Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Book Review: Walking The Great North Line by Robert Twigger

Any book that jumps around between Stonehenge, Jack Kerouac, Wittgenstein, Pacerpoles, Edward Abbey, stealth camping, T.S.Eliot, Buffalo clothing and a myriad other subjects suggests an author with a lively, intellectually curious, and eclectic mind and that certainly applies to Robert Twigger. His book about walking from Stonehenge (actually Christchurch but then the first line does say “I didn’t start at the beginning”) to Lindisfarne along a straight line linking a series of ancient sites is one of the more unusual walking books I’ve read.

The book’s subtitle includes a reason for the walk: to Discover the Mysteries of Our Ancient Past. Does the author succeed? I have no idea! And I’m not sure Robert Twigger does either. But he does have a good walk with many entertaining companions, encounters and experiences.

Describing himself as a natural nomad the author is happy to trespass where he can without getting thrown off and camps in woods and other hidden spots, sometimes lighting a fire to sit round. Much of his walk is in what’s generally regarded as rural English farmland, yet he manages to find many wild places - though he does also walk through Birmingham.

I found accompanying the author on his walk  interesting and enjoyable. Never being sure where his magpie mind would jump to next was always intriguing. This is a curious but worthwhile addition to the literature of walking. Recommended!

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