Neil was born in Scotland and has lived there most of his life. Based in Perthshire, he has been a full-time writer since 1988, working on more than 80 guidebooks for various publishers, including the Lonely Planet guides to Scotland, England, Ireland and Prague. An outdoors enthusiast since childhood, Neil is an active hill-walker, mountain-biker, sailor, snowboarder, fly-fisher and rock-climber, and has climbed and tramped in four continents, including ascents of Jebel Toubkal in Morocco, Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, the Old Man of Hoy in Scotland's Orkney Islands and the Northwest Face of Half Dome in California's Yosemite Valley.
Like most Lonely Planet authors, Neil fell into the guidebook-writing business by accident. Having fled the rat race of the oil industry soon after graduating as a geologist, he returned to university to do postgraduate research. But academia turned out to be just as dull as industry, so like any sane person he gave it all up to be a penniless writer. The penniless bit was easy. On the writing side, he began by producing articles for a Scottish magazine, but was soon off to photograph Corfu for a guidebook. Since then Neil has written and photographed dozens of guidebooks for several publishers, including HarperCollins, AA Publishing, Berlitz and Lonely Planet.
Outdoor activities in Scotland
Scotland, Ireland, Turkey, Denmark, French Pyrenees