and universe's history (about 3.5 billion years ago) when a few chemicals knocking around in the primodial soup created biology... and now here we are thinking about it. Blows my mind!
3) Favourite wild place?
If I told you, everyone would go there!
4) What would you like your legacy to be?
Someone to say when I'm gone: "That Will bloke, he was alright wasn't he".
5) Describe your perfect day
Wake up in my tent with my better half and our dog, to a crisp sunrise on the shore of a lake with no noise but the gentle lapping of waves. Bacon and eggs cooked over a fire with a cup of coffee, then pack up and paddle aimlessly with a fishing line trawling behind us until we find the lunch spot. Swim, read, whittle a spoon, play cards, skim stones or do whatever takes my fancy until it's time to set up camp and put a pot of stew over the fire in the evening.
6) What would be your one tip for someone who wants to reconnect to nature/spend more time in the wild?
Learn how to navigate using an OS map and compass. Map reading is like reading another language and after some practice, which won't take too long, you can explore the wild places that are near to you. When you become fluent in the language of map reading, you can imagine with a good degree of accuracy, what a place will look like by the symbols, contour lines and colours. You can find some beautiful places that you wouldn't otherwise have known existed. It will open up worlds to you.
7) How do you ground yourself
I like to go wild camping once every 2 weeks if I can, or once a month at the very least, usually by myself or sometimes with one other. Disconnecting from modern day life even for 12 hours soothes my soul. In the summer I have been known to camp out on a school night even! It doesn't take much to wake up at 6am, drive home for a shower and head in to work.
8) Favourite campfire food?
A large really good quality steak with sea salt, corn on the cob and sweet potato - all cooked over hot embers (the sweet potato will cook itself in the coles in its own skin).
9) One thing you're grateful for today
I spent most of my day (at work) wading in a beautiful stream near Windsor, surrounded by wildfowl with their young chicks.
10) What does 'rewilding' mean to you
Rewilding means finding the balance so that we can all live harmoniously within a more natural environment where native plants and animals can flourish. This means re-thinking the way we farm, build on flood plains, treat and dispose of our sewage, collect our water, mine, build infrastructure and collect our energy. Change is incremental and is driven by the zeitgeist. I honestly feel positive about the direction we are moving in.