Walking Home: Travels with a Troubadour on the Pennine Way

Simon Armitage

Walking Home: Travels with a Troubadour on the Pennine Way

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 theYorkshire 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. 3.7 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Walking Home: Travels with a Troubadour on the Pennine Way

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Travel
Format Hardback
Pages 304
RRP
Date of Publication July 2012
ISBN 978-0571249886
Publisher Faber & Faber
 

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 theYorkshire 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.

Reviews

The Guardian

Adam Thorpe

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. But if walkers can be among the champion bores of the year, Armitage knows just when to stop.

07/07/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Emma Townshend

Long-distance travel is captured in detail: the obsession with how little you can pack, how good the shower is, and which foot ointment you smear on your aching feet. The British B&B dressing table is here in all its glory, with mini-kettle, individually wrapped shortbread biscuits and laminated sign; but so is the grand array of British summer weather, described with Armitage's customary plain poetry … never will reading about a hot shower and some foot ointment be quite so enjoyable.

08/07/2012

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The Sunday Telegraph

Jane Shilling

This is a tough, engaging, funny book — Armitage has the rare gift making his readers laugh out loud, as well as being surely the only poet to ever persuade the patrons of pubs and village halls from Scotland to Derbyshire to cram a total of £3,086.42 into a clean sock during 16 days’ worth of poetic performance. But it is in its moments of doubt, anxiety, cowardice and black misery that his book is at its most touchingly human.

26/06/2012

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The Sunday Times

Christopher Hart

Armitage makes an agreeably droll travel writer … His affectionate take on the English at play is truly Betjemanesque, describing a group of elderly ramblers sitting on a grassy bank eating soggy sandwiches, “staring into the fog and singing Oh I do like to be beside the seaside”. And there’s a brilliant “taxonomy of walking types”, including instantly recognisable figures such as the “She Left Me/I’ll Show Him” walker, the “Bear Grylls/Ray Mears Box Set” and “Away with the Fairies” ... He is modest about slipping his own poems into the text, but when he does they’re an additional treat.

08/07/2012

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The Financial Times

Suzi Feay

… it comes as a bit of a surprise to see just how relaxed he is here, at one point lazily using “disinterested” to mean “uninterested” just so he can alliterate with “drunk” and “disparaging”. I feel sure Armitage knows the difference. Nor does he shy away from clichés such as “does what it says on the tin” (though he does interrogate another familiar phrase: “presented with the backs of several hands to choose from, would I really know my own?”). There are still flashes of imagery to cherish: the tops of pine trees “bend and flex like fishing rods in some mad struggle”, and a path “fragments into half a dozen vague and wispy sheep trails, like the frayed end of a rope”.

22/06/2012

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