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Hardcover , pages. More Details Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 12, Fiona rated it really liked it Shelves: e-books , netgalley , biography , nature-writing , travel-writing. Those of a non pedantic disposition should not read my review!

I was happy with that. For someone who loves nature to be gradually losing the ability to hear birdsong is a tragedy. Also, he has other health problems that are making the physical demands of walks such as these less likely in the future. Ansell ruminates on these problems occasionally but not to the point of becoming maudlin. So what are my problems with the book? Well, was there? Or was it that he could hear nothing? In my experience, nature is rarely, if ever, silent.

Out of the Wilderness

Secondly, there were inconsistencies in his text. It was usually possible to track his walks on an OS map so I know that his description of looking down on a loch around which there was no trail is just wrong. I checked with walking websites and the route along the north side of the loch - his side - is a clear and popular track. Thirdly, those with little experience of walking in wilderness areas are unlikely to follow in his footsteps but sadly some will and every year the rescue services are called in to search for idiots who have set off with little preparation and less of a clue.

Ansell frequently gets lost and relies only on his sense of direction and the hope that he will see a hill or loch that he recognises to set him back on the correct path. I find that completely irresponsible and frankly idiotic. He also drinks directly from mountain streams and lochs without first purifying the water.

Dead sheep juice anyone?

Lastly, Ansell is very well travelled having spent much of his life wandering around the world backpacking. Of course it does, you say, everything reminds him of something else. And breathe Overall, I really did enjoy this book for the reasons given at the start of my review. Ansell raises thoughtful questions about solitude. Is it only a pleasure when we know we have someone to return to?

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For me personally, the answer to that question is easy. Definitely 4 stars and recommended if you love NW Scotland or would like to learn more about it. With thanks to NetGalley and Tinder Press for a review copy. View all 9 comments. Feb 04, Paul rated it it was amazing Shelves: natural-history , books-read , wainwright-prize. Neil Ansell like being alone left to his thoughts and musings and preferably in a place where he can absorb the tranquillity whilst being outdoors. It hasn't happened as much as it used to as he now has two daughters and the responsibilities that come with being a parent.

His chosen wilderness is the West Coast of Scotland.

Walking Home

This landscape offers the heady mix of islands, white beaches and blue seas, temperate rainforests yes really , undisturbed lochs and majestic mountains. He has chosen this Neil Ansell like being alone left to his thoughts and musings and preferably in a place where he can absorb the tranquillity whilst being outdoors. He has chosen this part of the UK to take long walks across the terrain in each of the seasons, aiming to immerse himself in nature and become part of it rather than just an observer. The interplay of light across the rolling hills as the weather changes almost minute by minute.

Being so remote, the chances of coming across other people is unlikely and as he treads softly across the landscape and his solitary presence means that he gets to see far more of the animals that inhabit here. The joy of watching otters slipping into the sea lochs, seeing stags silhouetted on the skyline and seeing golden and sea eagles soaring above is tempered by a profound change in the way that he senses the world around.

Almost deaf in one ear, he had relied for years on his other, but now that is fading from the highest frequencies down and the bird songs that once delighted him now inhabits his memories only. Ansell is widely travelled; five continents and over fifty countries is quite a record. He has lived in a forest in Scandinavia, hitchhiked across countries, seen the wild animals of the Amazon, lived in squats in London and spent five years in a cottage in Wales with no running water or electricity.

By returning to the same part of Scotland, it feels like a spiritual journey and he connects deeply to the landscape each time he visits, but it is tinged with the remorse that he has of no longer being able to hear the birdsong. It is a beautiful book to read, he has a knack of teasing out all that he sees around him into the most exquisite prose. Another excellent book from Ansell. View all 3 comments. Jan 20, Rebecca rated it really liked it Shelves: memoirs , nature , read-via-netgalley , offered-by-publisher-author , reviewed-for-blog , travel-books.

In the Wilderness | God With Us |

Many travel books are about the quest for new, exotic places and the widest possible range of experiences; many nature books focus on the surprising quality and variety of life to be found by staying close to home. He mourns each sign of diminishment, such as the meadow pipits whose call he can no longer hear. Depth of experience is replacing breadth for him, though flashbacks to his intrepid world travels — an African safari, hitchhiking in Australia, time in Sweden and Costa Rica — show that he has tried both approaches. Solitude and survival are more powerful themes there, though they echo here too.

Once again, he writes of magical encounters with wildlife and gives philosophical reflections on the nature of the self. Originally published on my blog, Bookish Beck.

About Walking Home

View all 7 comments. Aug 24, Natalie CuriousReader added it. Shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize Feb 19, Karen Mace rated it it was amazing Shelves: the-book-vipers-magic-squarec. I found this to be a calming and enlightening read and am in total admiration of the author and wilderness walker, Neil Ansell, who sets off alone to enjoy the beauty that the world has to offer despite his own failing health.

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It is set in the North West Highlands and the descriptions make it sound like heaven on earth! Would have loved to have had some photos to accompany the text, but he has a wonderful way with words that helps paint the picture of the scenes he encounters.

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And wit I found this to be a calming and enlightening read and am in total admiration of the author and wilderness walker, Neil Ansell, who sets off alone to enjoy the beauty that the world has to offer despite his own failing health. And with his failing hearing, you do get the sense that he picks up more on the sights although he does mention the sounds he misses as his beloved songbird soundtrack is slowly disappearing to him because of his deafness. This doesn't stop him setting off alone to explore the Highlands and noticing changes in the wildlife and scenery from trips he's made years ago, and it does make you worry about the mess that humans are leaving behind, especially as he even finds rubbish dumped along one of his paths in the middle of nowhere.

It's a fascinating mix of nature writing as he encounters a variety of wildlife, alongside his own thoughts on his love of the solitude and how that hasn't always been compatible with his lifestyle, and that he doesn't feel he's missing out on things because he likes to be alone.

The Coming Wilderness Journey (Our Second Exodus)

It also touches on how those travelling nowadays aren't really cut off from the world with the use of GPS and the internet, as opposed to when you'd occasionally get sent a postcard from someone away and how you can never really be cut off from what's going on in the world because of technology and that saddens him.

I loved how he wrote this over a period of 5 visits over a year so you get to see the changes each season bring and how his outlook differs over each time. It was absorbing and uplifting and I will be more interested to pick up the other books from this author now to enjoy more of his adventures and views. Oct 25, Chantal Lyons rated it it was amazing. This book won't appeal to everyone, but it has a huge amount to offer to anyone who loves nature writing. It's much more repetitive than a lot of other recent books of nature writing, though not exactly in the format of "person going to the same place over and over" like Rob Cowen's 'Common Ground'.

No - what makes this book "repetitive" is the narrative pattern that the author follows in each section: he heads out with a general route in mind, he walks, climbs and scrambles, he finds This book won't appeal to everyone, but it has a huge amount to offer to anyone who loves nature writing.