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Blue Planet cameraman Simon King: 'I don't worry about getting old ... every day we learn more'

Simon King OBE

Travelling man: Simon King on Bishops Road near Downhill, Co Antrim
Travelling man: Simon King on Bishops Road near Downhill, Co Antrim

The 56-year-old naturalist, broadcaster and author has been creating natural history films for more than 30 years, including as cameraman on The Blue Planet. The BAFTA and Emmy Award winner travelled from his home in Cumbria last week to congratulate the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and partners for their environmental project, Don't Mow, Let It Grow

Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

I do, although it's a mixture of my career choice and exercise choice. I do a lot of cardio, whether that's over a great distance to reach the perfect spot to set up for filming, or trekking hills while carrying heavy camera equipment. So I use the gym to strengthen my core and my stamina with resistance weights.

What's the worst illness you've ever had?

Thankfully nothing which took me out of action for very long, but several intestine, stomach and digestive issues including helicobacter (a bacterial infection) - again thanks to my job and often eating at irregular times and climates that my body hasn't adjusted to.

How healthy is your diet?

Well, I love Mexican and Italian food and any food containing coriander or black beans - they give both good taste and good health.

I'm referred to as a vegetarian but strictly speaking I'm a conscientious omnivore.

The food cycle is part of nature, but the key word is natural. In other words, not factory farmed. I eat very, very little meat or fish, perhaps only a few times a year, because of strict ethical standards making it difficult to find food which hasn't been stuffed with grain instead of grass, for example. Factory farmed animals live in unnatural conditions and have little nutritional benefit for us, while polluting the air, land and water.

Any bad habits?

When I was younger, I would have challenged and questioned topics and opinions. I wasn't argumentative, I just pushed back perhaps too quickly. With maturity I try to listen more and hear the various points of view, to create a common solution everyone can work towards.

Do you drink and/or smoke?

No, neither. I am sociable, but I only need the good company of family and friends to have a good time.

With orphaned cheetah brothers on Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
With orphaned cheetah brothers on Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

Do you take any health supplements?

Nothing artificial or tablet based, but I do carry and take the occasional natural protein supplement to compensate for the lack of meat and fish in my diet.

How do you take time out?

I relax by playing the guitar or bodhran and I carry a tin whistle with me on my travels.

How well do you sleep?

Mostly very well and I can power nap in mostly any position or location, for even just a few minutes and feel refreshed.

Mind you, I filmed in the Arctic, sleeping under canvas in minus 30 degrees and no amount of extra layers will prevent feet from being cold.

Sleep didn't come quite so easily.

Do you worry about getting old?

Not at all, what's the point? Every day we learn more. If there is such a thing as wisdom, it only comes with time.

We are the only creature that even considers ageing, it's not on the other creatures' radar, they are too busy making every second of every day count.

Even the Mayfly which has been an egg, larva and pupa but only gets a few days as an adult - they make it count.

What is your go to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

The mixture of food, lifestyle, respect for nature, my job, my family, all contributes to feeling healthy, but I try to always make time for the gym weights, as it helps build resilience.

Simon visited Portstewart, Ballymoney and the Causeway Coast on his visit. He congratulated the Don't Mow, Let It Grow project on changing mindsets towards grassland, meadows and verges

Belfast Telegraph


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