A really good read - The Salt Path
If I outline the story of this inspiring, heart-lifting memoir you might wonder why I’ve chosen those particular adjectives to describe it.
In the course of just a few days, Raynor Winn looses both her home - a farm in Wales where she has lived for over 20 years with her husband, Moth - and her livelihood - a holiday rental business they ran from the farm. The couple are then told that Moth has an incurable and terminal neurological disease.
It hardly sounds like the premise for a cheery, uplifting read does it?
An extraordinary decision
But in the depths of their bewildered despair, homeless and virtually penniless, Raynor and Moth, both in their 50s, decide to do something extraordinary. They decide to walk the length of the South West Coast Path, from Somerset, through Cornwall and Devon to Dorset. All 630 miles of it.
Carrying the bare essentials in rucksacks, camping wild every night and spending as little as possible on food along the way (pot noodles feature strongly in their cash-strapped diet), Raynor and Moth begin their journey in Minehead in the sunshine of late August.
Joys and challenges
I won’t give away where and how it ends, but I will tell you that Rayonr’s unflinchingly honest, beautifully evocative prose makes you feel as if you are experiencing every vista of the dramatic sea-framed scenery, every, sometimes glorious, sometimes alarming, sound of the natural world that surrounds them, and every, frequently tortuous, step of the wildly undulating route, alongside them.
Sharing their joys and challenges, willing them on through the rain and wind, hunger and tiredness, welcoming the heartening kindness of some of the people they meet along the way, and seething at the casual cruelty of others, you become as vested in the couple’s odyssey as they are themselves.
A journey of a different sort
Most of all, though, you witness how, together, they make another, very different journey, from despair and grief to a sense of freedom, acceptance and hope
As Raynor writes
“At last I understood what homelessness had done for me. it had taken every material thing I had and left me stripped bare, a blank page at the end of a partly written book. It had also given me a choice, either to leave that page blank or to keep writing the story with hope. I chose hope.”
The Salt Path is an unforgettable book about the meaning of home, the capacity of human strength and endurance, and the redemptive power of nature. It will beat a path to your heart and sear itself on your soul.
What should I be reading next? Let me have your book recommendations please!
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