Spring has well and truly arrived, bringing with it a thirst for adventure, longer days and sumptuous sunsets. Continuing with our Time & Tide series, we explore open landscapes, the need for slowing down and morning coffee rituals with Millican’s Creative Director, from his base: a small farm in the Lake District.
What drew you to living and working in the Lake District?
I’d just spent 18 months living in the mountains of Norway, so when I returned I knew I had to find somewhere that offered me the same kind of lifestyle; connected to nature and with an open landscape to explore. I was really fortunate that the job at Millican came on my path, it’s the ideal set-up, in the North Lakes, based on a small farm just outside of Keswick at the foot of Skiddaw – the best office views in the world. I do consider myself to be really lucky that I can continue my creative career for a brand that is tune with my way of thinking, based in a place that suits my lifestyle and outlook.
How much of your outlook on life - both work and play - is inspired by this kind of lifestyle?
All of it. It’s a very close relationship where work and play influence each other and that shapes my view of life as a whole. The work I do can be pretty intense on the one hand and then other times i need space to think and breathe. With the landscape around me I’m able to find an outlet when I want to get lost in my own world without phone signal and vast openness ahead, or thrash out a punishing ride to exercise the stress away. My lifestyle and I guess my outlook is about finding balance, and I’m able to clearly define that where I live, I’m able to go from office to mountain top in the same day.
Photos by Jim Marsden
What’s the first thing you do if you’ve been away from home?
Slow down. Breathe and get the bike out! Driving into Keswick from the A66 is my favourite part of the return home, your mind-set changes and you tune into the mountain waves. Then I will get the bike out and blast through some of the valleys, the fastest way to be immersed in the landscape, cutting right into the heart of things. I also like to get back to my garden and my new morning ritual of coffee on the bench now Spring is here.
What/where is your ultimate escape here? Why is it so special to you?
It’s super difficult to name just one spot, being out on the bike is the ultimate fast escape. My favourite valleys to ride through are Newlands and Honistor. They are really incredible valleys, with a real sense of remoteness. You can also go up many of the fells and mountains (Haystacks, Fleetwith Pike, Cat Bells) from here too, which makes them passing through on foot or bike equally as rad. The whole area in general is pretty special, every path leads somewhere pretty amazing.
To anyone travelling to the Lakes, what would you say they shouldn’t miss?
Their phone, leave it in your bag and only get it out incase of emergency! I’d say you should use it as a real escape and a chance to disconnect. You don’t have to go up high to find some amazing places. Borrowdale valley, which is just a 10 minuet drive from Keswick, has interesting caves, rivers, waterfalls and forests all within a few mile walk. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous and like a challenging hike, then Hellvellyn’s Striding Edge is one to have a go at.