Okay, I confess, I have been a little vocal with my excitement over attending the Living North Awards this week, and over my shortlisting in the ‘promise and potential’ category. I have mentioned the awards quite a few times on this blog and now, having attended the ceremony on Saturday, I am going to mention it once again, for the final time.

The ceremony, held in Newcastle’s St. Nicholas Cathedral, was exquisite. Far surpassing anything this humble nature lover has attended before. And it was both dumbfounding and amazingly gratifying to find myself in the company of so many wonderful, accomplished people. From those committing to outstanding feats of charity to those who manage some of regions most iconic tourist attractions. Everyone in attendance had done something wonderful, for other people or the region itself, and to say I felt out of place would be a whopping understatement. Truthfully, the event was phenomenal: flowing drinks, live music, and amazing food. Indeed, two days later and I still find unable to move courtesy of the sheer amount of venison, pheasant, scallops, pate and champagne I wolfed down during the night. Best to make the most of it though, eh?

On a serious note, however, being nominated and, better still, shortlisted in this category has done wonders for my self-esteem. And while I did not win – the winner, Brandon Bailey, deserves every second in the limelight – it was extremely rewarding to find myself in such company due to my passion for the outdoors. Being praised for doing something you love is a real pleasure, and I am very grateful to Living North for a much needed confidence boost at time when I had begun to doubt my myself and my capabilities ever so slightly. I now feel motivated, perhaps more so than ever before, to double my efforts and solider on with my writing and, more importantly, more desire to do something meaningful for British wildlife. It really is amazing what a pat on the back can do for you from time to time.

Congratulations are definitely in order to Northumberland National Park, for taking home the award for ‘Contribution to the North-East’ and to my partner for making regular forays to the gin bar as I sat and fan-girling over the various award winners.

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