I left school aged 16 and left home the same day. I wanted to fight for a rebel cause in South America but after a skirmish in Torquay with some Stoke City fans I decided guerrilla warfare wasn’t for me. I returned to Derby 18 months later and managed to borrow enough money to buy the local greengrocers. One shop quickly became six; rich and successful at 25, skint and unemployed at 40. My strong work ethic helped me triumph over adversity.
I became interested in the outdoors at the age of 4, following my elder brother on bird nesting trips and fishing expeditions, sleeping under canvas, cooking on camp fires. I was bought a compass, axe and primus stove age 7, clearly destined to lead expeditions to the South Pole - alas I never did like the cold. Fishing and shooting were my life until the age of 40 when one morning I decided I didn’t want to anymore.
Why did you join Ramblers?
It was mother’s idea I took up walking. She told me it was time to settle down and I should join a walking club to meet a nice girl. One Tuesday night in 2013 I went on my first One Step walk. We were told Sunday's walk was cancelled due to no leader and I volunteered to lead it. On the following Monday I got a call from the Chairman thanking me and could I lead next weeks walk and would I like to join the committee. As this is a Ramblers Group I joined the Ramblers Association.
How long have you been a member?
Where is your favourite walking destination?
The Lake District with Derbyshire a close second.
If you could walk anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
More than happy with the Lakes, I hate airports. I would sooner drive then spend hours waiting for flights while being treated as a suspected terrorist. Leave home 4.30am on the hills for 8am - perfect!
What is your most memorable walk?
I led my first Lake District walk on a Friday for a Notts Ramblers weekend in Coniston. It was from Ambleside, climbing Wansfell Pike (a Wainwright favourite). Only one person turned up, we had a lovely time and she has been on 25 of my weekends.
What is your most treasured piece of walking kit?
My compass. It has never let me down, unlike phones and GPS devices.
Have you ever got lost on a walk?
Yes twice, both times in the Lakes, in low cloud with zero visibility. The first time on the Langdale Pikes, the second while walking the Fairfield Horseshoe. The experience taught me to respect the fells, go properly equipped, use your leadership skills and stay calm.
Who would be your ideal walking companion(s)?
I love my friends in One Step Walkers; we have such fun, especially on our weekends away.
How do you relax?
I never relax until late in the evening, then it’s simply TV and a glass of wine.
What is your favourite meal?
Smoked salmon and prawns; lamb, new potatoes and lots of different vegetables; fresh raspberries and crushed meringues with cream.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Not guilt but a passion. I love the theatre, musicals, ballet, opera.
What music would you like played at your funeral?
"I Will Survive" and "I am the God of Hell Fire". "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" would be a laugh but I’ll probably get "I Vow To Thee My Country" and the scouts prayer. Funerals are for the living.
Sum up your personality in three words
A cultured fool.