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Why Outsiders?

Our founder Tim on why we're the book club for Outsiders.



During the early years of the last century, the now-iconic mountain writer Nan Shepherd was a teacher in a rigidly prescribed Aberdeen community. A place where even a girl dancing with her hair un-braided could provoke gossip and scandal!


And yet, Shepherd described her job as an attempt to...


 'prevent at least few of the students from conforming to the approved pattern'.


What a spirit!



I had been mulling over our odd little community, banded together by a love of good books and the great outdoors.


Who are we?


One thing is for sure; this is not the norm.


We do not conform to the approved pattern.



Despite the increasing appearance of fleece and puffa jackets on the high street and a welcome surge in numbers playing out, how many of the 700,000 who climbed Snowdon last year went on to wonder why it feels so good? Or, what it all means?


And of those, how many sought the answers in that most antiquated source, a book?



Pondering this has led me to stop describing Adventurous Ink as 'the Book Club for Outdoor Folk' because we are not for all outdoor folk. Only a select number. Only the Outsiders.


There is a beautiful simplicity in our leisure choices and their ability to remove us from the call of the modern world.


We, strange few, allow ourselves to revel not just in the wonder of the natural world but in the unfolding of a story, rich in context, character and narrative arc.



Storytelling is one of our species' greatest strengths, facilitating the flow of knowledge from generation to generation.


We evolved in harmony with stories that now lie shattered around us. A million distracting, inconsistent, shards of narrative scattered across minds and media.


Is it any wonder we reel in confusion?



There is a wonderful line in Jeffrey Bowman's book The Outsiders, where he reflects that:


'Urbanites are starting to develop an independence from their dependence on the modern-day.'


I really like that idea, 'independence from our dependence', like we're all part of a gentle insurgence against conforming.


If you feel like an Outsider sometimes, then welcome to the club!


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