BBC Countryfile recently interviewed Paul about his life, the Pennine Way, the great smell of sheep poo and why lessons should be taught outdoors.
I grew up in a council flat in Romford and wild places seemed out of reach. As a family we went to the coast for holidays and spent some weekend time in the Essex countryside, but life felt claustrophobic. I had an overwhelming desire to be outside, which meant that from about 10 years old onwards, I dragged my mattress onto the balcony and slept there as often as I could.
I hated school, I wanted to learn but just couldn’t do it. There was probably no hope for me until the geography teacher took us to the Brecon Beacons on what I realise now was most likely a ‘last chance’ trip. I loved it. The most defining moment in my early life was sitting on the doorstep of the Merthyr Tydfil youth hostel, peeling spuds into a bucket after a long day in the hills, and realising that I had never felt so alive.
Click the link below, to read the full interview…