Search - List of Books by Mike Tomkies
Mike Tomkies The Wilderness Man (born May 25, 1928), is a British nature writer, naturalist and filmmaker who has inspired thousands with his brutally honest accounts of almost 40 years experience living in the wildest and most remote parts of Canada, Scotland and Spain.
Total Books: 41
Born in 1927, he grew up to serve in the Coldstream Guards where he competed as an army athlete and saw active service in Palestine. He went on to work as a newspaper reporter and was also a successful amateur cycle racer.
An attempt to sail around the world in 1952 ended with him being shipwrecked and having to walk 400 miles from Lisbon to Madrid.
He found his way to journalism jobs in Fleet Street and Hollywood where he interviewed stars including Ava Gardner (just after her divorce from Frank Sinatra); Mario Lanza, Elvis Presley, Sophia Loren, Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Yul Brynner, Clark Gable, Dean Martin, Rock Hudson, Jayne Mansfield, Cary Grant, Paul Newman, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Collins, Peter O'Toole and Sean Connery.
At 38 he decided to start a new life in Canada, setting out virtually penniless in an old milk truck to build a log cabin on the Canadian Pacific coast. Over his time in Canada he worked as a logger, assistant blaster and sea salmon fisherman but spent most of his time living alone and surviving mainly off the sea. This was where he began his wildlife studies tracking grizzly bears, cougars, caribou, bald eagles and killer whales, which over three years developed into the book Alone In The Wilderness, which was snapped up by Reader's Digest and became a critically acclaimed best seller.
Heading back south to Hollywood Tomkies picked up the celebrity side of his life again socialising with stars like John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Sammy Davis Jr and Steve McQueen; during this time he was also offered a screen test by Doris Day, however, the wild kept calling and eventually he returned to the UK and moved to Eilean Shona, a remote island off the west coast of Scotland. There he rebuilt a wooden crofthouse which had been used as a shelter for sheep and began observing and writing about Scottish nature including golden eagle, black throated diver, pine marten and Scottish wildcat.
The studies and writing continued at a small crofter's hut called Gaskan on the shore of Loch Shiel, which Tomkies named "Wildernesse", and where he cared for a variety of injured animals, tracked and studied golden eagles over a 300 sqare mile area for the government and was the first person to successfully breed the now critically endangered Scottish wildcat and return individuals to the wild.
Over 20 years and 3000 hours of wildlife watching, often over 38 hour sessions in home made hides, Tomkies revealed Scotland's nature to widespread acclaim from critics and even the Duke of Edinburgh;
"This book does more than describe a piece of wild country and its population of wild animals: it gives a picture of someone totally absorbed by his subject."
For eight years, Tomkies' only companion was his german shepherd dog, Moobli who assisted him in his wildlife tracking. Shortly after Moobli died Tomkies decided to move on to Spain and spent five years in mountain ranges throughout the country filming brown bear, lymx, wolf, wild boar, vultures and eagles working out of a crumbling old villa with no glass in the windows or running water.
A keen interest in filmmaking also developed throughout the experiences in Scotland and Spain, beginning with mountainous slogs carrying 60lb of 16mm camera equipment, all the way up to modern miniDV cameras, Tomkies recorded more than ten feature length films on Scotland's wildlife with a focus on the golden eagle.
Today, Tomkies lives in southern England and is still writing books. He appeared in the documentary film Last of the Scottish Wildcats (Coffee Films 2006) and became the patron for a new charity, the Scottish Wildcat Association in 2009. Tomkies says his latest book, and first fictional novel, will be his last.