“Wild places” & “The old ways” Robert Macfarlane

old waywild places

Agnes’s non-fiction picks

“Wild places”/ Robert MacFarlane (New York : Penguin Books, 2008)

Robert MacFarlane likes to take a walk –a long walk. His books are more about the journey than the travelling.
In this, the second of his trilogy, he sets out to find out if wild places still exist in Britain. With his accounts of walking at night and sleeping out under the stars he connects to the wilderness and those who have crossed or inhabited these spaces over the last few millennia. Interestingly, many of these places have seen human habitation and some have become wild because of it.
As his journeys progress, his ideas of wildness evolve from the stark and grandiose to include the small, more intimate places not far from modern life.
This is a beautifully written book with thoughtful, elegant prose. It’s not an easy read, but well worth taking time to savour.

“The old ways” Robert MacFarlane (Hamish Hamilton 2012)

MacFarlane is on the road again. Actually, lots of roads in Britain, Spain and Palestine.
Evoking ghosts of those who have travelled before, this time his tales include the present-day fellow travellers he meets along the way.
Although the book is sub-titled “journeys by foot” my favourite account was that of the old sea routes of the Outer Hebrides. There, he meets some interesting characters and gives us a whole new way to look at ancient Europe and it’s trade routes.
The final book in his trilogy is another great read.

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