Dashing for the Post
The Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor
Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915–2011) was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly entertaining letter writer. This judiciously edited selection of his correspondence spans almost 70 years, and includes letters to Nancy Mitford, Diana Cooper, Lawrence Durrell and his lifelong companion Joan Rayner. They sparkle with his humour, zest for life, unending curiosity, lyrical descriptive powers – and his tendency to get into scrapes.
The Village News
The Truth Behind England's Rural Idyll
Over the course of the last century, the English village has often been declared dead or dying. In this volume, ex-BBC journalist Tom Fort sets out to discover whether these communities really are on their last legs. Fort approaches 6,000 years of history and his own experiences of rural life with wit, humour and entertaining observations, and concludes that ‘the village as a model for communal living is simply too strong to fail’.
A Journey Round Britain From Dusk to Dawn
In this collection of nocturnal rambles, travel writer Dixe Wills explores Britain’s dark side, from Dartmoor, where the Devil is said to ride out at midnight, to seabird-haunted Skomer Island. Wills witnesses the stars in all their glory at the UK’s first Dark Sky Park in Scotland, takes an overnight sleeper train, cycles from London to Suffolk by night and tramps the streets of the capital in the footsteps of the insomniac Charles Dickens.
In this book lover’s tour of Britain, the Mail on Sunday’s travel editor embarks on a series of literary rambles through the towns and countryside immortalized by great writers. Here is Jane Austen’s Bath, Hardy’s Wessex, Wordsworth’s Lake District, Bram Stoker’s Whitby and Robert Burns’s birthplace in Alloway. Frank Barrett’s adventures, recounted with self-deprecating humour, include satnav errors, truculent tour guides and, of course, the British weather.
The Northwest Passage
Atlantic to Pacific: A Portrait and Guide
For five centuries, Europeans sought a sea route to the Pacific through the Canadian Arctic, losing many ships and lives before Amundsen completed the crossing in 1906. Now global warming has thinned sea ice, it is possible for tourists to make the trip. This illustrated guide provides both a history of the region and a valuable practical resource for visitors.
Third Man in Havana
Finding the Heart of Cricket in The World's Most Unlikely Places
Tom Rodwell, Chairman of the Lord's Taverners, spent six years running charity cricket tours to help disadvantaged young people in some of the world's poorest districts. This book recounts his amusing adventures, from playing in cricket-mad cultures in Sri Lanka and Jamaica to unlikely locations such as Cuba and Israel.
Innercities Cultural Guides
Martin Garrett traces Oxford’s history from Anglo-Saxon ‘oxen-ford’ to the present, with chapters on its architecture, ‘town and gown’, and writers and religion; and goes beyond the city to surrounding places of interest including Blenheim Palace and White Horse Hill.
The Portable Paradise
Baedeker, Murray, and the Victorian Guidebook
In a long essay, based on his 2005 lecture for the Royal Geographical Society at the London Library, Jonathan Keates reflects on Victorian guidebooks, not as repositories of practical information, but as evidence of what their original purchasers dreamed of.
Further Travels in Ireland on Horseback
Forced to give up her Irish adventure after the tragic death of her beloved pony Mollie, Bradt returns a few weeks later determined to complete her journey. After a rocky start with Peggy, the new pony, the pair bond and the adventure continues with new faces and beautiful landscapes.
An Irish Journey on Horseback
Hilary Bradt, travel writer and co-founder of Bradt Travel Guides, fulfils a childhood dream by heading to Ireland, buying a horse and trotting round the country. This book, written 30 years later, tells the first part of her 1,000-mile journey with the help of her original diaries.
The Travels of Marco Polo
The Illustrated Edition
Written while he was in prison in Genoa in 1298, Marco Polo’s Travels recounts his journey across the vast Mongol empire to the domain of Khubilai Khan, his 16-year sojourn there, and his fantastic adventures on the homeward journey to Venice. The book, one of the first great works of travel literature, is presented here in the Yule-Cordier translation, with an introduction and a wealth of captioned illustrations, including manuscript illuminations, maps and photographs, on vellum-coloured pages.
An Island Journey
A writer and activist involved in issues including land reform, globalization and nonviolence, Alastair McIntosh returned to the islands of the Outer Hebrides – Harris and his native Lewis – on a twelve-day, 60-mile journey of pilgrimage in 2009. This book is an account of the rigours of his journey; the people, landscape and ancient relics he encountered; stories from the islands’ history and lore; and thoughts of his own past and present.
Under the Tump
Sketches of Real Life on the Welsh Borders
Hay-on-Wye is world famous as ‘the town of books’. But when the travel writer Oliver Balch moved there, it was its people he was keen to read. With empathy and humour, he joins in the daily routines of his fellow residents; young farmers, elderly widows, mayors, hippies and publicans. What emerges is a captivating personal picture of country life in the 21st century.
The Scottish Highlands
A Cultural History
Beginning with the natural formation of the landscape and brief surveys of its flora and fauna, Beattie's cultural history traces the history of the Scottish Highlands as ‘characterized by a struggle against grinding poverty and savage political repression’ rather than the romantic glosses of Victorian ‘mythologizers’. He goes on to discuss the novels set in this ‘elemental landscape’, the poetry that the Highlands and its people have inspired, and the responses of visitors from Samuel Johnson to Paul Theroux.
The Other Paris
An Illustrated Journey Through a City's Poor and Bohemian Past
Paris, the City of Lights, has always had its dark side: a city of the poor, the outcast, the criminal, the eccentric and the nonconformist. Richly illustrated with more then 300 haunting historic images, this poetic essay takes the reader on a journey through its dance halls and whorehouses, its absinthe bars and hobo shelters, finding their traces in the bricks and stones of the modern city, reclaiming it from the haute bourgeoisie and the property speculators.
In 2009, walking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths beneath our feet. How do they form? Why do some improve over time, while others fade? What makes us follow, or strike out alone? Over the next seven years, Moor travelled the globe seeking answers to these questions, tracing human pathways from long-lost Cherokee trails to the internet. This wide-ranging and thought-provoking book explores 'how we make trails, and how trails make us'.
Real and Imagined Journeys in the Himalayas
The Himalayas beckon…and we go. Following a meandering path across the mountains, Robert Twigger explores a landscape of pilgrimage and revelation, of massacre and invasion, and of unutterable calm. Unravelling real and invented journeys, and the unexpected links between them, he encounters incredible stories from a unique cast of mountaineers and mystics, pundits and prophets. The result is a sweeping, enthralling and surprising journey through the dramatic history of the world’s greatest mountain range.
The Snow Tourist
A Search for the World's Purest, Deepest Snowfall
What is it about snow that leaves us spellbound? What draws us to play with it, sledge over it, and even risk our lives in it? In this finely woven blend of memoir, history and travelogue, self-confessed snow obsessive Charlie English wraps up warm and goes in search of the answers to these questions, from the Cairngorms to Vermont, from Chamonix to the Canadian Arctic.
Love and War on the Côte d'Azur
In 1925, Barry Dierks, a young American architect, and his lover Eric Sawyer bought land at Miramar on the Côte d’Azur and built Le Trident, their home and a spectacular showcase for Barry’s architecture. A year later, Somerset Maugham’s La Mauresque became the first of some 70 houses designed by Dierks for the Riviera’s rich and famous. This biography of Barry and Eric also tells of the glamorous inhabitants of the villas and the lifestyle of Jazz Age Côte d’Azur.
Lines in the Sand
The late AA Gill was widely acclaimed as one of the finest journalists of our time. This selection of recent pieces, made by Gill himself before his untimely death, shows him at his most perceptive, brilliant and funny. He tackles life-drawing, designs his own tweed, spends a day at Donald Trump’s university, and contemplates his cancer diagnosis. Above all, he addresses that most urgent of contemporary issues, the refugee crisis, reporting from Lampedusa, Lebanon and Calais with anger and compassion.
Travels with John Steinbeck
In 1960 John Steinbeck and his dog Charley set out in their green pickup truck, travelling from New York to New Orleans to ‘see how the country looks and smells and sounds’. Half a century on, Dutch journalist and historian Geert Mak and his wife travel from Steinbeck’s home, retracing his journey through glistening suburbs, Midwestern prairies and rust-belt towns to see how Main Street, USA has changed, and what has become of the American Dream.
A Sketching Tour of Scotland Retracing the Footsteps of Victorian Artist John T Reid
In 1989, the Scottish artist and author Mairi Hedderwick came across John T Reid’s Art Rambles in the Highlands and Islands, which records his sketching tours of 1876. In 1990, she set off to retrace Reid’s journey and record the same scenes that he sketched 114 years earlier. The eight rambles around Scotland are described in Hedderwick’s intensely personal and very entertaining commentary, but also in excerpts from Reid’s writings, and his engravings sit alongside her watercolours. New edition.
On Silbury Hill
Silbury Hill in Wiltshire has inspired and perplexed people for generations. Poets and artists have tried to fathom its meaning, archaeologists have tunnelled through it, yet the largest man-made mound in Europe remains an enigma. In this haunting memoir, the novelist Adam Thorpe recalls his childhood on the Wiltshire Downs, skilfully weaving his life and experiences into the long history of that ancient landscape and the people who shaped and were shaped by it.
An Indian Love Affair
Simon Gandolfi first visited India in the 1960s, driving a VW to Goa, where he met and fell in love with Vanessa. Forty years later, fury at the terrorist attacks on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai leads him to return, this time on a Honda 125. Gandolfi’s unique and charming travelogue interweaves the two trips, combining bittersweet memories of the past with a window on the India of today.
Four Travel Journals
The Americas, Antarctica and Africa, 1775-1874
This volume contains the Journal of Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (1775); the Journal of Commander Pringle Stokes on HMS Beagle in the Strait of Magellan (1827), the Journal of Midshipman Joseph Henry Kay on HMS Chanticleer, 1828–31, and Jacob Wainwright’s Diary of the Transportation of Dr Livingstone’s Body to the Coast (1873–4).
Between the Sunset and the Sea
A View of 16 British Mountains
After selecting 16 peaks which are among Britain’s wildest and emptiest places, Ingram devoted more than a year to exploring them. Here he records what happened on his expedition, following a circuitous route from Beinn Dearg to Ben Nevis via the Brecon Beacons, Pennines and Lake District. As well as discussing the practicalities of the climbs, he describes each mountain’s unique atmosphere and delves into its history and folklore. Slightly off-mint.
Dashing for the Post
The Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor
Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011)was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly entertaining letter writer. This judiciously edited selection of his correspondence spans almost 70 years, and includes letters to Nancy Mitford, Diana Cooper, Lawrence Durrell and his lifelong companion Joan Rayner. They sparkle with his humour, zest for life, unending curiosity, lyrical descriptive powers – and his tendency to get into scrapes.
The Rings Of Saturn
In the aftermath of a personal crisis Sebald, the celebrated German author, sets out on foot through the eerie, liminal landscape of coastal East Anglia. Deftly skirting the porous border between memoir, travelogue and fiction, the result is a haunting meditation on people and cultures past and present, on writers from Thomas Browne to Joseph Conrad, on fishing fleets, silkworms, a town that vanished beneath the sea, and the transience of human existence.
A European Journey in War and Peace
May 1945 found Europe in chaos, its infrastructure wrecked, its cities thronged with refugees. Accompanied by US veteran Putnam Flint, the award-winning travel writer John Gimlette sets out to uncover the legacy, and meet the survivors, of that titanic conflict. Starting in Marseille, the pair make their way though France and Germany to Austria, providing a quirky, erudite and moving insight into the ideals and ideologies of the continent.
The Last Nights of Cleopatra
Having arrived in Alexandria in the winter of 2010–2011 with the intention of working on his eighth attempt at a biography of Cleopatra, Peter Stothard, a former editor of The Times, found his plans spoiled by the onset of the Arab Spring. The book he writes is a chronicle of his stay in the city, visiting ancient sites amid the gathering political storm, but it is also a fragmentary memoir of his youth, glimpsed through the history of Cleopatra.
Journeys Through England in Particular: Coasting
The 70 succinct essays in this convenient portable guide offer a wealth of insight into England's long, convoluted and infinitely varied coastline. Leading the reader through chines, cloughs, cliffs and saltmarshes, Coasting points out the curiosities to be found along the way, from ammonite fossils to natterjack toads, and lost villages to the eerie 'sound mirrors' of Dungeness. Many of the entries feature characterful artwork or maps that complement the text.
The Summer Voyage from East to West Scotland of the Anassa
In the late 1990s, Mairi Hedderwick embarked on a six-week voyage through the Caledonian Canal to the western fjords, aboard the antique yacht Anassa. Filled with frank and fresh observations on everything from the history of landscape painting in Scotland to the shipping forecast and fish farming, and illustrated with her own drawings and watercolours, this is an enthralling account of another remarkable journey. New edition.
Black Apples of Gower
Stone-Footing in Memory Fields
Though famously a resident of Hackney and known for his writings on the 'psychogeography' of London, Iain Sinclair was born in Cardiff. This monograph sees him rediscover the blue-grey roads and cliff-top paths of his childhood in South Wales, on a journey through place, memory and his responses to the poetry of Dylan Thomas and Vernon Watkins, plus the artwork of Ceri Richards, who created the strange series of paintings that gives the book its name.
Walking in Ruins
Ruins have exerted a powerful hold over the human imagination since the Romantics, exciting thoughts of what once was and what might have been. With characteristic humour, insight and erudition, Geoff Nicholson takes us on a tour of ruins ancient and modern, picturesque and mundane, from Stonehenge and Alcatraz to a derelict zoo on the edge of Hollywood and an abandoned council estate in Sheffield.