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The End of the Less Travelled Roads

AS many of you will know by now the BBC is launching a new Scottish channel later this month and after a great deal of thought I've decided this is a good moment to 'retire' from television.

I've been making television programmes, on and off, for about 25 years or so with my good friend and colleague Richard Else. We started our working relationship in 1993 when we began planning The Edge - 100 Years of Scottish Mountaineering.

Two 6-part series of Wilderness Walks followed that, all on BBC2.

For the past twelve years I've been associated with The Adventure Show. We began making Adventure Show specials and for the past eleven years we've produced a couple of hour-long programmes that have been broadcast during Christmas week. Latterly they were known as Roads Less Travelled and featured me doodling around Scotland in my wee red campervan.

To my eternal surprise these shows have been phenomenally successful with excellent viewing figures and audience share and I believe the last programmes, Roads Less Travelled - Scotland's Atlantic Way, had the highest figures of all. So I've decided to finish on a high note rather than wait for me to become increasingly doddery with decreasing viewing figures.

With the big 70 just around the corner there are loads of things I still want to do and it will be nice to have my summers to myself again. I should point out that The Adventure Show will be continuing on the new BBC Scotland channel in the capable hands of Richard and Meg Else and I wish them ongoing success with that.

I now want to concentrate more on my writing, particularly as my recent autobiography, There's Always the Hills, has done so well. In addition to more books I'm still writing regularly for the Scots Magazine, The Great Outdoors, Walk Highlands and Campervan Magazine. And of course I'm still putting together Scottish Walks and Scottish Cycling so my life will be no less busy.

And I desperately want more time to spend on the hills!

I'm not finishing with the camera completely though. I want to build up a portfolio of my own Scottish videos that I can share on this website and Richard and I will be making a series of videos for other organisations, all outdoor related. News of the first of those soon.

So for the moment I'd like to sincerely thank all of you for being so encouraging and supportive over the years. It's been a real joy working with the camera operators and everyone else involved in the television programmes. It's been great fun.

And we couldn't have done it without you, the viewers. Many, many thanks.

But for the moment, and for a good few more years I hope, there's always the hills...

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