As I was saying when the first draft of this post was so rudely and prematurely published, I am learning to use my wonderful technology…
Sub-titled “A poet’s journey,” Walking Home appealed to me as a walker with a bit of interest in England’s long distance paths. As it was written in prose, I was willing to (ad)venture a glimpse into a poet’s mind.
It is an account of the 256 mile Pennine Way hike, along which the poet had organized nightly readings to locals desperate for an evening outing in the village. (I’m not being mean. That was Armitage’s own conclusion.)
Armitage writes very well, of course. But the story was not exactly spell-binding. His paragraphs are way too long and I kept losing my place when I tried to read and do other things at the same time.
I tend to be a goal-oriented person and Armitage observed that
“in many ways, the Pennine Way is a pointless exercise, leading from nowhere in particular to nowhere in particular, via no particular route, and for no particular reason.”
The man didn’t seem to have a lot of fun on the journey. However he described the last day, in particular, quite brilliantly:
“The weather is disgusting, filthy… my underwear feels like it needs wringing out… More than anything [the landscape] looks like the aftermath of a war, the First World War, the ground shelled and cratered, with little rat runs and trenches between the grass-topped hillocks and mounds, some of which are taller than me” [sic].
Doesn’t that just inspire you to head for the hills? While I enjoyed reading the book, my next long walk will be a return to the Camino in Spain.