Literature Review – My Outdoor Life by Ray Mears

Ray Mears - My Outdoor Life

Ray Mears – My Outdoor Life

As many of you will know I normally write reviews of archery related books, but this was a birthday gift and since Ray Mears is well known for being an outdoors enthusiast I thought I would include his book here. Some of you the UK readers may have caught his recent TV series exploring France’s wilder parts. Anyway I hope no one objects to me including it here.
The copy of the book I have is over 350 pages, a paperback published by Hodder & Stoughton ( for those interested the ISBN 978-1-444-77821-2
It covers his life from early childhood and the development of his desire to learn about woodland skills, to his involvement with television and his numerous expeditions taking him to the four corners of the globe. I wonder how many passports he’s gone through in his time?
Included in the book is his account of a helicopter crash that nearly cost his life along with members of his film crew. I can’t help but think how lucky they were to survive.
This wasn’t the first book by him I’ve read, that being The Real Heroes of Telemark, which if you have a chance I would highly recommend.
I found this book a very easy and engaging read, written in a manner that encourages you to imagine him talking to you, possibly reminiscing on past adventures and trips, over a shared campfire. I feel it gives a far greater insight into the man who many will know from his television series or bushcraft books. It goes some way to exploring what has shaped his life, from early judo lessons, on to the expeditions in Africa, all providing a greater level of detail than I was expecting. It is a very brave person who can open themselves up and discuss their feelings and beliefs in this way, being both honest and open, whilst not fishing for compliments or favour. I feel this is very apparent where he writes of the loss of his first wife and the turmoil that engulfed him.

Ray Mears inside the book

Ray Mears inside the book

One thing I found of interest was his analysis of how TV documentary makers have changed from when he started and now. How they afford less time to expeditions, expecting filming to be completed in far less time than in the past. Maybe this explains why some modern documentaries feel as though they are lacking in depth. Could this be a reflection of the speed we now are forced to live our lives at. Expecting fast facts and data?
Overall I’ve enjoyed the book and have little doubt that I won’t reread it from time to time.
To give it a rating almost feels wrong as though rating the man and his achievements which I am sure are not yet ended. In fact he has just completed a new series on UK television. For that very reason I’m going to give a 9/10 as I’m sure he’s got more stories and adventures to come.
Thanks for reading

Aiming for the fish’s eye

No I’m not talking about bow fishing, it is a quote from a book that came to mind after reading a recent archery article on the web.

A link to the artilce was posted on the Infinite Curve blog site If you have the chance read the post and follow the link to the full site

As I said the article reminded me about I book I read over 20 years ago “The man who never missed” by Steve Perry. Its the first in a trilogy of books.

original book cover

original book cover

New book cover

New book cover

The story revolves around the main character Emile Khadaji and his mission to overthrow an evil galactic Confederation read empire. He masters a variety of skills including martial arts, bar tending, economic, smuggling etc, but one skill becoming a marksmanship in an exotic dart gun called a Spetsdōd.

Whilst being taught to shoot it he is told the story of the 3 archers at a competition run by the local lord. The 3 archers had been matched all the way through and were eventually pitted in a head to head round. As an alternate  target the lord placed a fish on the target boss.

After the final round the ruler asked the 3 archer what they had aimed for. The first archer said they aimed at the fish, the second said they aimed for the middle of the fish, the final archer when asked what they aimed for said they had aimed for the fish’s eye.

Well, you can guess who won.

The moral of the story being you only get as accurate as you try to be.

Reminds me of another sayings you hear from time to time.

“That was a lucky shot.”

“Yes it seems the more I practise the luckier I get with my shots.”

As always thanks for reading.