The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
From the acclaimed author of The Wild Places, an exploration of walking and thinking
In this exquisitely written book, Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge, England, home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove roads, and sea paths that crisscross both the British landscape and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, and of pilgrimage and ritual.
Told in Macfarlane’s distinctive voice, The Old Ways folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. His walks take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird islands of the Scottish northwest, from Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. Along the way he crosses paths with walkers of many kinds—wanderers, pilgrims, guides, and artists. Above all this is a book about walking as a journey inward and the subtle ways we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move. Macfarlane discovers that paths offer not just a means of traversing space, but of feeling, knowing, and thinking.
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Atlantic beech birds boat boulders Broomway Cairngorms cairns called centuries chalk Chanctonbury Ring coast crossing dark deer Doggerland Edward Thomas Eric Ravilious eyes Faber feet felt Finlay followed foot footpaths footprints forest gannets gneiss Gordon Bottomley granite green grey ground guga Helen hills Icknield imagine island Isles John journey Lairig Ghru land landscape Lewis light limestone lived London looked marked Mesolithic Miguel miles Minch Minya Konka moor mountain moving Nan Shepherd Neolithic night northwest Outer Hebrides Oxford passed path pilgrimage pine Poems Press Raja Ramallah Ravilious reached ridge river rock route sail sand sea roads shieling side sleep slope snow song Steve stones stories Stornoway Sula Sgeir summit surface There’s Thomas’s tide tracks trail travelled trees valley W. H. Hudson walker walking weather wind wood wrote