National Geographic Magazine

...a few (non-cycling) stories I've written for National Geographic
Before Stonehenge: The Ness of Brodgar

Before Stonehenge: The Ness of Brodgar

  One long ago summer around the year 3200BC, the farmers and herdsmen on Scotland's remote Orkney islands decided to build something big. They had Stone Age technology, but their vision
was millennia ahead of their time. Their tools might have been stone age...

The Ghost Ship of Filey Bay

The Ghost Ship of Filey Bay

It was supposed to have been a straightforward salvage job, or at least as straightforward as these sorts of things are in the difficult, moody waters of the North Sea.  A trawlerman known as “Killer” Cox had snagged his net on something in about eighty feet of water...

The Diamond Shipwreck

The Diamond Shipwreck

History rarely unfolds like a fable. But consider this: A 16th century Portuguese trading vessel, carrying a fortune in gold and ivory ad bound for a famed spice port on the coast of India is blown far off course by a fierce storm while trying to round the southern...

Manor House Station to Gibson Square

Manor House Station to Gibson Square

Steve Scotland had better reason than most for thinking he knew London like the back of his hand. Not only was he a native Londoner, born and bred, but he’d spent years working as a chauffeur in the city, driving his passengers wherever they wanted to go, finding the...

The Real Pirates of the Caribbean

The Real Pirates of the Caribbean

On a sweltering afternoon in June of 1719, the Princess, a 140-ton ship out of London, was sitting at anchor off  Anomabu, a steamy West African slave port, waiting to take on a load of slaves for the plantations in the West Indies, when a strange vessel materialized...

Vlad the Impaler: The Real Dracula

Vlad the Impaler: The Real Dracula

Romanian folklore tells of a golden chalice that once upon a time sat beside a spring along the lonely road into Târgoviste, a market town which was the capital in those days of the mediaeval principality of Wallachia. This cup had been placed there by the local...