Charles William “Carlos” Thurlow Craig - A Source Of My Bushcraft Inspiration
Written by Phil Brown, Badger Bushcraft Saturday, 05 February 2011 09:40
As I get older the people that have inspired me to follow a career in outdoor education have somehow become more important and dwell at the forefront of my mind in quiet times. An individual who is at the cornerstone of this passion is Charles William “Carlos” Thurlow Craig.
I was fortunate to have been encouraged to have a love of nature and the landscape we live in by my parents; we would spend much of our weekends walking in the Kent countryside near our home in the village of Weald near Sevenoaks where we explored woodlands, fields, hills, streams, rivers, et al come rain or shine. Our holidays were always in the United Kingdom and I was fortunate to have seen some of the remote and wild places that we still have in this modern world. Favourite destinations were the beautifully isolated parts of both the isles and mainland West Coast of Scotland and the Welsh Hills.
I have always found it a privilege to be in The Nature and to share the experiences of the magical events that are on offer if we manage to slow the pace down somewhat and take the time to use all of our senses to encounter the wonders that are freely available to us all and as a child there was always gentle encouragement from both my mother and father to learn more about the miracles of the natural world and for this I wholeheartedly thank them.
As I have written elsewhere in the Books section of the Badger Bushcraft Blog I was fortunate to have met Charles William "Carlos" Thurlow Craig and his wife Anne whilst on a family holiday in August 1981; I was eleven years old at the time.
Carlos wrote for the Sunday Express as their nature correspondent for some 28 years; the first of his “Up Country” articles “My lodger, the friendly owl…” was published on June 2nd 1957 and then again on September 15th 1985 as a tribute upon his sad demise at the age of 83.
I feel exceptionally privileged to have met Carlos and Anne during my formative years and my thoughts often wander to the times we shared in their stone built cottage in a remote area of the Welsh Hills. It is difficult to describe Carlos as a person and something I would feel uncomfortable to attempt; suffice to say that I cherish the memories of this truly amazing gentleman and feel remarkably blessed to have spent some time in his company.
My parents recently presented me with a photograph album of pictures from our visits and news cuttings from the Sunday Express. Despite the passing of some thirty years the memories are vivid and treasured with the pictures providing a wonderful memento.
The pictures I have featured below are scans of the orignals 35mm photographs:-
The legacy of his books are a source of constant inspiration and I have read “Up Country Yearbook” many times, the last occasion I shared these “wondrous tales of the wildlife, changing seasons and Welsh farm life chronicled by Carlos” with my young son who enjoyed them as much as I did when I was his age. We are now looking forward to reading “A Countryman’s Year” offering many similar delights as described in the blurb:-
“This book brings together articles from the last five years of Thurlow Craig’s life, edited to form a coherent picture of his life over a single year. His deep love of nature, of all creatures wild and domestic, and of the simple but rich life he led with his wife in their stone-built house, make a spell binding story. In our technological, urbanised world, Thurlow Craig’s evocative prose takes us back to our roots and reminds us that we are in essence a part of the great cycle of the earth whose pulse he felt so strongly.
For all those who miss that weekly column in their Sunday paper, and for all who delight in the simple country life, this enchanting book is pure magic.”
I am delighted to say that for those wishing to reacquaint themselves with the writings of Charles William “Carlos” Thurlow Craig or those wishing to discover his works for the first time will be pleased to find that many of his books are available on Amazon.
All of his books are a source of inspiration for me and I count myself fortunate to be in the most privileged of positions where I can recall with fondness the gentleman author of the written words contained therein.
Paul again here from Australia I just wanted you to know I appreciate you sharing some personnel photographs with us and I see your admiration for Thurlow was as great as mine was
For a young boy living in inner-city Liverpool his articles were a shot in the arm for people like myself never getting as close as him to the paradise he lived and was reflected in his writings that so many people loved especially people such as me who craved his lifestyle and one day hope to emulate great work on this page mate
This man deserves much more recognition that he has so far received in literary and historical circles.
I am sorry never to have met him personally, although I feel I know him well.
We will not see his like again. . .
You're right, he was an amazing person and I was privileged to have had so many holidays with them. I met Ann there, and the dogs! Meeting up with her again this year, on Carlos's birthday was a real 'do you remember...' time.
His book 'Animal affinities with Man' was way ahead of its time; behavioural scientists are only just begiining to come to the same conclusions.
"Nice read Phil. I suppose we all have an inspirational person in our lives or in some cases a few . I suppose it was our horticulture teacher at school as we had a working farm unit and Richard Maybe to name just two of the many from all walks of life"
"Very nice read. Enjoyed it."
"My first inspiration came from my dad's very battered copy of Ernest Thompson Seton's Book of Woodcraft & Indian Lore. Great that you have the connection to pass to your son, I hope he shares your passion as he grows older."