Inside A Mountain is my new podcast which takes its name from nature writer Nan Shepherd’s haunting phrase that ‘a mountain has an inside’. In other words, walking isn’t to accumulate miles or conquer peaks, but to experience the transformative power of moving through real and imaginary space. Using soundscape and music, I take contemplative walks with musicians, artists, writers and scientists.
Going underground: seeking London’s lost rivers with Tom Chivers, author of London Clay
The writer Tom Chivers has written a powerful, mesmerising book, London Clay, in which he seeks the lost rivers which lie below ground. Part geographical, part historical and part poetical, this is a book which makes us see the geology of London with completely different eyes. Tom and Charlie descend 7 metres underground to find a Roman temple and go mudlarking for treasure.
Tom Chivers mudlarking for treasure. The ancient Roman Temple of Mithras, 7 metres underground
Strange loops and walking as thinking, with mathematician Marcus du Sautoy
Marcus du Sautoy, Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford, has the kind of imagination which draws on complex mathematics, music, science and literature simultaneously. On this walk through a North London park, Marcus and Charlie cover both literal and imaginative ground – and one of them gets lost in the marshes.
Marcus finding his “tree of the day” and, later, working out a mathematical problem on one of his beloved yellow pads
Walking the Jurassic coastline with international cellist Natalie Clein
The acclaimed cellist Natalie Clein talks about her music and explains what creativity means to her. Returning to her childhood home on the Dorset coast, she walks with Charlie and they find a tent of trees in the woods.
Bloch, Ligeti & Dallapiccola: Suites for Solo Cello, Hyperion Records
Cello: Natalie Clein
Rebecca Clarke: Viola Sonata, Hyperion Records
Cello: Natalie Clein Piano: Christian Ihle Hadland
Tracing the footsteps of Ivor Gurney with Kate Kennedy
The third episode is set in the meadows of Gloucestershire. Kate Kennedy, author of a superb new book about the poet and composer Ivor Gurney, talks about his life as we explore the landscape around the village of Framilode.
Walking the South Devon coastline with artist Anna Koska
For this second episode, I take a walk along the South Devon coastline with botanical artist and illustrator Anna Koska. Anna grows and forages for much of her family’s food and she paints most of what she grows. She’s illustrated more than 100 books and has been commissioned by chefs to create large-scale paintings for their restaurants.
Landscape of the Imagination: Sally Bayley
For this first episode, the writer Sally Bayley and I return to the seaside town of her childhood. Her household of 12 children and 3 adults was deprived and chaotic. But with her love of literature and the power of her imagination, she walked her way into a new life.