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Walking Home

Travels with a Troubadour on the Pennine Way
Narrated by: Simon Armitage
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (202 ratings)

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Summary

In summer 2010 Simon Armitage decided to walk the Pennine Way. The challenging 256 mile route is usually approached from south to north, from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm, the other side of the Scottish border. He resolved to tackle it the other way round: through beautiful and bleak terrain, across lonely fells and into the howling wind, he would be walking home, towards the Yorkshire village where he was born. 

Travelling as a 'modern troubadour' without a penny in his pocket, he stopped along the way to give poetry readings in village halls, churches, pubs, and living rooms. His audiences varied from the passionate to the indifferent, and his readings were accompanied by the clacking of pool balls, the drumming of rain and the bleating of sheep. 

Walking Home describes this extraordinary yet ordinary journey. It's a story about Britain's remote and overlooked interior - the wildness of its landscape and the generosity of the locals who sustained him on his way. It's about facing emotional and physical challenges and sometimes overcoming them. It's nature writing, but with people at heart. Contemplative, moving and droll, it is a unique narrative from one of our most beloved writers.

©2013 Simon Armitage (P)2013 Faber Audio

Critic reviews

"He is diligent, prolific and wide-ranging. By balancing humour and gravitas, he generates great affection in his readers. If he is not careful, Simon Armitage will end up becoming a national treasure." (Mail on Sunday)

"Armitage has always been a wonderfully fluent writer, able to riff on almost any subject in either prose or poetry.... The result is a homage to an oddly old-fashioned Britain, full of glorious eccentrics and hearts of gold, but vividly believable for all that." (Financial Times)

"Armitage's great gift is his voice. He is able to make his walk talk as he does and I have never read a more fully inhabited book of walking. It is funny but moving, quiet but strong." (The Observer)

What listeners say about Walking Home

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A relaxing and enjoyable read

Simon Armitage, who narrates his own book, has a very relaxing voice which makes this an enjoyable read. His narrative about walking the Pennine way - using no money except that which he earns from readings of poetry along the way - is charming and interesting. He includes a couple of his poems later in the book which are magical.

13 people found this helpful

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A poet in his element

Would you listen to Walking Home again? Why?

Yes I would. It takes a while to get used to Simons voice as it is a little whiny. But it works well with words he uses that have a rhythmn and almost rhyme you would expect from a poet.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Walking Home?

Towards the end he wonders if he can ever do another live performance again as he has done so many during the walk. You get a real feeling for the dedication he has to his work, his craft and art and how much it can take out of him.

Have you listened to any of Simon Armitage’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have seen him on TV documentaries and he lacks a bit of passion as a presenter. But as an audiobook narrator he works much better.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No it is good to follow his journey in episodes as the walk was punctuated by his performances. A few days of his journey at a time is best.

Any additional comments?

A good insight into the pennine way and the character of a fine poet and social commentator.

5 people found this helpful

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Simon Armitage and the Pennine Way

Would you listen to Walking Home again? Why?

Yes, because it is such an evocative read. The poet paints a vivid picture of his adventure.

What does Simon Armitage bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He has a wonderful voice and an authentic Yorkshire accent. This is his own story and his reading is sincere and believable.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was emotionally engaged throughout as I am also from Yorkshire and know parts of the Pennine Way. I laughed out loud at many passages and felt really involved with the account at the end when he did not complete the walk.

4 people found this helpful

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Poetic and comedic. Real down to earth adventure.

Enjoyed this little big adventure with my favourite modern day poet tremendously. I don't agree with other reviews about his lack of excitement. I found him to be full of humour with a strong balance between enthusiasm and the reality of the task at hand. His manner is not unusual for a Yorkshireman, takes one to know one I suppose! (Lancashire to be honest). I am familiar with some of the areas he travelled through and found it added to my enjoyment.
I will certainly listen again. Looking forward to the next journey!

4 people found this helpful

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Familiar Countryside that I didn't recognise.

I'm not sure about this book I enjoyed the walk but I know, and have often walked, a lot of the middle sections of the Pennine Way. Somehow I didn't recognise any of the places from the word pictures that Simon Armitage painted. I found that this bothered me. I also found that I only got a very superficial view of the people he met along the way. I have read many books about walking, in familiar and unfamiliar surroundings and most I found more engaging than this one.

3 people found this helpful

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Mind over Matter

Born in Derbyshire, I knew nothing of The Pennine Way or any of the places,except Kinder Scout where I also got drenched. However it was brought to life by the thoughtful,, amusing descriptions and musings of Simon Armitage. Most enjoyable. Thank you

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderfully entertaining ramble down the Pennine Way

Simon Armitage is a master craftsman. The book is a joy. It takes you along with him every step of the way. It’s poetic, humerus & full of soul. I could listen to his mournful Yorkshire tones all day long. Brilliant. Thank you for suffering the Pennine Way on foot and in the writing, so we could come with you.

2 people found this helpful

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Compulsive Listening a modern Wordsworth.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, a modern commentary and a view of the North beautifully presented.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Simon Armitage as himself.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, once you accept his inimitable presentation you will not want to put it down.

Any additional comments?

Give me more of this.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved It!

I'd seen a lot about Simon Armitage (living in West Yorkshire) but had never actually read any of his poems or even heard his voice. I always thought he looked a bit dark & serious & imagined him to be something like a cross between Ted Hughes & Alistair Campbell...a bit threatening! How wrong I was - he has a lovely voice & I found this book very entertaining & honest. There were just 2 parts that upset me-the bit where the pupils at his reading thought he wanted them to leave (I wanted him to say that he got in touch with them, explained & apologised & arranged another reading to make up for it) and the bit where he told a man (who looked devastated) that he just couldn't carry his hand written poems that he tried to give him....reallly?? Why didn't you just take them? Anyway apart from that I found him to be very warm & sincere and I can't imagine anyone not liking this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting travel tale

Very descriptive about people and places on his walk.
His narrative made you want to read on. Humorous anecdotes along the way were entertaining.

1 person found this helpful