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Walking Home by Simon Armitage

Walking Home (2012)

by Simon Armitage

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This is a lovely book - combining the humorous travel book structure of Bill Bryson etc, with the lyrical beauty of Robert Macfarlane. I am sure all its readers will grow to like Simon Armitage as he wends his way south from Kirk Yetholm to Edale [almost]. I learned lots, like the redundancy of Kielder Water; I enjoyed the few poems reprinted [and I have since purchased a collection]. I am too old to know to attempt the Pennine Way but it made me wish I had done it earlier in my life. It brought back memories, particularly of that magnificent waterfall at High Force. I confidently expect to receive "Walking Away" as part of my Christmas present. ( )
  johnwbeha | Jul 6, 2016 |
I hate to say this, but I just didn't enjoy reading this. 300 pages of what the rain was like when someone was walking. This is not a bias review, as I like Armitage, but this seemed like an excuse to write a nothing book and it'd sell because of who the author was. I mean, that's exactly why I read it. There's bits of Simon's humour, which I like, in this book, and that's why I gave it more than 1 star. ( )
  MrLloydSpandex | May 18, 2016 |
I have never walked the Pennine Way but I am a keen walker and so I still enjoyed the book mainly because Simon Armitage is such a good writer and an attractive personality. At times, it's just like he's telling you about it in the pub afterwards. ( )
  stephengoldenberg | Apr 6, 2016 |
Simon Armitrage, who must be a well-known poet in the UK and who lives in Yorkshire on the Pennine Way, decides to hike the notorious route from its northern terminus to its southern terminus. He gets a poet friend to set up poetry readings for him along the way, catches a train for Berwick-on-Tweed, and starts walking. He trudges up and down mountains, through swampy moors, morasses, fog, rain, ice pellets. Crows caw. He gets lost a lot and finds his way a lot. He gives a poetry reading each night in each town along the way as he comes to it. Lots of detailed nature writing and lots of self-deprecating British humor. His big structural problem is his decision to break the book into a day by day log. Every day is nearly same as other day and the books starts to get old long before the journey is done. Okay read but not great. ( )
  ChrisNewton | Mar 18, 2016 |
An interesting account of a poet's journey along the Pennine Way. ( )
  cazfrancis | Nov 8, 2015 |
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...never will reading about a hot shower and some foot ointment be quite so enjoyable.
Walking Home riffs on the ancient correlation between itinerancy and story-telling, with embedded tales of varying tallness coming and going in an almost casual manner, complete with a Bunyanesque dark night of the soul (in Cumbrian daylight) when lost high up on the terrifying emptiness of Cross Fell.
added by geocroc | editThe Guardian, Adam Thorpe (Jul 6, 2012)
...Walking Home is neither scholarly meditation nor record of barely-human endurance. Armitage’s journey is more pedestrian than that; a manageable distance along a worn path through familiar faces.
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In the West Yorkshire village of Marsden where I was born and grew up, a peculiar phenomenon took place every year.
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In summer 2010 Simon Armitage decided to walk the Pennine Way. The challenging 256-mile route is usually approached from south to north, from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm, the other side of the Scottish border. He resolved to tackle it the other way round: through beautiful and bleak terrain, across lonely fells and into the howling wind, he would be walking home, towards the Yorkshire village where he was born. Travelling as a 'modern troubadour' without a penny in his pocket, he stopped along the way to give poetry readings in village halls, churches, pubs and living rooms. His audiences varied from the passionate to the indifferent, and his readings were accompanied by the clacking of pool balls, the drumming of rain and the bleating of sheep. "Walking Home" describes this extraordinary, yet ordinary, journey. It's a story about Britain's remote and overlooked interior - the wildness of its landscape and the generosity of the locals who sustained him on his journey. It's about facing emotional and physical challenges, and sometimes overcoming them. It's nature writing, but with people at its heart. Contemplative, moving and droll, it is a unique narrative from one of our most beloved writers.… (more)

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