In summer of 2010 Simon Armitage decided to walk all 256 miles of the Penine Way, walking it in reverse towards his home in Yorkshire, and penniless earning his supper by poetry readings. Walking Home recounts his journey.
This was an interesting piece of non-fiction to read. I found it relatable to me personally as I did part of my Dofe expedition on this exact trail. (Though it didn’t seem so easy to me!)
This book was well written – as you would expect from a published, successful poet and novelist. But it was actually not as poetic in writing style as I thought it would be – there was no constant use of metaphors and similes, or structured lines of iambic pentameter. It was more just a simple description of events, with an occasional description of the countryside. That doesn’t mean it was boring though! Instead it was filled with personality and opinion; you can really sense his feelings: excitement, anger, fatigue…
There are a few poems dotted through the book, which were fun to stumble upon, and refreshing too – a reminder of the poet behind the description, and break from the walking for the reader as well as the writer!
However, I did start to become less interested towards the end, which was a bit of a disappointment. Although perhaps this reflected Armitage’s own journey? It was still a good piece of writing though.
I saw Simon Armitage speak about the sequel to this book – Walking Away – at the Hay Literary Festival. You can see my post about the weekend and his talk here.