to a rented house near Lake Windermere in the English Lake District
in the autumn of 1954, and then to our home for the next twelve years
in 1955. The experience of living during the years between twelve and
twenty-five in one of the most beautiful and inspiring parts of Britain
has had an enormous influence on me.
not just the landscape, particularly around our house near Hawkshead
where Wordsworth was educated, and which inspired some of his greatest
poetry. But having a room of my own, gradually developing my passion
for fishing and walking, the influence of my grandparents and sisters,
these among other things shaped me further.
I do not need to go into any further detail since I have written a book
on Lakeland Life based on contemporary materials and covering
what I thought, felt and did during those years. Although I made trips
away and was away for terms first at my boarding school and later at
Oxford, our Lakeland house was basically my 'home' over these years.
It was there that I developed many of my attitudes and work methods
and was inspired to love mountains, streams and lakes.
my life at Field Head in the Lake District as a boy playing with miniaturized
toys, soldiers, toy trains, farm animals, Meccano and Minibricks. Through
these five years I moved up to almost adult scale - a motorbike, guitar,
my own tape-recorder. I started with a scorn for girls and ended up
with my first kisses, mixed parties and first minor love affair. I started
entirely dependent on my parents for money, and ended up with my first
obsessed with fishing and loved walking. I started a pop group and with
my sister took avidly to the new music and cultural scene. My wrestling
with new emotions and new ideas became explicit and the gradual separation
between my head and my heart was a central theme as I went through my
period of most spiritual intensity. By the end I was almost free of
my family; I went to Norway to work on a ship and to a local bakery
to earn money. I chose my girlfriends, raced off on my motorbike and
bought my own sailing boat.
me to the age of eighteen, when I went to Oxford University. Over the
next six years I would usually spend part of each holiday at Field Head,
though gradually the Lakes become less important. Yet it became very
important again during the last year of my doctorate which I spent writing
my thesis in a garden shed behind the house in 1965-6. Again I came
to explore the mountains and lakes and to develop many of my research
methods. This period is described towards the end of Oxford Postgraduate.
ended when my parents sold the house in 1969 while I was away in Nepal.
But they bought a small house not far away in Dent in the Yorkshire
Dales. To this my first wife Gill and I returned and lived for about
twenty months while I wrote up my Nepalese anthropological fieldwork.