Troubador Diagonal Walking

Released: 28/04/2019

ISBN: 9781789018356

eISBN: 9781838599003

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

Diagonal Walking

Slicing Through the Heart of England


Like many others, Nick Corble was confused. Unsure of where his country was going, he decided to get engaged rather than enraged. Using only public footpaths, Diagonal Walking traces a walk along a unique line cut at 45 degrees through the very centre of the country. Starting just north of Liverpool and ending on the south coast of Kent, Nick passed through affluence and austerity. Writing with disarming honesty, he chronicles what he discovered, not only about his fellow countrymen, but also about the state of the nation itself as it faced its greatest challenge for generations.

Diagonal Walking is more than simply a long distance walk or another take on Brexit. Determined to reach out to listen to, and learn from, as many voices as possible, Nick planned to involve both the virtual and real world in his trek. As he donned his rucksack for the first time, what he couldn’t have foreseen was that the summer of 2018 would be marked by extremes of both weather and politics unseen for at least forty years.

Funny and insightful, Diagonal Walking packs a punch, providing the reader with plenty of food for thought, and maybe even the incentive to do something similar.

I liked the way this one is written. It kept me engaged and totally interested in England and the way things are going there. If it sounds interesting pick it up!

by Lindsey

One of my favourite book genres is the walking book, whether it is the insightful comedy of Bill Bryson, the imagery of Robert Macfarlane, the psychogeography of Iain Sinclair or the classicism and romanticism of Patrick Leigh Fermour. From these books you not only usually receive a geographical and topographical narrative but gain a deeper understanding of the society and changes of the land that the writer is traversing through. The object of Nick Corble's 39 day diagonal walk across England was not only to chronicle what he saw but to gain an appreciation and obtain a snapshot of his country post the Brexit vote.

Using only public footpaths he undertakes the long distance walk from the Lancashire to Kent coast during the hot summer of 2018. This is not a book about Brexit, indeed the people he engaged in conversation had often a marked reluctance to talk about it seeing it rather as an abstract concept. It is though always in the background an ever present but ill defined phenomena lacking a fully formed meaning. I have recently read two other walking books that in part cover the route undertaken here and from them all one gets a sense of the sheer magnitude of the deindustrialisation that has effected large areas of the country over the recent past. Factories are now either rotting away or have been replaced by warehouse distribution centres. Tourists have replaced dockers and miners and the only industry left is that of heritage.

Nick Corble is a genial and humorous guide and there are many amusing stories as he struggles against the neglect (much of it deliberate) that is encountered trying to follow what should be public rights of way. Staffordshire heads the list for not looking after its footpaths and byeways. Walking through cities, towns, villages and open country the writer has produced an insightful commentary on how well various communities are doing which range from the just about coping to the just given up. I certainly thoroughly enjoyed the book and hope that Nick will consider further journeys of exploration in the future.

by G Heard

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