Neil was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but defected to the east at the age of 18 and lived in Edinburgh for over 30 years. He now lives in Perthshire. (contact details).






Like almost every other Lonely Planet author he knows, Neil fell into the guidebook-writing business by accident. Having fled the rat race of the oil industry only four years after graduating as a geologist, he returned to university to do postgraduate research. But academia turned out to be just as dull and constricting as industry, so like any sane person he decided to give it all up to be a penniless freelance writer.

The penniless bit was easy. On the writing side, Neil got a foot in the door producing articles on history and culture for Scottish Field magazine, while still homeless and sleeping on a friend's settee. The friend's flatmate just happened to be an editor with a guidebook publisher in Glasgow. Neil submitted a portfolio of his travel photos and next thing he knew he was off to photograph Corfu for a guidebook.

That was 1988; since then Neil has written and photographed more than 80 guidebooks for a range of publishers. He has authored or co-authored around 50 guides for Lonely Planet, specialising in the UK and Ireland (mainly the Edinburgh, Scotland, and Ireland guidebooks) Eastern Europe (mainly the Prague and Czech & Slovak Republics guidebooks) and the Med (Malta and Corsica guidebooks), and has also worked on the first editions of the Lonely Planet guides to Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan and Brittany.

In addition to travel guides, Neil has written several non-fiction books, including Ordnance Survey Pathfinder walking guides, Great Sea Disasters and the SAS Guide to Tracking & Navigation (but no, he was never in the SAS!), contributed a series of articles on geology and geography to school textbooks and encyclopedias, had articles published in various newspapers and magazines, and created content for a range of websites.

Neil has been an outdoors enthusiast since childhood and is still an active hill-walker, mountain-biker, sailor, snowboarder, canoeist, fly fisherman and rock-climber. He has climbed and tramped in four continents, including ascents of Jebel Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Mount Kinabalu in northern Borneo, the Old Man of Hoy in Scotland's Orkney Islands and the Northwest Face of Half Dome in California's Yosemite Valley.


Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, California

Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, California