Adventurer trying to live in Scottish wilderness found dead

Published on Saturday 21 January 2012 12:35

A MAN found dead in a remote bothy is thought to have been an adventurer who hoped to spend a year living alone in the Scottish wilderness.David Austin, 29, from Derby, was found dead in a hut by a railway worker a mile south of one of Scotland’s most remote stations, Rannoch in Highland Perthshire, on Hogmanay.His body is believed to have been lying there for several weeks when it was discovered, and a post-mortem examination found there were no suspicious circumstances behind his death. Mr Austin is thought to have told family in November that he was heading to the Highlands to live out his dream of surviving in the wilderness. He planned to live rough on a year-long adventure, using techniques like those used by adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls, despite being urged to reconsider by family and friends. He is understood to have attended several courses in outdoor survival and bushcraft skills over the past couple of years with a view to realising a long-held dream of living alone in the wild.Mr Austin is thought to not even have taken a mobile phone with him. A number of personal possessions including a knife and a daily journal were found next to his body. It is believed he may have died of hypothermia.

After leaving Derby, Mr Austin is thought to have travelled to Glasgow and then on to Corrour – which is the UK’s highest mainline station – on the West Highland line. He is then believed to have spent his 29th birthday on 3 December alone outdoors, in the first heavy snowfall of the season. His body was found in a remote bothy used by track inspection workers.A British Transport Police spokesman confirmed the man had been identified as a 29-year-old man from the east Midlands, and that there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances.

Rannoch is an isolated north-west section of Highland Perthshire between the A9 to the east and the A82 to the west, featuring the famous West Highland Railway line that crosses more than 23 miles of moorland. Survival school instructor Ian Moran, who teaches extreme survival and bushcraft skills, said that it was extremely unlikely anybody could survive a Highland winter outdoors by living off the land. He said: “It would be a tall order for even the most professional person who calls himself a survivalist. “Maybe centuries ago, when Scotland was covered in woodland and teeming with wildlife, but not now.”


I have many thoughts about this but its hard to put in to words – that urge to go wild, to live in nature, love nature, be nature. When its cold though you need calories and good shelter.

Sad for his family, but I’m sure he was having a great time mostly.


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