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Walking Home: My Family and Other Rambles: An Occasional Series About Favourite Walking Books

Walking Home: My Family and Other Rambles: An Occasional Series About Favourite Walking BooksOnce again we’ve come across a book about walking that we have enjoyed and feel the need to review! The last review we shared was way back in July 2013 and was a review of Robert McFarlane’s “The Old Ways”.

Walking Home : My Family and Other Rambles is written by Clare Balding. Clare’s popularity has grown since the 2012 Olympics and she is now classed as a national treasure, a title she has probably got used to, but I think was a surprise to her initially.

Clare’s style is very easy to read and the book doesn’t take long to gallop through. She is chatty and engaging and if you are interested in other people’s loves and lives, you will enjoy Clare’s open sharing of the humdrum of her every day life both at home and at work. This isn’t a book that will tax a literary brain.

I wanted to read the book because I enjoy walking. Much of the book refers to the Radio 4 programme called Ramblings. The formula of the programme is Clare meets someone interesting and walks with them talking about interesting things. The book gives insight into many of the programmes and people that she met as well as chatting about her relationship with the producer and other members of the team. It sounds such fun as well work. Sadly the programme is no longer being broadcast, but there are 79 podcasts that can be downloaded and listened to if you fancy it.  Maybe you can add them to your things to do on a rainy day list!

I read the book on a kindle, but it is also available in hardback. There are also loads of very positive reviews about it in the Amazon store too, so if you aren’t convinced to pick it up and read it yet, do take a look at other people’s opinions.   

We’d love to hear what your favourite books about walking are. Tell us on facebook or in the comments box below.

18th February 2015

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Favourite Walking Books – an Occasional Series!

Favourite Walking Books – an Occasional Series! On this week’s blog, we review “The Old Ways” by Robert Macfarlane, subtitled “A Journey on Foot”.  In June it was Waterstone’s book of month and their marketing blurb stated the book is “The perfect summer read and a passionate endorsement to get out of the house, embrace the great outdoors and to walk, explore and enjoy our surroundings.”

I am not sure that the book would inspire you to get out of the house, but if you enjoy walking, exploring and reading about it, then this is a book for you. It is part travel, with a sprinkling of geography, some snippets of history and references to some of the greats in our literary past.  For a non-fiction book it is highly readable and glorious in its descriptions and imagery.

Favourite Walking Books – an Occasional Series! - Robert Macfarlane
Robert Macfarlane

Macfarlane uses a lot of lists in his writing and I can imagine him out of the road making mental or even physical lists of what he experiences. For example in his initial preamble he states

“And everywhere I met people – usual and unusual, quiet and voluble, everyday and eccentric …….//…. I met dawdlers, dreamers, striders, guides, pilgrims, wanderers, stravaigers, trespassers, cartographers – and a man who believed he was a tree and that trees were people.”

In case like me you didn’t know – stravaigers is from the Scottish meaning to roam or wander!

I like his wit and occasionally I have been moved to laugh out loud as I read and mark a passage to return to later.

“Two days before I set off, my Alaskan friend James helpfully recommended that I take a small sharp hatchet with me: ‘That way, if you get stuck in the mud with the tide coming in, you can cut your legs off at the ankles and escape.’”

I mentioned his imagery earlier and a fantastic example of his ability to show us what he sees is when he was in Stornoway harbour with a fabulous description that I know I will remember when I next see seals in the water! Favourite Walking Books – an Occasional Series!

“Big seals floating here and there, their nostrils and eyes just above the water, their blubbery backs looking like the puffed-up anoraks of murder victims……”

The only negative about the book is the photography which is grainy and difficult to appreciate. There may be practical reasons why the photographs aren’t better, but in my view they add nothing to it.

The Old Ways is one of those books that you don’t want to finish because once you get to the end it feels as though a brilliant journey is over and you can’t repeat straight away and so feel lost without with its companionship along the way!

Have you read it? What did you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

What are your favourite walking books?  Tell us on facebook or twitter and if you can link the book to one of our Treasure Trails towns, we’ll send you a free Trail of your choice!  We need to hear from you by the end of July.

3rd July 2013

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