Trying to interpret landscapes has been a key part of who I am for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I used to make maps of my home village and its surroundings, marking the positions of secret hideouts in the bushes and undergrowth. These maps allowed me to better understand how places fitted together and by my early teens, I was climbing to the tops of hills to get a better feel for the landscape below. By the time I was twenty, I was a committed hillwalker.
As you leave childhood behind, life becomes so much more complicated. The demands I put on myself to succeed and find my way in the adult world, along with a growing awareness of society’s imbalances, led to me drawing something else from my trips up the hills. The stresses of the human world can become mentally overwhelming and taking time out to observe and experience the animals, plants and processes that seem to operate regardless of us, provides solace and reassurance. If you need to put problems into perspective, there is nothing better than climbing a mountain and looking out over a vast, empty landscape, which makes all our endeavours and preoccupations seem tiny and inconsequential.