REVIEW: The Accidental Naturalist

Ben Fogle book cover'Bookmark, Sp'05/09/12
Ben Fogle book cover'Bookmark, Sp'05/09/12

“Look at this turtle! – I have caught this turtle with my bare hands!” The man “puffed with pride and excitement” and standing in front of a BBC film crew in the wilds of the Nile had actually caught a crocodile.

Despite this early mishap as a wildlife presenter and ringing true his claim of being ‘The Accidental Naturalist’, Ben Fogle was destined for a life with animals.

Although you may be more accustomed to seeing him rowing naked across the Atlantic Ocean or running barefoot across the Sahara Dessert, he once had aspirations of following in his father’s footsteps in becoming a vet.

A couple of failed A-levels put paid of any hopes of this. In his latest book he says it was his dogged determination, fighting against all odds and some remarkable events and encounters that helped him achieve his lifelong dream to become a “sort of naturalist” anyway.

In ‘The Accidental Adventurer’ we saw a documented outline of a man’s struggle against the elements.

But in ‘The Accidental Naturalist’ we see a more passionate Ben when he speaks of the adventures that have helped make him a household name.

Whereas many of his experiences may seem beyond the reach of the majority of his admirers, many readers will find empathy when he shares heartbreaking loss of his treasured black labrador Inca.

Inca was his “luxury item” when the nation first clutched Ben to its bosom on the BBC’s reality show Castaway and in spite of never setting out to have a career in the media he says having a “cute puppy” with him certainly helped.

So began the animal association and soon Ben was tickling trout on Countryfile and grooming llamas on Animal Park.

James Caborn