Will Copestake is an adventurer wise beyond his years and his trip history is as inspiring as his storytelling is engaging. Needless to say, this is one of our favourite ever interviews.

Hi Will, it's great to talk to you. Could we start at the beginning? How did you come onto the adventure scene?

I was fortunate that with my upbringing on the North west coast of Scotland, a wild land was always upon my doorstep. I owe a lot to my parents who gave the gift of trust, by allowing me to explore under careful guidance they allowed me to test and learn my own assessment of risk.

This gave me the tools to venture out further and further away on my own as I grew older. The first 'true adventure' that I can easily recall was one where my parents sailed myself and two friends to the far side of the loch in-front of our house and left us 'cast away' for the night. We would have been about 12.

We hoped to build shelters, scavenge food from the wild and live in Ray Mears style. Unfortunately we built our huts from brushwood but on an ant nest (so pitched the emergency tent) and the food we gathered was limited to a handful of limpets and some wood sorrel (so broke into the emergency food box).

We did succeed in starting a fire, and to celebrate jumped in the sea wearing all our clothes, then again in our spare clothes! By the time we were picked up in the morning we had failed all of our initial objectives, but that didn't matter for it was still an adventure!

This is something I've always valued. Success through failure is still success. Since then I have travelled to New Zealand, Iceland, Patagonia and much of Europe, exploring in various expeditions and adventures along the way.

And are you more of a planner now, or do you go with the flow?

I start with an idea, then develop that into a route. Once I have a route I look at distance, work out a timespan then research my required budget. I look at the gear I need, and how to prepare for any expected 'unexpecteds' (gear failure, injury, weather changes, etc) and how best I can get out if these are serious.

From there I commit, tell my friends (then you have to do it!) and go!

That sounds like a pretty good balance between planning and spontaneity! Which of your adventures have been most life changing?

Without doubt the most life changing adventure I have experienced to date was my 364 day long solo circumnavigation of the Scottish coast by kayak and winter round of the 282 Munro mountains via a bicycle. To embark on an inconceivably ambitious journey without leaving my home country was a conscious choice, I wanted to discover my local landscape and truly experience my countries culture, but also prove to myself that I needn't stray far for adventure.

That sounds incredible!

That year was the hardest, most rewarding experience of my life. I had days of pure clarity and serenity, paddling alone on a reflected sun and there were days that broke me in mind and body across the harsh winter alone in the mountains.

Now I can't travel across my homeland and not see the memories stored in the peaks and coast that I once explored in a manner so different to my now-normal routine. I am constantly reminded of the harshness and happiness adventure can bring and will always have that.

I know now what breaks me (relentless rain on a wet sleeping bag normally) and what makes me. Adventure has given me the confidence to pursue whatever my interest turns to with less fear of failure and more drive to succeed.

Some good lessons then! What about camping memories?

Having spent many nights under canvas the good and bad days tend to merge a bit in collective memory. My best camping memories are more often than not those on top of summits or on remote desolate beaches. In recent years it would be those close to the crumbling faces of glaciers (but far enough to be safe).

The sound of ice falling in the night will always be spectacular from a sleeping bag.

What about not so good memories?!

My worst would be those weeks on end during the Scottish Munro journey where I just couldn't stay dry. I suffered sleep paralysis nightmares regularly and genuinely started to fear my nights. Perhaps the cold - or the wet - had started to get to me, but that felt hard.

Reflecting back, I'm quite pleased to have come through and out the other side with a smile.

We're glad you pulled through :-) Is there a moment that defines your experiences as an adventurer?

Oh gee! That is a hard thing to pin down. I think it would be camped in front of Peel Fjord, 400km into the depths of Patagonia with my childhood friend Seumas.

The remoteness and difficulty to get there was one thing, the stunning ice filled mountainous landscape another, but it was the sipping fresh brewed coffee and dancing around happy as can be in the morning sun that made it special.

We had passed through difficult paddling to discover surprising comfort in an unexpected place, and that for me is the true meaning of adventure, to go somewhere scary and make it comfortable.

Even the darkest clouds have sunshine above them. No matter how bleak you feel at any given moment of hardship be it in life or love, adventure has taught me to expect a brighter day to arrive sometime soon and to just get on with it.

Do you have suggestions for more accessible micro adventures to inspire some everyday adventures?

Comfort is something that's different to each of us. Ideally you want to find a way to gently push your boundary without going too far and scaring yourself.

With that in mind I would say to pick somewhere you may not be happy to navigate but are happy to escape from if you can't make it all the way. If it's on water, pick an onshore breeze and a calm day, or for a hike, start in the valleys and keep going until you are confident on the pointiest summit.

Some of my favourite micro adventures are spontaneous nights under the stars, a bivi in a field, or a wild swim.

There are more options than any book could give, you just have to get creative and go.

Speaking of books, any favourites?

Blazing Paddles by Brian Wilson. It is a classic in the sea kayaking community but a genuinely understated account of true adventure at its purest and finest. Brian's hard solo journey around Scotland in the 1980s has everything to admire. It was a brave and brilliantly executed expedition, and is well told in a captivating story.

We've added it to our reading list, thank you. What about destinations that should be on everyone's bucket list?

There are countless marked hikes to choose from, be it the West Highland Way, the Cape Wrath Trail or even summiting a Munro. These days I prefer to create sporadic journeys where whim dictates, but if I had to choose a favourite adventure it would be to hike or kayak your way into a bothy. It can be any bothy you choose, for there are many.

Taking wood, whisky, candles and a few stories to share in their light is a surefire way to a real Scottish adventure.

The Inverpollaidh and Assynt area of the NW Highlands are some of my favourite places too. There is something about the individuality of each mountain which, although small in height, are grand in prominence. To access the wilderness that stretches between them by canoe is a genuine adventure every single time.

Finding a view like Sgurr an Fhidhleir looking north into the Inverpollaidh mountains - real Scottish wilderness - is incomparable.

Have you got any other tips for budding adventurers?

Good advice often comes in small doses from different mouths, it is how you use those many little hints together that turns advice into action.

Do it because you want to do it. Ask yourself before you set out on a trip where your limits lie. Are you comfortable living in a tent for weeks and if not do you want to learn to be? Are you happy living on pasta boiled at the edge of a sleeping bag, or do you prefer a cooked meal and a bed?

It doesn't matter what your comfort level is, but it does matter that you are happy with your choice.

Whether you succeed in your initial plan or not, people like genuine stories and will love to hear your tales if you can still feel that same spark of excitement you had before your journey toward the end.

Also, be a Shackleton not a Scott, or better still be an Amundsen.

For those who are yet to explore the stories of early polar exploration (lucky you - they are incredible tales), what I mean here is to know your limits. It's a huge generalisation, but a good mantra to live by.

To be an Amundsen is to use your experience and apply it to your goal, with plans and contingencies set to deal with the unexpected. To be a Shackleton is to know when it is time to step back from your plan A and make a second one. It's hard to know when to admit a change is needed, avoid that summit fever and adapt to the unexpected.

That said, it is harder still to ignore it, blindly carry on and come to woe, as did poor Captain Scott.

Finally, treat an expedition like a scientific experiment. In the eyes of a scientist an unexpected result is not a failure, but a tool to learn. If you go into a challenge with that mentality you will succeed every single time.

That is genuinely great advice! What else have you learned on your travels?

That the world is, overall, full of good. Our society today is blighted with the media showing the worst of our kind. Terrorists, dodgy orange politicians, murders, wars. They do exist and of course need to be acknowledged, but when you travel you discover that most people are just like you, trying to survive and be happy in this big scary world of ours.

People are as kind and generous in the most war torn abandoned corners of the world as the most civilised suburbs, perhaps even more so. Always look for the helpers in this world, not the hinderers.

That sounds a lot like wisdom!

At University, studying outdoor education, we were taught to never make a plan B, only a second plan A - so as not to affect your choice to use it when it is needed.

Another top tip was the honour rule - a way of making sound decisions. This is weighted toward guiding, but still works in all aspects of general life. The idea being that before any choice is made you say it aloud in your head and add "your honour" on the end of it.

"I thought jumping off that cliff was a good idea your honour" sounds pretty stupid, but "I assessed the depth of the pool, the height of the jump and reasoned the jump was safe for our ability your honour" sounds pretty watertight!

It's a simple idea, but makes you analyse an action beforehand rather than act first and think later.

Are there any adventurers that you particularly admire or envy?

I have been guilty of envying other adventurers in the past, but it's a dangerous and lamentable past-time. Comparing yourself to others can only lead to ego or depression, and neither are good or constructive paths.

I have the greatest respect for the many, many people I have met along the road who have also been on their own grand journeys yet not speaking of them. There is a simplicity to that which I truly admire.

Many of those people are working as guides, and have turned adventure into a career of helping others learn. But of those better known, I have always been a fan of adventurers who admit their human side, such as Al Humphreys, Dave Cornthwaite and Anna McNuff.

I also hugely admire those who choose to use their skills for science. People like Niall McCann, James Borrell, Attenborough and the rest.

Is that the sort of person you'd pick as an ideal travel companion?

An ideal travel companion is one who gets on with the small tasks without being asked, a mutual trait you must share to succeed.

I grew up with my father's stories of base life in tiny hut stations in Antarctic South Georgia and he taught us to aspire to being a person who might thrive in such a confined box with another for many months. I guess for me that box is now my tent.

Those people I've had the best experiences with are friends I have known long enough to consider family. To be able to read each other's emotions and know when to step back or step in is the greatest asset to any travel companion!

And what about something you couldn't live without while away?

My camera. Sharing my experiences through a lens and writing beside them is a genuine lifelong pleasure I hope to continue until the end.

I also take my great grandad's defunct WW1 brass compass. It doesn't point north and it weighs the same as an apple, but it means a lot to me to take it on my many adventures. I'm not sure why, but I just like it with me.

Finally, what would surprise us about you?

Maybe that I'm not very surprising. I am just a normal guy doing my best to explore abnormal places. I like sitting back in front of a random spree of YouTube videos as much as anyone, and like to balance a lifestyle of outdoor adventure with the creature comforts of a more normal life too.

A perfect note to end on. Thanks for stopping by Will!

You can learn more about Will's adventures on his website or via his Facebook page.