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The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path

by Raynor Winn

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14711123,088 (4.24)17
Title:The Salt Path
Authors:Raynor Winn
Info:Penguin Books Ltd
Collections:Your library
Tags:Biography, Travel, Homelessness

Work details

The Salt Path: A Memoir by Raynor Winn


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English (8)  Dutch (3)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
THE SALT PATH is Raynor Winn’s inspiring story of coming-of-age late in life. She and her husband, Moth, had a pretty good life in Wales, running a farm/b-n-b, when they became homeless. This, along with Moth’s diagnosis of a terminal illness, left them bereft and destitute. In what seemed to be an attempt to seek a solution to their situation, they settled on a quixotic plan that turned out to be life-changing. They decided to walk Britain’s South West Coastal Path (630 miles of cliffs and ocean from Minehead to Poole). What begins as “about just putting one foot in front of the other” unexpectedly morphs into discoveries about some of life’s most enduring lessons: the journey is more important than the destination; Nature has the capacity to heal; movement is essential to health and well-being; to struggle is to become strong.

There is so much local color in the book that one is often tempted to look places up on Google Earth. Nevertheless, Winn’s narrative is highly personal and thus much more than just a travelogue. Instead it is a tale of goal-setting, self-doubt, discovery, and redemption. Raynor and Moth lived on a pittance, often going hungry, and rough camping. They experienced prejudice against the homeless, challenging terrain, aches, blisters, inadequate equipment, and, of course, miserable weather. Yet they also discovered intense natural beauty, and human kindness. The story starts in a dark closet filled with fear and ends on a cliff overlooking the sea and filled with hope and serenity. “Like the windblown trees along our route, we had been re-formed by the elements.”

Winn’s story might seem depressing, but her writing is anything but. She is gentle with herself and Moth avoiding the obvious temptation to moralize about their situation. Although not meant as a comedy, the book is filled with much humor, often the self-effacing kind. The most effective being anecdotes that become inside jokes between her and the reader: how could the author of her trail guide cover so much ground in a day? (does he lie?) Why does Moth remind so many people of the famous hiking poet, Simon Armitage?

This is an inspiring tale that is a light read, but filled with useful lesson for successfully traversing tough times. ( )
  ozzer | Jun 27, 2019 |
Back cover says it all - conveys the human capacity for endurance and the regenerative power of nature. ( )
  kenno82 | Jun 19, 2019 |
Ray Winn and her husband Moth have lived for thirty years on their farm in Wales. They've raised their children there, but a bad investment takes it all away from them. Then Moth is diagnosed with CBD, a neurological disease that will take away his facilities, both physical and mental, and eventually kill him. With nothing left to lose, the two decide to walk the South West Coast Path, a 630 mile track from Somerset around Cornwall's coast to end in Poole in Dorset.
I walk trails in the UK myself though nothing of this magnitude. I tried wild camping (just finding a likely place and leaving no trace) on the Great Glen Way. I lasted one rainy, cold night and immediately mailed my camping gear back to the USA, opting for B&B's and hostels the rest of the way. I have some idea of what they went through walking day after day with heavy packs and all kinds of weather. But there are great rewards, and Ray details them in this lovely story. Surrounded by nature and away from everyday hassles allows one to really look inside one's self and see what you're made of. From the book:
"Things we thought we would never be able to bear were becoming less jagged, turned into round river stones by the movement of the path. It was still a heavy burden to carry, but just a little less painful to hold."
She also writes poignantly about homelessness in the UK and what it means for thousands of people, mostly homeless through no fault of their own. Ray and Moth have little but they always seem to share what they can with others.
One benefit of walking is the improvement in Moth's health despite the doctor's warnings. His condition is nonreversible, but on the trail, he learns to face his inevitable death and help Ray come to terms with the eventual loss of her loving husband.
There are many funny moments and beautiful descriptions of the Cornish coast. This is a lovely book and well worth reading. As she and Moth say in the book:
“Do we have a plan?” “Course we do. We walk, until we stop walking, and maybe on the way we find some kind of future.” “That’s a good plan.” ( )
  N.W.Moors | Apr 21, 2019 |
A very different spin on those we think of as homeless, because these two people did everything right, and lost everything. Added to this they find out Moth, Raynors husband has a degenerative disease. How much can two people handle? With very little money, with no where to go except sleeping on friends couches for the foreseeable future, they decide to walk. Taking only the necessities, they decide to walk the South West coastal path, 630 miles.

So this then is their story of this trip, and the things they see and experience. The descriptions and the prose is impressive, vivid. Their descriptions of the physical pain they experience is anguishing. They take up past St. Isaac where my favorite show Doc Martin is made and through Cornwall and it's copper mines, where Poldark is filmed. They have a few run ins with wild life, and meet some quirky characters. They are called old, in their fifties, by many who can't believe they are walking so far. They wild camp, not having the money for campgrounds.

They find out they are stronger than they thought, braver than expected, and feel proud of their accomplishment. The story starts out in darkness, but ends in light, as ........well read the book and find out. Don't think you'll be disappointed.

ARC from Netgalley. ( )
  Beamis12 | Mar 24, 2019 |
Inspirational? I'm not so sure. Depressing, yes. This book is a story of two people in a nearly hopeless situation who, at the end of a long, long walk, find some hope. They find out what it's like to be homeless in the Tory governed UK in the 21st century. I found this book not to be as inspiring as other people apparently have, because it seemed like only a matter of luck that the story didn't end in a sad and lonely place. One of the pair, Moth, probably has a terminal degenerative brain disease (CBD) and his moments of improvement seem to be seen as being due to his own strength of purpose, somehow connected to the long walk. A more likely explanation seems, as stated by the medical consultant who gave them the provisional diagnosis before they set out on the walk, that Moth seems to have a disease that is not following the common pattern for CBD. Maybe he doesn't actually have CBD or maybe he'll simply take a bit longer to die. In any case, life will remain tough for those who are homeless and aren't blessed with a partner with good writing skills. ( )
1 vote oldblack | Feb 23, 2019 |
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"Just days after Raynor Winn learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their house and farm are taken away, along with their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, through Devon and Cornwall. Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea, and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable and life-affirming journey. Powerfully written and unflinchingly honest, The Salt Path is ultimately a portrayal of home--how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways"--… (more)

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