One summer, Simon Armitage decided to walk the Pennine Way - a challenging 256-mile route usually approached from south to north, with the sun, wind and rain at your back.
However, he resolved to tackle it back to front, walking home towards the Yorkshire village where he was born, travelling as a 'modern troubadour', without a penny in his pockets and singing for his supper with poetry readings in village halls, churches, pubs and living rooms.
Walking Home describes his extraordinary, yet ordinary, journey of human endeavour, unexpected kindnesses and terrible blisters.
The companion volume, Walking Away, is published in June 2015.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages, Illustrations
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 04/04/2013
- Category: Travel writing
- ISBN: 9780571249893
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Review by Helenliz
This is an excellent wheeze. Poet Simon Armitage decides to walk to Penine Way, but rather than heading out in the convcentional South-to-North, he approaches it from the other end (poets, being paid up members of the awkward squad - just one of many great lines of observation a humour in this book). And as if 256 miles of hilly terrain is not enough of a challenge, he sets of relying on the kindness of strangers and will earn his keep by performing poetry readings at each stop - not charging entry, but by passing aht for people to chip in what they think he's worth. OK, so it turns into a sock, not a hat, but the principle remains. And so beings a journey that is nnot just in terms of miles traversed. There are the observations that make this so vivid, the humour that sparkles and flashes in a dry, unshowy way, and the long dark tea time of the soul when lost in mist. I've been lost in mist (not on the penines) but it is a horrible experience. You loose track of everything, the fear rises and it becomes a very upsetting situation. He captures that with some clarity, yet manages to not sound too selfpitying. He has a way with words that is quite entracing. The back cover describes it at Betjemanesque; I was thinking more akin to Alan Bennett - it's that same picking up of small details and the carefully crafted phrase that lodges in your mind, or suddenly makes you laugh out loud. Minus Alan Bennett's Eeyore-esque edge, though. This is one of my current book crushes - I love just about everything of his I read, and this was no exception.