Shouting from my shed

Get the latest news, updates and happenings via my shed-based newsletter.

 

Getting Older, the Benefits of Having Time, and Being Aware of your Mortality – Living Adventurously #3

Mike Bagshaw is a Lancastrian by birth and a zoologist by training. He spent his working career in education, initially indoors, but then for 30 years he worked in outdoor education centres, introducing children and adults to the delights of watersports, mountaineering, forest education and how to understand and appreciate the natural world.

I met Mike for lunch at the picturesque Runswick Bay, at the foot of one of the steepest hills of the summer. The pub has a strong claim to the best sea view in the country, I reckon. Over a lunch of laughter and cheesy chips, I found myself hoping that I can be like Mike when I grow up.

Now retired, Mike is still extremely active, adventurous, and determined to keep behaving like a 20-year-old! He continues to explore many wild areas of the world on foot, underwater with scuba gear and afloat in canoes and kayaks. He is the author of two Slow Travel guidebooks to Yorkshire.

Mike lives near Whitby with his wife and two dogs and spends his non-travelling time managing the small birch woodland they own, volunteering for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and writing regular nature columns for local newspapers and magazines.

Please Subscribe to the Living Adventurously Podcast

(It’s completely free, zero hassle to do, but really helpful for me trying to get a new podcast off the ground. If you’re feeling extra kind, please leave a review on the app – that really helps.)

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn (“Alexa, please play the Living Adventurously podcast”) or on your favourite podcast platform such as Overcast, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Breaker, Soundcloud, Castbox, Castro.

This podcast is brought to you by Komoot

Komoot is a route planning and navigation app that inspires and enables great outdoor experiences. 

Your very own outdoor experiences are waiting for you. Go explore more with komoot. Use the voucher code ADVENTUROUS to claim your free region bundle.

The personalized planning and navigation tools ensure you plan the adventure that’s perfect for you. Komoot is Europe’s number 1 outdoor app, with route planning and navigation functionality, and strong community-driven inspirational features in the form of recommended Highlights and inspirational route Collections. It is used by over 8.5 million adventurers worldwide. Komoot is becoming the app of choice for cyclists and hikers the world over, with rapid community growth in the UK, the US and other parts of Europe.

Show Notes

Transcript

Below is the transcription of our conversation. It’s done by AI so is perhaps a wee bit ropey here and there. If these transcripts prove sufficiently useful then I will make the effort to clean then up and make them better. Do let me know if you think it’s worth my time to do that. (Or, better still, do it for me…!). If you’d like to listen as you read along you can do that here:

https://otter.ai/s/dFozsyt8QeuS3_GAWOiyVA

Alastair Humphreys
Could you tell me what you had for lunch?

Mike Bagshaw
I had cheesy chips? not the healthiest meal in the world, but nice.

Alastair Humphreys
Have you been on a podcast before?

Mike Bagshaw
I’ve never been on a podcast before.

Alastair Humphreys
Your son that was surprised that you can be on a podcast. There was? Why?

Mike Bagshaw
Well, he thinks he just thinks I’m slightly odd for doing lots of young men things when I’m an old git. It doesn’t think a 60 year old should be doing some of the things I do.

Alastair Humphreys
So on a scale of one to 10 How weird are you?

Mike Bagshaw
I think I’m three, but I think the rest of the world the rest of the world thinks I’m 9.5

Alastair Humphreys
I love this specific use of your three
why did why does the world think you’re weird?

Mike Bagshaw
I do lots of things outdoors.
I love camping. I have a mug which says I love camping but on the other side it says but I hate campsites so I love wild camping. I love wild everything. I love wild camping. I love wild swimming. I love wild places. And I’m a passionate natural historian.

Alastair Humphreys
So none of that sounds weird to me. Now the people your normal friends, what are the things weird about you? What should you be doing at your age?

Mike Bagshaw
I should be playing bowls perhaps put my feet up watching a lot more Telly and staying in bed and breakfast rather than rather than camping.

Alastair Humphreys
Very good. So, what does living adventurously that phrase? What does living adventurously mean to you?

Mike Bagshaw
it means trying new things, going to new new parts of the world parts the world of I’ve heard about but when I was working never had the time to be able to go to now suddenly I’ve got the time to go places. Now, and I’m aware of my mortality, I know I’ve not got that many years left. And it’s so so much so much world and so little time to do it. So I just want to go out and do as much as I can. While my body still works. And and have you always had that sense of urgency to get stuff done. It’s not so much. Well, a lot of our friends will will laugh if I would say Oh yes, I’m always getting things done because because I’m quite slack on actually finishing jobs. But I’ve always had the urgency to explore.

Alastair Humphreys
Okay, and you’re so imagine yourself, say when you say 20 or 30? or pick a number that seems relevant to you? What what would living adventurous live looks too long time. Yeah, has it changed your view?

Mike Bagshaw
It’s pretty much the same thing. I think that’s the essence of it is I’m still 20 in my head. So.

So it really takes me by surprise when

when when young people stand up for me on the bus and things like that. I

Alastair Humphreys
think I’m better than you.

Mike Bagshaw
Because I forget. I forget that. I know, I’m an old bloke and I look like an oboe because I don’t feel I Well,

Alastair Humphreys
yeah. It’s amazing, isn’t it? And

so, how is life different between

when you are busy working to now when you retired, how has that changed your perspective on things. And,

Mike Bagshaw
um, it was hard at first when I retired, because I still had this guilt feelings of I should I should be doing productive stuff. And but once I got used to the fact that I can do what I want, I found that what I want to do is actually, a lot of it is what I used to do in in work. So I worked in outdoor education. But now I don’t have to have a group of kids into when I go kayaking. So I can kick at my pace and and go when I want. When I go mountaineering, it’s peaceful with with no script, no, no responsibility to look after other people. It’s much more relaxing,

Alastair Humphreys
just responsibility for yourself. Yeah, no health and safety forms to fill it out. Absolutely.

So he spent many years working in outdoor education and the young people who came through your place what was what were the barriers that were stopping them living as adventurous as they might have done. And I mean, living adventurously not just in terms of going kayaking, just living a fulfilled and life really

Mike Bagshaw
worried parents

and peer pressure.

Because a lot of the time, it’s it’s not seen as cool to be interested in natural history, for instance, or

certainly for girls.

doing sports, outdoor things isn’t cool. So there’s a lot of peer pressure involved. And also, if they live in towns, just the access to wild places as well.

Alastair Humphreys
And what did outdoors education? do for them? What? What did you hope to achieve between them coming in the door and then leaving a week later, or whatever it was,

Mike Bagshaw
it was a fantastic job.

All the teachers used to say, it must be really frustrating for you to just see kids for a week at a time, because you don’t get to see the progress that they make over there. But But I would disagree because they they they made unbelievable progress within that week. And it was fabulous. To see the exponential growth in their

Alastair Humphreys
in their self esteem, their confidence that and their appreciation of the outdoor world. And do you think that would have does that have any use for them in the lives that they’re going to live because as you say a lot of them in towns, they’re not going to be outdoor people themselves.

Mike Bagshaw
Realistically, most of them will forget it almost immediately. In fact, some of them hated it. And you know, that they’re never going to go to the outdoors, again. But the majority said that was brilliant. But you know, they’re going to forget it. But you just hope that it’s planted seeds in, in this in a minority of them that that will make them want to connect with outdoors for the rest of their lives. And when I look back, how I ended up in that job is because somebody provided me with that opportunity when I was at school and I’m forever grateful for that.

Alastair Humphreys
You’re very keen on them. Natural History side. Yeah.

Being out in the wild. What’s your favourite bird?

Mike Bagshaw
put me on the spot. peregrine falcon.

Alastair Humphreys
What’s your favourite birds? Cool. seagulls?

Mike Bagshaw
My favourite birds Cole. Song.

Alastair Humphreys
I’m quite, quite late to enjoying.

What I’ve really noticed is that by learning the names of things, and by identifying the songs, I get so much more enjoyment out to be just going Oh, there’s a pretty bird. Oh, that’s

fine. Why is that was the main account you know, but, and

Mike Bagshaw
I’ve, in recent years, I’ve been volunteering for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and doing bird surveys for them, which has made me sharp have to shout knock on identifying bird songs. Because in the woods, you hardly see any and you have to identify them all by the bird song. And it’s opened up a whole new world.

Which, which I love.

Alastair Humphreys
Yeah, I think just

once you start to notice, yeah, right, it opens up. And it’s good.

Mike Bagshaw
With the children, the outdoors. And we used to just we used to have what was called Mike’s magic moment where you just had to lie down and be quiet for two minutes and just not move and listen to everything you heard. I never actually just say, Well, how many different birds did did you hear? And some of them would say all three or four or five? We never said what they were? Because it didn’t matter. So just the fact that they sounded lovely was enough. But But yes, I find I want to find out more and and find that extra line makes it even more special for me.

Alastair Humphreys
Yeah, absolutely. So I’m honoured. I’m spending a month cycling around Yorkshire. Yeah, and I’m on day three. And I’ve made it so far from Middlesbrough. It runs with Bay where we are now this well, you were saying is potentially the best view from a pub in Yorkshire a beautiful view of the beta.

But I haven’t come very many miles at all.

It’s probably 20 in a straight line. It’s pretty pathetic.

But you’re you’ve written a book, slow travel.

Tell me that I’m not being pathetic wimp by only making it 20 miles in three days. Now you are to be congratulated because it means that you are

Mike Bagshaw
you’re not just whizzing through and getting a cursory glance at the place you’re getting to know it grassroots so you find it out what makes the place tick, you have to spend time to get under the skin of a place

Alastair Humphreys
so it was your favourite slow way of being an outdoors

Mike Bagshaw
it’s got to be CK nothing

Alastair Humphreys
don’t you get itchy buttocks and that’s my pet hate was right well

Mike Bagshaw
I have a secret which I can reveal it and it’s to go commander don’t work on defence. Because that is what gives you it you booked it

Alastair Humphreys
that’s what it is my friends bespoke shows.

Well this is very invaluable stuff. One of the things one of the things I was hoping from this ride was to go around and seek out wisdom so going commando Zika is exactly the sort of wisdom I’m after I will say written a series of questions on some cards

to figure out so

I wondered if you fancy that giving give me me your best shot at a few of these so if you take one off the top

Okay, and you can ignore and you don’t want to answer

Mike Bagshaw
that one on a scale of one to 10 How weird

Alastair Humphreys
three right I love the specified

Mike Bagshaw
next

what is an absurd thing that you love?

St. Helens rugby league team.

Alastair Humphreys
Why?

Mike Bagshaw
Because that’s my hometown. It’s his own wild place as you can possibly imagine. It’s it’s grim. It’s up north. It’s grim. But it’s got lots of nasty Belgian memories from

Alastair Humphreys
so how did St. Helens for how did you get from St. Helens into loving the outdoors?

Mike Bagshaw
That’s a very good question.

I went the school I went to have had some in some inspired teachers in there who had the idea that that these townie kids ought to have experience of the countryside so they bought a house in the Yorkshire Dales and shipped us kids off to it at weekends for peanuts. And it was both for most of us it was that our first experience of proper countryside with no pollution. And what I vividly remember no street lights at night. So it was it was black at night. And you could see stars for the first time and so and and that’s what

led to

my life I’m nothing

Alastair Humphreys
well, and hopefully there are now a bunch of

younger people who’ve experienced similar from your years in the outdoor world to be doing the same.

Mike Bagshaw
I would love to think so. I’m sure

Alastair Humphreys
there will be I’m sure my brief time with you suggest that they will have been Okay, next card, right?

Mike Bagshaw
What small thing do you regularly do which greatly improves your life?

Now this is quite recent, actually.

I do 15 minutes of yoga every day.

Alastair Humphreys
And why is that improving your life?

Mike Bagshaw
Because I’m 60 And so my poor decrepit old body is getting stiffer and stiffer. And somebody suggested yoga.

And it works. It really does. Yeah, it’s

Alastair Humphreys
Yeah, I’ve I’m really on on flexible and and it’s done wonders for my back. Yeah, now now I’m on a bike for a month, which really tightens up your hamstring. Yeah, and then neck is my back. My resolution at the start was to do a lot of stretching every day. Yeah, course day three. I’ve done nothing but

yeah, the intention is there. Yeah. Okay. Next one.

Mike Bagshaw
Who was the most adventurous grown up you knew when you were a child?

Unknown Speaker
Wow. That’s a

Mike Bagshaw
tricky one. Probably. A teacher at school. My form tutor, a bloke called Allen’s daughter and it was him that used to take us off to this out this house in the Dales. He was a big orienteering. He was a big bird watcher. And he introduced us and he lifted a caravan which we which we found

really exotic, exotic.

Yeah, so I’ll start out my old teacher. It’s

Alastair Humphreys
where we see on the witness scale of one.

Mike Bagshaw
Oh, he was very weird.

Alastair Humphreys
Yeah. The best people always

Mike Bagshaw
Yeah, it was probably is it with hindsight he was way way upon the autistics but

Alastair Humphreys
so good to have. I do. The reason that that question interests me is I can’t remember any adults being very adventurous when I was a kid.

No, I know. I struggled to think. And the best I could probably think of is a couple of

outdoor teachers at school. But yeah, I wasn’t that convinced at that

time. So it’s mostly just thought they were a bit weird. Yeah, it was my epiphany on that.

Mike Bagshaw
Next other one.

What book should I read to make myself more wild? bold and curious?

Is this me that I should know me? You are like I was going to suggest one of yours but you’ve already read.

Alastair Humphreys
Very good. Yeah.

Mike Bagshaw
And I can’t suggest mine because because they’re not the truck. The travel books. They’re not super adventure one.

And

I would probably say my mind because we’ve been talking about him, but I would probably say, Robert McFarland wild places, Robert bloody MacFarlane. Oh, no, no, no, I’ve got a better one. It’s cold water log by Roger Deacon. Why do you like water log? Because he’s barking mad as well. He is he was a scale

was barking mad. Blessing rest in place.

Unknown Speaker
But I

Mike Bagshaw
I loved his idea of swimming in as many wild places as possible. And having no respect for authority whatsoever.

Alastair Humphreys
I love him a Winchester getting told off at that side the policy. He’s walking down. the riverbank in his underpants couldn’t get his clothes off.

You can’t see him here. Why not?

Mike Bagshaw
I remember him swimming down at a Class A class a trout stream somewhere and getting shouted out.

Alastair Humphreys
That was it. Yeah, and

I have to confess this got me wanting to swim down lots of charts during Yes. And yeah, that book is wonderful, isn’t it? Yeah, I think that not I think that was quite pivotal in a lot of people in Britain’s approach to the outdoors.

And

I don’t know if you’ve noticed over your time enjoying wild stuff. If you’ve noticed in the last, I guess, 15 years since that came out if you’ve noticed any changes in it

becoming more mainstream, or

Mike Bagshaw
whilst while swimming definitely is. It’s a big movement now. Yeah. Yeah. And, and in no small part to that book, I think.

Alastair Humphreys
Yeah, I absolutely love network choice.

Born one day, I love him having a moat at the bottom is God. And when’s the thunderstorm? He fills his bathtub with hot water. Sprint stock is across the board to swim this moat and then jumps into his hot. I want to be that weird on that.

Yes.

Mike Bagshaw
My son would say I already am. But there we go.

Alastair Humphreys
Okay. Okay, next question. A couple more.

Mike Bagshaw
sticker twist. In general, my life is comfortable and happy. So should I risk a new challenge and make big changes?

Unknown Speaker
seeking your wisdom here? And

Mike Bagshaw
I would say, stick.

Enjoy your children while they’re nine and seven.

And then when they leave home, then make a big change.

You’ll still be easily

Alastair Humphreys
Will I still be so I’ll be not being calculated, but I’ll be 52 on that date. Oh, a young daughter finishes a levels. Right?

Is that I might not too old, an ancient and over the hill? whitelist? Absolutely.

Mike Bagshaw
No. I was still played football.

And I kept going long enough to play in the same team in the same match as my 16 year old son, because he had to be 16 to play in the same senior team and we played one game together and then I have moved. So

Alastair Humphreys
that is it. That is a brilliant life goal to aspire to is to get play. Keep yourself in shape long enough to play in the same team as your son there. Okay, Challenge accepted. Right? My personal challenge has been to my son will be 18 when I’m 50. Yeah. And I’m curious about who will win in a running race. Who do you think will win?

Mike Bagshaw
We did this with my son. And he was beating me last before he was really I’m afraid.

Alastair Humphreys
Yeah. Yeah. And how does that day feel you happy or sad?

What the day when you’re finally trying your hardest? You know, it’s

Mike Bagshaw
it’s a real it’s a real mix of emotions it Oh, god, I’m getting old. This is the beginning of the end. And just pride that I’ve produced this. This human being that can now run fast. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Real mix of emotions.

Alastair Humphreys
That’s very good advice. And he I think that’s a perfect place for us to to end on. So thank you very much for being my third

podcast interviewee and your debut podcast. Thank you very much.

Read Comments

You might also like

No image found On Sunday night I am excited to go back to work on Monday morning – Living Adventurously 11 Jon Barton is the founder of Vertebrate Publishing. It sits at the very heart of British adventure writing and outdoor sports. Jon says that “we publish books to inspire adventure. It’s our rule that the only books we publish are […]...
No image found Inviting you on a Winter Microadventure It’s cold. It’s dark. I’m tired. I’m busy. I’ll do it later. It’s exciting. It’s memorable. I need a break. I’m always busy so it might as well be now. We can always look at things in two ways. As […]...
No image found Putting Restrictions in Place Enforces Creativity – Living Adventurously #5 Tommy Banks was the youngest chef in the world to be awarded a Michelin star. The Black Swan at Oldstead was rated the best restaurant in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017. As a connoisseur of banana sandwiches and dehydrated […]...
 

Comments

There are currently no comments. Be the first to post a comment below.


 
 

Post a Comment

HTML tags you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

 

Shouting from my shed

Get the latest news, updates and happenings via my shed-based newsletter.

© Copyright 2012 – 2019 Alastair Humphreys. All rights reserved.

Site design by JSummertonBuilt by Steve Perry Creative