Long form

cal in salopettes

I started out in journalism as a reporter, but in recent years I’ve been concentrating on ‘long form’ writing: reportage, essays and memoir.

I enjoy having the time to immerse myself in a subject, read everything I can get my hands on, and ring up the experts to ask them as many stupid questions as they’ll allow.

I am always looking for more opportunities in this area. (Get in touch.)

I write across all subjects, but have particular interest in:

  • literature
  • landscape and nature
  • animals, animal behaviour and animal husbandry
  • psychology and neuroscience (I have a degree in experimental psychology)

I post my articles online as I go along (features collect here automatically), but find a few of my favourites below:

Talk to the animals
· Prospect, April 2020
Scientists have been trying to communicate across the species barrier for 50 years. What have we achieved – and what might we learn?

The Great Outdoors
· Prospect, July 2019
Poets know it. Gardeners know it. Dog walkers know it. Now therapists and doctors have realised that we all need the tonic of wildness to be healthy.

· Granta, February 2018
Stalking hinds through the hills of the north west Highlands, while reflecting upon the necessity and controversies of the annual deer cull

A’ mairsinn beò: why I’m learning Scottish Gaelic
· Prospect, June 2018
An essay on why I and my family are contributing to the Gaelic revival

Abstract Art
· New Humanist, July 2017
Culture essay on the appreciation of ‘beautiful’ mathematical equations

The Last Duchess
· Avaunt, March 2017
An essay on the Slate Islands, off the coast of Argyll, and on finding beauty in post-industrial and other ‘anthropogenic’ landscapes.

Who wants to live forever?
· New Humanist, July 2016
Once the preserve of eccentrics and cranks, cryonics is entering the mainstream. Is eternal life possible – or even desirable?

The Tree Farm
· Granta, January 2016
Hiking through the Flow Country of Sutherland, in search of the plantation forests created considered one of the most reckless environmental experiments in UK history.

My left leg
· The Sunday Times Magazine, 14 September 2014
I was born with one leg shorter than the other. My only option was years of radical orthopaedic surgery. Here, I recounts a childhood spent in wheelchairs and hospital wards.

The call of the wild
· Telegraph Magazine cover story, 21 December 2013
A diary of my winter spent working on a husky farm in the Arctic Circle.

The Bot Wars: how the computer whizzkids are beating you to everything 
New Statesman, 6 August 2013
Enterprising programmers are creating bots to snap up everything from restaurant tables to eBay goods before humans can even get a look in.

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