And Did Those Feet
By Charlie Connelly
The landscape of the British Isles is filled with history, much of which we miss as it flashes past the car window. Do we even realise that we're following the same path as the Tolpuddle Martyrs, or that we're driving past the exact spot where King Harold was killed, shot through the eye with an arrow? As a lover of both history and the British countryside, Charlie Connelly decided to rectify this, and set out on a series of walks that recreate famous historical journeys. En route he retells the story of the original trip while discovering who and what now inhabit these iconic routes. Walking in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Charlie journeys alongside Boudicca's ghost in Norfolk, relives Bonnie Prince Charlie's flight to Skye disguised as Flora MacDonald's maid and takes the same 32-mile round trip as the starving Louisburgh famine walkers. He suffers broken toes, becomes trapped in the Scottish Parliament and encounters dead poets and a surprisingly high number of mad old women in woolly hats. Told with Charlie's customary charm and wit, And Did Those Feet will reveal the historical secrets hidden in the much-loved coastal, country and urban landscapes of Britain.
Another Long Day On The Piste
By Will Randall
Writer, adventurer, ex-teacher and veteran of umpteen travel disasters, Will Randall has fallen off donkeys in Spain and out of canoes in the Solomon Islands, but none of this has prepared him for a disastrous season as a ski-bum with a posse of raucous, hard-drinking ex-students.Dismally unfashionable and hopeless at skiing, Randal finds that his stay in the charming Alpine backwater of mont St Bernard brings a whole host of new opportunities for domestic catastrophe, romantic rejection and public humiliation, including a stint as a chalet girl and an encounter with a Russian oligarch and his hair-raising entourage.Wry, self-deprecating and deliriously funny, ANOTHER LONG DAY ON THE PISTE is a rollercoaster of a travel adventure and essential apres-ski reading.
Adrift In Caledonia
By Nick Thorpe
One clear morning in May, Nick Thorpe left his Edinburgh flat, ducked off the commuter route and hitched a ride aboard a little white canal boat, heading west towards the sea. It was the first mutinous step in a delightful boat-hopping odyssey that would take him 2500 miles through Scotland's canals, lochs and coastal waters, from the industrial Clyde to the scattered islands of Viking Shetland. Writing with characteristic humour and candour, the award-winning author of EIGHT MEN AND A DUCK plots a curiously existential voyage, inspired by those who have left the warm hearth for the promise of a stretched horizon. Whether rowing a coracle with a chapter of monks, scanning for the elusive Nessie, hitting the rocks with Captain Calamity or clinging to the rigging of a tall ship, Thorpe weaves a narrative that is by turns funny and poignant - a nautical pilgrimage for any who have ever been tempted to try a new path just to see where it might take them. Part travelogue, part memoir, ADRIFT IN CALEDONIA is a unique and affectionate portrait of a sea-fringed nation - and of the drifter's quest to belong.
By Matthew Polly
Matthew Polly was your typical 98-pound weakling with sand kicked in his face - until he decided to learn to kick back. Dropping out of university, he travelled to China to study at the granddaddy of all Chinese martial arts monasteries: the Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of both Zen Buddhism and kungfu. But, as Confucius might have said, path to becoming kung fu master very difficult. For one thing, no one knew where exactly the Shaolin Temple was. And asking for directions proved problematic - after three years spent learning Mandarin in college, Matthew couldn't understand a word outside the classroom. He finally found the Shaolin village hidden away between five mountain peaks. But the hard part was yet to come. The Chinese term for tough training is chi ku (eating bitter) - and Matthew quickly leaned to appreciate the phrase. By the end of the second day of training his knees were in agony and he was walking like the dead - and that was just the induction.American Shaolin is the hilarious story of Matthew's remarkable two-year travel odyssey - a tale of gruelling training, forbidden romance and an eye-watering insight into the art of 'iron-crotch' kungfu.
Attention All Shipping
By Charlie Connelly
This solemn, rhythmic intonation of the shipping forecast on BBC radio is as familiar as the sound of Big Ben chiming the hour. Since its first broadcast in the 1920s it has inspired poems, songs and novels in addition to its intended objective of warning generations of seafarers of impending storms and gales.Sitting at home listening to the shipping forecast can be a cosily reassuring experience. There's no danger of a westerly gale eight, veering southwesterly increasing nine later (visibility poor) gusting through your average suburban living room, blowing the Sunday papers all over the place and startling the cat.Yet familiar though the sea areas are by name, few people give much thought to where they are or what they contain. In ATTENTION ALL SHIPPING Charlie Connelly wittily explores the places behind the voice, those mysterious regions whose names seem often to bear no relation to conventional geography. Armchair travel will never be the same again.
By Martin Fletcher
After seven years as Washington correspondent of THE TIMES, Martin Fletcher set off to explore the great American 'boondocks' - the raw and untamed land that exists far from the famous cities and national parks. His extraordinary journey takes him to places no tourist would ever visit, to amazing communities outsiders have never heard of, to the quintessential America. He encounters snake-handlers, moonshiners, creationists, outlaws, polygamists, white supremacists and communities preparing for Armageddon. He goes bear hunting in West Virginia, fur trapping in Louisiana, diamond digging in Arkansas and gold prospecting in Nevada. From the eccentric but friendly to the frankly unhinged, the inhabitants of backwater America and their preoccupations, prejudices and traditions are brought vividly to life.'Fletcher is not only capable of excellent penmanship, but is also able to view the country and its people as both outsider and insider, and does so without being judgmental. I found his warm and subtly humorous style very appealing, and I highly recommend this book' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY