I was given Landlines by Raynor Winn for Christmas and read it in mid-February, glad to be swept away on a long-distance walk into wild weather and the peace of nature. This is the follow-up to Winn’s previous books The Salt Path and The Wild Silence and this time sees her and her husband Moth walk all the way from the north-west of Scotland back to their home in Cornwall.
They are walking to escape Moth’s illness and to see if the magic of landscape can prevent the progression of his health condition. They are also escaping their own small patch of Cornwall after the long second lockdown and the book is filled with reminders on how Covid made people distrustful of strangers and led to a lack of goods in the shops.
They start on the Cape Wrath Trail in the wilds of Scotland and traverse extreme wilderness, with ill-fitting boots, crazy weather and just hope and determination driving them on. It’s a medical miracle that this is even possible for Moth, and yet it is, and he manages so well that by the time they reach Fort William they decide to keep going.
Then follows the West Highland Way (those midges biting away) and on down the country along the Pennine Way and Offa’s Dyke until they finally reach the home stretch of the South West Coastal Path, which Winn’s first book made so famous. It’s a thousand mile journey that takes them the summer. The books ends with Moth seeing his specialist to find out if it had any impact on his health. Suffice to say that walking is good for the body, as well as for the mind and the soul.