When Alan Murphy upped sticks and left the fleshpots of Dundee to start his own seaweed-collecting business on a remote island croft, many saw it as a cry for kelp. But Alan not only survived several bleak Hebridean winters, he went on to found a sanctuary for wayward seal pups and devoted the next 10 years of his life to working with young stray marine mammals. Later, following a chance encounter with the editor of Footprint's South American Handbook in a sleazy salsa bar in Soho, London, Alan turned his hand to travel writing, trading the rain swept peat moors of northern Scotland for the steamy jungles of South America to research and write Footprint guides to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. But the pull of his homeland was too strong and Alan eventually returned to Scotland to write new Footprint guides to Scotland, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland Highlands & Islands. Alan now resides in the bohemian Somerset market town of Frome with his wife and three children.