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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 out of 5 stars (141 ratings)
Regular price: £13.99
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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 members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Dull and ponderous

Gave this as much of a chance as I could. Made it halfway through but just found it too boring to finish. Think it needed more information and stories about the different areas as the walk itself doesn't seem to have generated much of interest to write about. Think the book suffers because in the end the walk wasn't much of a challenge and it didn't really involve meeting interesting people or really much else of interest happening, so it didn't leave much for the author to write about. Author's narration is a bit droney which doesn't help.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Fiona S
  • Bingley, W.Yorks, UK
  • 26-10-18

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Plod plod plod blah blah blah

I love poetry and walking. This combines the two so I'm on to a winner but......

The poets describes the 2nd half of his journey as plod, plod, plod, blah, blah, blah. Pretty much sums up the whole experience to me.

Gave up after 6 hours which is the first audio book I have failed to finish in 200 books.

He is articulate, descriptive has an exceptional eye and turn of phrase but he is not a narrator.
It was like being back in the 1980s with the most tedious history professor who lost the passion for his job 30 years previous. He lost me after 5 minutes.

Monotone, quiet and lacking of passion. It seemed like the same sentence from the start to finish.

I understand he planned it, walked it, experienced it, edited it and performed it but I feel his pain and felt I had experienced all that too.
I am giving 3 stars for his effort.

Next time please employ a narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Roderic
  • Victoria Park, Australia
  • 07-10-14

Muted content; dire narration

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No, though I admit I did finish it.

Would you recommend Walking Home to your friends? Why or why not?

No. I chose it for a perspective about the Pennine Way and that aspect of the book was dolorous. the poetical and observational perspectives were OK, but just OK.

What didn’t you like about Simon Armitage’s performance?

Armitage's voice drones terribly and has very little animation. The main reason I listen to audiobooks rather than read the text equivalent is to get the added value from the narrator: in this case there was none.

Do you think Walking Home needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • WARRINGTON, United Kingdom
  • 16-02-19

Ok but a bit self indulgent

I got this in a deal and was happy with it based on what I paid but was glad I didnt pay full price. I enjoyed some of it but it felt like it had a fair bit of padding. I found the rationale for the end really self indulgent and also almost a pop at many people’s desire to complete the walk. This is probably unfair and just me being a bit grumpy about the end. Simon does an ok job of narration - a little Alan Bennetish at times. Sadly it hasnt led me to go and seek out any more of his books or poems. Recommended if buying in a deal but probably not at full price.

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