Diagonal Walking will be published in April 2019. It follows the progress of a walk through England, and is sub-titled 'Slicing Through The Heart of England'. I chose this sub-title due to the nature of the walk. I took the very centre of England and drew a line at 45 degrees NW to SE through it, and walked that line to within 2 miles with side, using only public footpaths and rights of way.
At the beginning of 2018, I was just an ordinary man, as confused as everyone about what was happening to my country - why was it so angry? Why had it voted to reject the existing order? Rather than become enraged, I decided to engage. My walk was an attempt to understand what was going on, to re-connect with my country. It was also an opportunity to have some fun, to listen, walk, look, breathe.
What I didn't know was the summer of 2018 was going to be dominated by extremes, of both weather and politics, unseen for at least a generation. This is the story of what I encountered, and what I learned.
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!
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 Factories are now either rotting away or have been replaced by warehouse distribution centres.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
A walking book a thoughtful engaging look at the people he met on the way.Fascinating and engaging to find out what people in England think about Brexit life in general.In the grand tradition of Bill Bryson a travel book that also involves modern technology such as Instagram that was fun following. A really enjoyable travel book.
by Abby S
Inspired me to book a UK holiday this year. Easy reading, you can dip in and dip out. Fascinating to read the dialogue with he people he meets along the way. Just need another lovely summer this year!
Nick Corble is a prolific author, having written over 20 books for a variety of publishers, as well as self-publishing his first travelogue and his first novel. His subjects have included both fiction, both novels and short stories, and non-fiction. He is perhaps best known for his works on the canals, including his first book Walking on Water, which followed a trek down the spine of the inland waterways system on a battered old narrowboat on the eve of the millennium. Since that first book, he has written a biography of James Brindley, the pioneer behind the canal system, as well as a guide on how to live on board a narrowboat, amongst other works.
He has also written walking guides for Countryside Books and a series of books on the English Funfair, including Frost Fairs to Funfairs for Amberley Publishing, a history of the English funfair, and Riding The Wall of Death for The History Press, perhaps the definitive history of that iconic fairground attraction. There's much more detail on his website.
Nick is married and lives in Buckinghamshire. His next book Diagonal Walking follows hot on the heels of his second novel The Bond or Last Man Standing, now available through Amazon.