Peter Owen-Jones is a vicar, a minister in the Church of England, the Anglican Church, a well-known author and television personality who has appeared on some high quality religious programmes in the UK, programmes that have taken him into encounters with people of many faiths and none. In this book he comes over as a man deeply hurt, and as he states near the end of the book that he returns to the bed that she no longer shares, we infer that he is coping with a marriage breakdown not of his choosing. At the end there is a hint that she left him for another man.
Walking was his therapy. He chose a route through England, beginning in Cornwall in the south-west and terminating twelve days later on the English side of the Scottish border and Cumbria. The distance between the walks was covered by car, which explains the short time required to journey this three hundred mile route.He travelled alone, in mourning maybe,staying at local inns and guest houses, always in bed by nine pm,for he had no social life to keep him up. Very sad!
Each chapter has the same format. It covers a short walk over one, maybe two hills. The author walked to the accompaniment of music, and each chapter begins with a recommended piece of music. All but one chapter has a map, and each one concludes with walking directions. Each chapter concludes with the total number of feet climbed.
This is not a book great on geographical facts. Rather it is rich in experiences, as the author observes people and land as he journeys. His work is reflective and well-written, and there is a touch of the poet in him.
But there is a touch of naivety at times. Writing of the top of Ashes Hollow on the Long Mynd in Shropshire, one of my favourite places, he notes the absence of corvids [crows and rooks] and says that it is as if the hunters have not found this valley yet. Sorry to tell you, Peter, but when my son Matthew and I walked that path more years ago than I would like to admit we espied a circling buzzard and heard its potential grouse victims a-churring in concealment in the heather, while the whinchats fled to cover! The hunters miss nothing.