The Old Ways
A Journey on Foot
Walking a thousand miles or more along tracks and holloways, drove roads and seaways in England, Scotland and abroad, Macfarlane goes in search of ‘the ghosts and voices that haunt ancient paths’, but encounters both past and present in the landscape. A journey of the imagination as well as over land and sea, the book ranges across topics including sailing to the Shiants, the Calzada Romana in Spain and another walker of old roads, the poet Edward Thomas.
As we lose touch with nature, writes Robert Macfarlane, we forget the words that describe it. This book seeks to reclaim that language, using the work of nature writers such as Nan Shepherd, JA Baker and Barry Lopez, alongside resources such as the ‘peat glossary’ compiled by Lewis islanders. Between each chapter is a list of words relating to a particular landscape – uplands, coastlands, woodlands – from all parts of the British Isles.