Thursday, 10 April 2014

Book Review - The Wild Rover

The Wild Rover is essentially an exploration of Britain's footpaths, as confirmed by its subtitle "A blistering journey along Britain's footpaths".

Whilst the book contains some very interesting information on the history of public footpaths in Britain, and some amusing anecdotes and personal accounts, it also contains some ramblings of another kind.  Rather opinionated ones! 

To begin with I found the book fairly interesting, as the author covered issues such as the 1932 mass trespass on Kinder Scout through to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, all written in a light-hearted and readable way.   It was when writing about other walkers that I thought the tone became quite derisive at times.  And perhaps just a little hypocritical too.  For instance, an almost mocking criticism was aimed at people who write about their walks online, the inference being that no one else is really interested in reading such material.  Naturally, as a writer of such an online blog, this was a bit close to home!  It actually made me wonder how much truth there was in this sentiment and, for a time, I even questioned whether I ought to continue if this was how people felt (although personally I enjoy reading other people's blogs).  Then I moved on to the very next chapter where the author proceeded to give a blow by blow account of his walk along the Ridgeway National Trail.  In effect a "blog" within a book, if you like.  But, of course, the difference is that he was paid to write about it.  So that's alright then!  Hey ho.

I continued reading to the end and found the book by turn amusing, informative and occasionally annoying.  I suppose it could best be described as part factual, part autobiographical, part political commentary and part anecdotal.   And, in spite of my criticism, overall I enjoyed reading it.  There's no doubt  that it's well written and easy to read with some genuinely funny moments.  But occasionally it's also a little annoying, particularly when the author launched into sharing his opinions and various episodes from his personal life.    I did also find sections of the book fascinating though, such as his descriptions of various paths he'd visited and trails he'd embarked upon (but not always finished). 

All in all, it's a blistering journey indeed!

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