All posts filed under: Reviews

A Long and Intimate Walk with John Hillaby

In an earlier post I mentioned my affection for John Hillaby‘s ‘Journey Through Britain‘. As promised, here’s a little more on this wonderful book. The Britain discovered by John Hillaby on his walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the late-’60s may well, for all I know, already have vanished. I haven’t been there, but he seems to predict its fading in the final pages of ‘Journey’, noting that open country is diminishing rapidly but concluding, a tad warily, that many parts of Britain are still inexpressibly beautiful. Inexpressibly? I don’t think so. The traverse of Britain between its southwest and northeastern points has been done innumerable times, on foot, and on wheeled contraptions ranging from bicycle to skateboard to wheelchair. Hillaby’s skill lies in vividly and effortlessly expressing the wisps of natural, social, ancient and modern history that float through his journey, one of the earliest well-documented ones in modern times. So early was it, in fact, that he refers to encounters with blue-jeaned beatniks in the early part of his walk! The book …