The Salt Path
Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

The Salt Path Details

TitleThe Salt Path
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 22nd, 2018
PublisherMichael Joseph
ISBN-139780241349649
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Travel, Biography

The Salt Path Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    A very different spin on those we think of as homeless, because these two people did everything right, and lost everything. Added to this they find out Moth, Raynors husband has a degenerative disease. How much can two people handle? With very little money, with no where to go except sleeping on friends couches for the foreseeable future, they decide to walk. Taking only the necessities, they decide to walk the South West coastal path, 630 miles. So this then is their story of this trip, and the A very different spin on those we think of as homeless, because these two people did everything right, and lost everything. Added to this they find out Moth, Raynors husband has a degenerative disease. How much can two people handle? With very little money, with no where to go except sleeping on friends couches for the foreseeable future, they decide to walk. Taking only the necessities, they decide to walk the South West coastal path, 630 miles. So this then is their story of this trip, and the things they see and experience. The descriptions and the prose is impressive, vivid. Their descriptions of the physical pain they experience is anguishing. They take up past St. Isaac where my favorite show Doc Martin is made and through Cornwall and it's copper mines, where Poldark is filmed. They have a few run ins with wild life, and meet some quirky characters. They are called old, in their fifties, by many who can't believe they are walking so far. They wild camp, not having the money for campgrounds. They find out they are stronger than they thought, braver than expected, and feel proud of their accomplishment. The story starts out in darkness, but ends in light, as ........well read the book and find out. Don't think you'll be disappointed.ARC from Netgalley.
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  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Penguin Books who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss. This is an inspiring memoir written by Raynor Winn, wife of Moth Winn and mother of their adult children Rowan and Thomas. This utterly devoted married couple find themselves homeless at the age of fifty. They've spent their married lives restoring a farmhouse in the English countryside stone by stone, which they also parlayed into a family business. They have farm animals, a vegetable garden, and the ability to share Thank you to Penguin Books who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss. This is an inspiring memoir written by Raynor Winn, wife of Moth Winn and mother of their adult children Rowan and Thomas. This utterly devoted married couple find themselves homeless at the age of fifty. They've spent their married lives restoring a farmhouse in the English countryside stone by stone, which they also parlayed into a family business. They have farm animals, a vegetable garden, and the ability to share their lives as well as pay their bills. When they made a failed investment at the advice of an old friend, a court case ensued against the Winns. At the last minute they procured a document to prove that they were not liable in the court case; however, the judge refused to accept it into evidence because it wasn't submitted in a timely fashion. Not only did they lose the court case, but everything they had built together their whole marriage. They would be homeless in five days. As if this tragedy wasn't enough, Moth's persistent shoulder and arm pain was just diagnosed as CBD, or corticobasal degeneration- a degenerative brain disease. If the diagnosis was sound (there is no actual test for it), in several years Moth could fall into dementia and die by choking on his own saliva. Moth was the first one to ever say the words "I love you" to Raynor, and she loved this beautiful man since they were teenagers. Raynor remembered reading a book called "Five Hundred Mile Walkies" decades ago which involved walking the entire coastline from Minehead in Somerset, North Devon, Cornwall, South Devon, to Poole in Dorset...otherwise known as the "South West Coast Path". This would involve walking approximately 630 miles over rivers, moorland, hills, rocks and beaches...and wild camping! So, they stored some treasured furniture, purchased a used tent on eBay, bought two large rucksacks and put one foot in front of the other. Their only financial sustenance was forty-eight pounds weekly, which would be deposited in their bank (a government tax credit due to Moth's recent inability to work) and they could withdraw from cash machines. I love human interest stories about people who triumph over adversity (or at least try). Being resourceful, finding strength you didn't know you had, living life instead of just giving up...this book was all those things. The arduous journey had a miraculous curative effect on Moth. He was advised to rest by his doctor, but the one time they lived in a small cottage (in exchange for refurbishing it) Moth's body was racked with pain. A master wall plasterer by trade, he could only work about four hours a day while in extreme pain. However, once they resumed hiking Moth regained his strength and agility. They had to make little money stretch by eating noodles, tuna, rice- and when desperate- fudge bars. Every morning, they would heat up their own tea on a tiny gas stove. They would longingly watch other people eat large meals with dessert like they were watching a movie. Often times when they would splurge on eating in a shoppe, they would share something. One time when they shared "the best pasty ever made" , a seagull swooped in and stole it from Raynor. They were often hungry, hot, cold, smelly and wet. Finding a safe place to pitch the tent for the night was always a challenge. Any rare but necessary diversions into a city were a problem with extra and often surly people around, and less available options for safely pitching a tent. They would breathe a sigh of relief slipping back into the countryside. Many times people they encountered would approach, becoming intrigued upon seeing "older people" such as the Winns with large rucksacks, and wondering if they were walking the South West Coast Path. They would get personal and ask how the Winns had the time to do this. They soon found out if they were honest and said they were homeless, people would get a distrustful look in their eyes and quickly drift away. Raynor talked about the skin peeling off her nose, the leathery consistency of her skin, and the eventual thin, muscular and toned transformation of their bodies. The first time she was able to enjoy the use of a communal hot shower, she spent a very long time in there, washing the bird's nest of her hair and having a good long cry. There were also several encounters with morning dog walkers as she squatted to perform her morning constitution! There are too many personal stories to recount during this pilgrimage that made this book uniquely special. The one part I did not enjoy was the intricately detailed account of nature every step of the way. Admittedly, I'm not a nature lover or outdoorsy person, but I just skimmed a bit over those parts. Raynor Winn is a very gifted writer, and she will sweep you away like one of the many rainstorms they dodged.I'll leave you with what was for me the most beautiful moment of the story: Moth said, "When it does come, the end, I want you to have me cremated. Because I want you to keep me in a box somewhere, then when you die the kids can put you in, give us a shake and send us on our way. Together. It's bothered me more than anything else, the thought of us being apart. They can let us go on the coast, in the wind, and we'll find the horizon together."
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  • Bookread2day
    January 1, 1970
    This is my favourite non fiction novel because it's about a mid age couple who tell a true story. It made me cry for them loosing everything that they had worked for all their lives. It also made me cry of how little money they had to buy something to eat on their journey walking to Cornwall. Raynor and Moth had lost their home and their business. The bailiffs came in and took everything that they owned. They have almost no money for food or shelter. With little money they did have they buy a te This is my favourite non fiction novel because it's about a mid age couple who tell a true story. It made me cry for them loosing everything that they had worked for all their lives. It also made me cry of how little money they had to buy something to eat on their journey walking to Cornwall. Raynor and Moth had lost their home and their business. The bailiffs came in and took everything that they owned. They have almost no money for food or shelter. With little money they did have they buy a tent and walk the salt path to Cornwall. Sometimes they have to choose to either eat or use a little money for a ferry. The one thing that went through my mind while reading this true story is how lucky I am to have a roof over my head and food to eat. With all my heart I definitely recommend reading The Salt Path, to every reader in the world.
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  • Ingrid
    January 1, 1970
    After a few pages into the book I googled the author. I had missed before that this is a non-fiction book, a kind of memoir. I thought it was a novel at first because Raynor Winn writes very well.The decisions she and her husband made after having lost nearly everything in their lives are so far beyond how I would react that it makes interesting reading on the one hand and annoying on the other. They run away from one set of problems to encounter another. The struggle is painful and I admire the After a few pages into the book I googled the author. I had missed before that this is a non-fiction book, a kind of memoir. I thought it was a novel at first because Raynor Winn writes very well.The decisions she and her husband made after having lost nearly everything in their lives are so far beyond how I would react that it makes interesting reading on the one hand and annoying on the other. They run away from one set of problems to encounter another. The struggle is painful and I admire their perseverance. In my comfortable home I cannot begin to feel what they must have felt. I can see that this walk worked for them. By following the coastal path for nearly 600 miles they manage to face their demons and deal with them as best as they can. Hopefully they will have many years together ahead of them.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    When this book first caught my eye I picked it up and but it down again, because I thought that the story it had to tell might pull me down at a time when I needed to be lifted up; but a warm recommendation and the news that the author would be appearing at my local literary festival sent me back to the bookshop to buy a copy.It was a wonderful investment!A story of people who had more than their fair share of trial, but who fought back by realising what was important in life and living their li When this book first caught my eye I picked it up and but it down again, because I thought that the story it had to tell might pull me down at a time when I needed to be lifted up; but a warm recommendation and the news that the author would be appearing at my local literary festival sent me back to the bookshop to buy a copy.It was a wonderful investment!A story of people who had more than their fair share of trial, but who fought back by realising what was important in life and living their lives accordingly!Raynor Winn’s husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness; the couple lost a court case and incurred massive debts that would swallow up everything they owned, because the evidence that they were not liable arrived to late to be admissible in court; and that was why baliffs were hammering on the door to complete the process of taking their farm and livelihood away.They hid under the stairs, because they didn’t know what else they could do.‘I was under the stairs when I decided to walk. In that moment, I hadn’t carefully considered walking 630 miles with a rucksack on my back, I hadn’t thought about how I could afford to do it, or that I’d be wild camping for nearly one hundred nights, or what I’d do afterwards. I hadn’t told my partner of thirty-two years that he was coming with me.’It was mad but it was the only thing they could do to stop being dragged down by the ruin of their past lives, to not undermine friendships by having to accept help and be grateful, and to avoid being a burden and a worry to their two grown-up children.The idea was sparked by the book ‘500 Mile Walkies’ by Mark Wallington. I haven’t read it but the Man of the House has and he loved it.Their only income would be £48 per week, they were homeless anyway, so why not walk the south-west coast path?!The couple harboured their meagre resources to buy a new lightweight tent, a couple of sleeping bags and new rucksacks; and to get themselves to their starting point – Minehead in Somerset.The walking was gruelling – especially for Moth, who had been advised that the best thing he could do for his condition (corticobasal degeneration or CBD) was to take life slowly and steadily – but as long as they kept moving the couple could forget that they were homeless and be happy that they were doing something together.They had no money for official campsites, so wild camping was the order of the day, and it wasn’t easy to find a suitable spot each night, or to get up, pack up and be out of the way before anyone could object to them being there in the morning. Their limited budget meant that their usual diet was noodles, tins of tuna, and sweets. It was tough – particularly when they saw visitors using amenities and eating pasties and ice creams – but they endured and they became healthier.The walk would not be a miracle sure for Moth, but it slowy became clear that it was having a positive effect in his health.‘The path had given us certainty, a sense of security that came with knowing that tomorrow and the next day and the next we would pack up the tent, put one foot in front of the other and walk.’Along the way he and his wife saw the best and the worst of human nature. Many people when they heard that they were homeless, or when they saw that they looked shabby and were eating the most basic rations, shunned them, called them names and made unwarranted assumptions. But others were supportive and encouraging, offering food and drink, and offering sensible and useful advice.All of that gave the author a very real concern for the plight of the homeless.She wrote beautifully about her emotions, her experiences, and about the path that she and her husband for walking. Sometimes when I read books about the south-west I’m looking out for the places close to home that I know well but that didn’t happen with this book, because I was so caught up in the moment. Reading was rather like hearing an account from a friend who is open and honest, who has a wonderful way with words, and who knows exactly what details to tell, which anecdotes to share to make a good story.When I heard her speak her voice was exactly as it had been in her book.There is much that I could share, but I’m just going to say that you should read the book and find out those things that way.There are highs and low, there are moments to make you smile and moments to make you sigh, in this wonderful true story of homelessness, love and endurance.
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    A middle-aged couple in the UK, facing bankruptcy and a terminal illness diagnosis, decides to take off and walk the South West Coast Path in the United Kingdom, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Most identity crisis take-a-walk memoirs are from younger, healthier people who still struggle physically, emotionally, and financially, but all of those elements are worse here. They are frequently mistaken for vagrants, asked to leave, and sometimes given food for free (and they really A middle-aged couple in the UK, facing bankruptcy and a terminal illness diagnosis, decides to take off and walk the South West Coast Path in the United Kingdom, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Most identity crisis take-a-walk memoirs are from younger, healthier people who still struggle physically, emotionally, and financially, but all of those elements are worse here. They are frequently mistaken for vagrants, asked to leave, and sometimes given food for free (and they really need it in these moments, so the kind strangers are not wrong!)There is a bit of desperation in the pages. The path is almost insurmountable, but they do not have any way to make a living or any place to live. So they walk. It almost intersects more with books like Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century than with your typical sojourning books. I enjoyed reading about the landscape of the cliffs of this region and definitely spent some time looking up images on the internet. It is a shame that so many of these communities seem actively opposed to travelers coming through, when clearly the path has a long history.I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    I am not normally a fan of the memoir in general, but this one was pretty good. It had a lot of interest for me in its setting as I spent many childhood holidays in Cornwall and Devon and have family in Poole. So everywhere Ray and Moth went I could visualise the sights and sounds and the beautiful scenery.When I read memoirs I often wonder how the other people in the book feel about having their problems and their lives exposed to the rest of the world - or to the ones who read the book anyway. I am not normally a fan of the memoir in general, but this one was pretty good. It had a lot of interest for me in its setting as I spent many childhood holidays in Cornwall and Devon and have family in Poole. So everywhere Ray and Moth went I could visualise the sights and sounds and the beautiful scenery.When I read memoirs I often wonder how the other people in the book feel about having their problems and their lives exposed to the rest of the world - or to the ones who read the book anyway. I felt for Moth so much that I did a quick internet search and made sure that he is still alive and actually doing well despite his awful diagnosis. It appears too that Raynor is a much feted author in the UK as a result of this book.Anyway it told of a brave (or foolish) couple who set out to walk 630 miles of the British coastline with a small tent and hardly any cash reserves. They were much, much tougher than I could ever imagine and truly deserved to be successful. An interesting and nicely written tale, well worth reading.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    The bad news came fast, Raynor Winn's husband had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, they had just lost a court case even though they had the evidence that they were not liable for debts and now the bailiffs were hammering on the door to take their farm and livelihood away. Their only income would be £48 per week. It is at times like these that some people would have a breakdown or consider a more permanent end to the problems, they didn't; inspired by the book 500 Mile Walkies by Mark The bad news came fast, Raynor Winn's husband had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, they had just lost a court case even though they had the evidence that they were not liable for debts and now the bailiffs were hammering on the door to take their farm and livelihood away. Their only income would be £48 per week. It is at times like these that some people would have a breakdown or consider a more permanent end to the problems, they didn't; inspired by the book 500 Mile Walkies by Mark Wallington they decided that as they were homeless anyway they may as well walk the south coast path. With the precious little money they have, they buy a new lightweight tent, a couple of sleeping bags and new rucksacks and drive the van to Minehead in Somerset as that is where all the guidebooks begin. Moth's condition of corticobasal degeneration or CBD, meant that the doctor had advised him to take it easy and not to overdo it; probably not attempt a 630-mile walk around the spectacular coastline of the south-west. The first part of the footpath is probably the toughest section with the high cliffs and steep paths and it is a struggle for both, but Moth in particular. They have no money for official campsites, so wild camping was the way to go, ensuring that they found a place out of sight, and were packed up before they could be discovered in the morning. They met all sorts of people of the walk, but telling those that they met that they were homeless would a lot of the time cause a lot of prejudice and they would be shunned, called tramps or worse. Sitting eating a shared pack of budget noodles when other are stuffing pasties and ice creams in, is quite soul destroying. However, there were others who would be prepared to help, providing hot drinks, paying for food, and even a millionaire wine importer who wined and dined them for an evening. One man they met on a cliff path told them about salted blackberries, picked right at the very end of the season just before they turned when the flavour was most intense and dusted with the salt from the sea they gorged on them whenever they could find them. They had completed a fair chunk of the route, before stopping and staying with a friend, earning a little money and starting to plan a future once again. Rather than head back to where they had stopped, they came to Poole and started from the other end walking through the Jurassic Coast back to the place that they had stopped a few months previously. This is a heartwarming and inspiring story of a couples fight back against a life-changing legal decision that left them totally penniless. Winn writes with an honesty that is quite moving, she is open with her feelings and her thoughts about the people she meets on their walk and the events that led to them walking. There are some moments in here that may make you cry as well as some amusing anecdotes that will have you chuckling. What does come across throughout the book is the inner strength of Raynor and Moth, to overcome a financial situation that most could not recover from, the way that Moth manages to use the walk to improve his health and that being in the right place at the right time can offer an opportunity that can be life-changing. If there is one thing that can be taken from this, it is that there is nothing that human optimism can't overcome. 4.5 stars
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful book that made me think about what’s really important to me and what matters in my world. Moth and Raynor find themselves homeless, and then things get even worse when Moth is diagnosed with a terminal illness. With nothing else to do, and no where else to go they walk the South West Coastal path. The bravery and sheer determination the couple have is breathtaking. I really enjoyed it and recommend it highly. It’s made me grateful for my home and my bed, and of course my health. The A beautiful book that made me think about what’s really important to me and what matters in my world. Moth and Raynor find themselves homeless, and then things get even worse when Moth is diagnosed with a terminal illness. With nothing else to do, and no where else to go they walk the South West Coastal path. The bravery and sheer determination the couple have is breathtaking. I really enjoyed it and recommend it highly. It’s made me grateful for my home and my bed, and of course my health. The writing is perfect in parts and very poetic. A lovely, bravely honest book....
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  • El
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to like this book. The story has the potential to be a life-affirming, heart-warming work and I love walking but I just couldn't get on with the style which, for me, was flat and monotonous and the tale itself was repetitive and overlong in many areas. I felt it needed harsher editing to pare what is a fascinating story down to its core but there was so much repetition that I lost interest. It did pick up a little towards the end but by then I was just waiting for the book to end I really wanted to like this book. The story has the potential to be a life-affirming, heart-warming work and I love walking but I just couldn't get on with the style which, for me, was flat and monotonous and the tale itself was repetitive and overlong in many areas. I felt it needed harsher editing to pare what is a fascinating story down to its core but there was so much repetition that I lost interest. It did pick up a little towards the end but by then I was just waiting for the book to end. I realise I'm in a tiny minority here so please read it for yourself to make up your own mind.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    It was the worst of times. Just after Winn learned that her husband Moth had CBD, a rare degenerative brain disease, they lost a court case pertaining to their investment in a friend’s failed business; bailiffs seized their house to pay off the debt. They’d relied on renting out their barn as a holiday cottage, so in one fell swoop their home and livelihood were gone. For two fifty-somethings, one of them terminally ill, the decision to buy minimal supplies and walk England’s South West Coast Pa It was the worst of times. Just after Winn learned that her husband Moth had CBD, a rare degenerative brain disease, they lost a court case pertaining to their investment in a friend’s failed business; bailiffs seized their house to pay off the debt. They’d relied on renting out their barn as a holiday cottage, so in one fell swoop their home and livelihood were gone. For two fifty-somethings, one of them terminally ill, the decision to buy minimal supplies and walk England’s South West Coast Path from Minehead to Poole might seem rash, but they had nothing to lose and nowhere else to go; “we really didn’t have anything better to do at half past three on a Thursday afternoon than to start a 630-mile walk,” Winn wryly observes.Camping wild and living off a £48-a-week government tax credit, which just about kept them in noodles, tins of tuna, rationed tea bags and sweets, Ray and Moth cover mile by grueling mile, but they are always bone-weary, hungry and weather-beaten. As long as they keep moving, Moth’s health seems okay and they can forget that they are effectively homeless. Indeed, Winn is deeply concerned about the plight of the homeless, especially after seeing the change in people’s faces and demeanor on the rare occasions when she and Moth admit that the designation applies to them too. She’s learned that “civilization exists only for those that can afford to inhabit it,” and that middle-class life is a lot more precarious than we assume.The details of walking the long-distance path in 2013–14 reminded me of Simon Armitage’s Walking Away – and in fact, in a running gag, Moth keeps being mistaken for Armitage along the way and asked for impromptu poetry readings.Winn writes beautifully about the natural world and the internal, emotional landscape, blending the two with her use of imagery from the salt path. I do hope she’ll write more books. This was a worthy entry on the Wainwright Prize shortlist this past year. [Just a shame about all the dangling modifiers and other minor errors; one hopes these will be fixed for the paperback edition.]Favorite lines:“Things we thought we would never be able to bear were becoming less jagged, turned into round river stones by the movement of the path.”“The scrub hedge and dusty arable land carried on, flat and easy, our legs falling into a metronome of motion without thought.”“The path had given us certainty, a sense of security that came with knowing that tomorrow and the next day and the next we would pack up the tent, put one foot in front of the other and walk.”
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a memoir, following a middle aged couple, Ray and Moth, as they lose their family home in a complex legal battle and Moth receives the devastating diagnosis of a terminal illness. With not much left to lose, they embark upon a 630 mile backpacking adventure along the South West Coast Path, with only the barest of essentials and minimal money. This book was absolutely stunning, deeply personal and highly emotional. I was in tears from the first couple of pages. The author's writing is sub This is a memoir, following a middle aged couple, Ray and Moth, as they lose their family home in a complex legal battle and Moth receives the devastating diagnosis of a terminal illness. With not much left to lose, they embark upon a 630 mile backpacking adventure along the South West Coast Path, with only the barest of essentials and minimal money. This book was absolutely stunning, deeply personal and highly emotional. I was in tears from the first couple of pages. The author's writing is sublime, her depictions of the scenery, weather, the nature and people they meet along the way are beautiful and realistic and so different every time. It's almost like being there with them.Despite the reasons for Ray and Moth undertaking this 'escape', this book is anything but melancholic or mournful; rather it is completely uplifting and inspirational. I fell in love with them both and would love to sit with them, enjoying a cone of chips or a pasty, out of the view of the seagulls!I highly recommend this book.
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  • Fondantsurprise
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this book. I’d heard so many amazing things about it. But I struggled. I don’t want to leave an unkind review so I’ll say — some of the nature writing is beautiful. I just didn’t get on at all with the internal commentary.
  • Spurnlad
    January 1, 1970
    Disappointing. Too much self-pity for my liking. A great idea and a good choice for the situation, but i just couldn't identify with the people.
  • Perri
    January 1, 1970
    "Winn and her husband Moth, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness become homeless after a bad investment and decide to walk the the Cornish coastline." It sounds horribly depressing, but it's really rather empowering as she is given the gift of time and travel to take measure of her life and what's important. There's introspection and connections with nature and people, sometimes humorously described, but always human. And since this is a journey I can't imagine ever taking, Winn allows me to "Winn and her husband Moth, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness become homeless after a bad investment and decide to walk the the Cornish coastline." It sounds horribly depressing, but it's really rather empowering as she is given the gift of time and travel to take measure of her life and what's important. There's introspection and connections with nature and people, sometimes humorously described, but always human. And since this is a journey I can't imagine ever taking, Winn allows me to vicariously enjoy the beauty of the walk without the struggles, although I'm also missing out on the resulting strength and progress. Thanks to Val for sending me her copy :)
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  • Nigel
    January 1, 1970
    I'm going to be a bit of an odd one out here. I was looking for forward to this. I know parts of the South West Coast path fairly well. It's a true story about folk who are having a pretty bad time. It should be good. Parts certainly were and I definitely enjoyed some of it. However other bits left me cold or worse. I found the author quite hard to like (though her husband seemed OK but this is not from his perspective). There were times when I felt she was enjoying her bad luck to too great an I'm going to be a bit of an odd one out here. I was looking for forward to this. I know parts of the South West Coast path fairly well. It's a true story about folk who are having a pretty bad time. It should be good. Parts certainly were and I definitely enjoyed some of it. However other bits left me cold or worse. I found the author quite hard to like (though her husband seemed OK but this is not from his perspective). There were times when I felt she was enjoying her bad luck to too great an extent. Other parts simply hit a bum note for. Not bad but not what I had hoped for.
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  • Michele
    January 1, 1970
    For me this is another 'H is for Hawk': a profoundly moving, deeply personal account of a year and a bit in the life of Raynor Winn as she and her terminally ill husband walk the South West Coast Path after losing their home and most of their money.As someone who used to love taking long walks, but now cannot because of an inoperable knee injury, I took great pleasure in reading this book. It made me laugh and made me cry, but it also gave me hope.I received an e-ARC of this book from Net Galley For me this is another 'H is for Hawk': a profoundly moving, deeply personal account of a year and a bit in the life of Raynor Winn as she and her terminally ill husband walk the South West Coast Path after losing their home and most of their money.As someone who used to love taking long walks, but now cannot because of an inoperable knee injury, I took great pleasure in reading this book. It made me laugh and made me cry, but it also gave me hope.I received an e-ARC of this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review
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  • Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎
    January 1, 1970
    This is the true story of a middle-aged couple, Moth and Ray, who due to a badly handled court case suddenly find themselves homeless, having lost their home and livelihood; and if it wasn’t enough, there are further bad news: Moth is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Contrary to medical advice, they embark on a 630 miles journey on foot, wild camping along the South West Coast Path. They have forty-eight pounds a week in tax credits, sometimes even less, to live on, not enough to afford accomm This is the true story of a middle-aged couple, Moth and Ray, who due to a badly handled court case suddenly find themselves homeless, having lost their home and livelihood; and if it wasn’t enough, there are further bad news: Moth is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Contrary to medical advice, they embark on a 630 miles journey on foot, wild camping along the South West Coast Path. They have forty-eight pounds a week in tax credits, sometimes even less, to live on, not enough to afford accommodation and nutritious food. Struggling against fatigue (having to carry everything they need on their backs), hunger and thirst, walking under scorching heat and stormy rain, they face the stigma of being homeless and encounter a few good Samaritans, falling under the spell of the land and the sea.I liked the book writing, very poetic and with vivid descriptions of nature’s beauty, but also the author’s insightful passages on grief. It’s an inspiring and moving story of courage, survival and resilience, of grief and, above all, love. 3.5 starsFav quotes:We sat on the bus; it was a strange sensation to move so quickly, covering a distance that would have taken us hours on foot in just a few minutes. The path had taught us that foot miles were different; we knew the distance, the stretch of space from one stop to the next, from one sip of water to the next, knew it in our bones, knew it like the kestrel in the wind and the mouse in his sight. Road miles weren’t about distance; they were just about time.When do you accept that someone you love is ill? When a doctor tells you, or when you see it with your own eyes? And if you finally do accept it, what do you do then? Most sane people would instinctively care for them, relieve their pain, ease their suffering. I couldn’t do either. I couldn’t accept it, so I told myself it simply wasn’t true.We walked on quietly together, through the syrupy air of the perfectly still evening. The sun was setting, lighting the sky in late July tones of gentle southern colour. The land ahead turned blue in the falling shadows and the lagoon fell silent, birdlife fading away as the water receded without wave or motion, leaving only channelled streams in the muddy sand.A small boat made its way back to the shore, a black shadow weaving quietly along rivulets of molten sky, disappearing as mud and stone blended together in the low rays of the last reflected light. A mist began to lift as the air turned silver and night blue, the reeds becoming dark silhouettes against the line of the pebble bank and the dimming sky.Groups of oystercatchers gathered to run together along the flat sand, rhythmically dipping their heads in an orange-booted line dance. We swam in the frothing incoming tide, surfing in on powerful waves of salt water that could have touched the shores of Iceland, Spain or America, a roaring broil that may have travelled thousands of miles or just two. We lay on our backs on hot sand and baked in the sun. Salt-crusted, preserved.
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  • Laurence
    January 1, 1970
    Een ongeluk komt nooit alleen: wat ik als ongeloofwaardig zou bestempelen in fictie, gebeurt soms gewoon echt in het echte leven. Knap hoe Ray en Moth na wat ze meegemaakt hebben (en met zijn fysieke conditie) deze tocht aanvatten en niet na twee dagen terug opgeven (wat ik dus waarschijnlijk wel zou gedaan hebben).Ray beschikt over een vlotte pen, en wat ze aanhaalt over daklozen in de UK is interessant. Daarnaast zijn sommige ontmoetingen echt bijzonder: dat maakt dit boek de moeite waard. Maa Een ongeluk komt nooit alleen: wat ik als ongeloofwaardig zou bestempelen in fictie, gebeurt soms gewoon echt in het echte leven. Knap hoe Ray en Moth na wat ze meegemaakt hebben (en met zijn fysieke conditie) deze tocht aanvatten en niet na twee dagen terug opgeven (wat ik dus waarschijnlijk wel zou gedaan hebben).Ray beschikt over een vlotte pen, en wat ze aanhaalt over daklozen in de UK is interessant. Daarnaast zijn sommige ontmoetingen echt bijzonder: dat maakt dit boek de moeite waard. Maar ik moet ook toegeven dat het verslag van de wandeling langs het pad voor mij soms wat monotoon werd, en soms vond ik het ook wel erg fragmentarisch geschreven, met abrupte overgangen. Maar ja, ik ben dan ook vooral een fictielezer, ik heb graag een vloeiende lijn in een verhaal.Desalniettemin: alle respect voor Ray en Moth, en hoe ze met hun miserie omgegaan zijn. Keep on walking.
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  • Aoife
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers/author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Salt Path is a non-fiction novel about how Raynor Winn and her husband Moth lose their home and pretty much the entirety of their income and with nowhere to go, decide to start walking the South West Coast Path. This should have been a refreshing but emotional read for me but unfortunately it just completely fell flat for me. I’m not sure if it was that I was just not in the I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers/author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Salt Path is a non-fiction novel about how Raynor Winn and her husband Moth lose their home and pretty much the entirety of their income and with nowhere to go, decide to start walking the South West Coast Path. This should have been a refreshing but emotional read for me but unfortunately it just completely fell flat for me. I’m not sure if it was that I was just not in the right frame of mind when reading this but I definitely felt like I would have a stronger emotional connection to the story and I just didn’t.I did like the parts in this story that really struck me, normally when Raynor and Mort were treated differently when people realised they were actually homeless and not people who had sold their home to go out on the road. The attitudes they met really made me think about how maybe I would act in the same situation and how I would treat people. I also really felt for Raynor and Mort in the way they really had to count every penny - they were surviving on nothing and even thinking about being in that situation is terrifying.Unfortunately by the time I reached halfway through this book, my interest and concentration in the story just completely panned out and I ended up skim reading the last chunk of it because I just wanted it to be over. It may have been some of the over descriptive passages about the coast trail they were following, and some of the historical bits that I don’t think we needed to know but none of that was particularly gripping unless the reader is someone planning to make the same trip/has made that trip.A great one for people who love walking, especially those walking the English and Welsh coastlines.
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  • Lydia Bailey
    January 1, 1970
    I was initially disappointed that this book wasn’t fiction. The blurb does lead you to believe it is. It is, however, very well written & extremely interesting. An autobiographical tale of a married couple in their fifties who, after a series of devastating blows, decide to walk the entire south west path (650 miles) because, really, they ‘had nothing better to do.’ In so doing, with hardly any money & therefore wild camping & living off fudge bars & noodles, they find answers to I was initially disappointed that this book wasn’t fiction. The blurb does lead you to believe it is. It is, however, very well written & extremely interesting. An autobiographical tale of a married couple in their fifties who, after a series of devastating blows, decide to walk the entire south west path (650 miles) because, really, they ‘had nothing better to do.’ In so doing, with hardly any money & therefore wild camping & living off fudge bars & noodles, they find answers to their questions & to their problems. They come to terms with the end of one life & the beginning of another. Triumph over adversity it certainly is. A test of endurance too. It could be a very gloomy read but moments of poignancy and natural reflection are interspersed with great humour. My only quibble with it is some of the sweeping statements made by the author about the areas they pass through (North Cornwall in particular where I have lived for 25 years) which aren’t totally correct. Also in places she is a a little patronising towards ‘the locals.’ I guess it’s hard to judge a county without stepping far off the coastal path though. Fave passage a statement from husband Moth, ‘we were homeless, lost our home, business, everything. I was dying so we thought, what the f***, let’s go for a walk’ A good read!
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  • Liina Bachmann
    January 1, 1970
    This will be an unpopular opinion amongst the five-star reviews - I found the book extremely tedious and at points downright irritating. It was not emotionally engaging at all for me. Although it has all the elements why it should and could be: a middle age couple loses they're home and everything they have ever worked for and on top of that, the husband is diagnosed with a terminal illness. So they decide to walk for 630 miles on a coastal path. Somehow Raynor Wind managed to describe all this This will be an unpopular opinion amongst the five-star reviews - I found the book extremely tedious and at points downright irritating. It was not emotionally engaging at all for me. Although it has all the elements why it should and could be: a middle age couple loses they're home and everything they have ever worked for and on top of that, the husband is diagnosed with a terminal illness. So they decide to walk for 630 miles on a coastal path. Somehow Raynor Wind managed to describe all this but leave me completely unmoved. Walking definitely has redemptive and healing powers, especially walking in such a beautiful natural setting as UK south-west coast is. But the description of their journey was repetitive, accompanied by the constant emphasising how brave they were and how god forbid, they were not like "the regular homeless people" and also almost always critical observations about other people. Also, it left me completely bewildered that in many instances she mentioned how she hadn't been in contact with her children for long periods of time. Which to me was just unbelievable - considering the father of the children was actually very ill - not to take the utmost care of charging your phone so the kids would at least know about the whereabouts. Overall, writing 300 pages about your suffering and discomfort is fine, but please don't if you don't have the writing talent to be at least a bit Tara Westover'ish while at it.
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  • Val
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Penguin for picking my name out of the hat for their giveaway! I have to admit to putting the book down for a time because the first 19 pages I read had ripped my heart out. I sobbed as I read them. In one fell swoop, this couple lost everything. Raynor Winn and her husband Moth lost their home, their livelihood, and their savings. As if that weren't soul-destroying enough, then Moth was diagnosed with a terminal illness. (It's even more heartbreaking than what I have written but I My thanks to Penguin for picking my name out of the hat for their giveaway! I have to admit to putting the book down for a time because the first 19 pages I read had ripped my heart out. I sobbed as I read them. In one fell swoop, this couple lost everything. Raynor Winn and her husband Moth lost their home, their livelihood, and their savings. As if that weren't soul-destroying enough, then Moth was diagnosed with a terminal illness. (It's even more heartbreaking than what I have written but I don't want to go into too much detail.) But, then! Then they picked themselves up in the most unimaginable way. They bought a couple of rucksacks, sleeping bags, and a tent ... and walked the 630 mile South West Coast Path. This is a couple in their early 50s! Amazing. I was so afraid I would cry as I read the entire book but imagine my surprise when I found myself laughing out loud at some parts - like this part that describes the beginning of their journey:Halfway up an excruciatingly steep zigzag path through the woods above Minehead, it became clear that Paddy Dillon was going to be the master of underestimation. We sat on a bench with a glimpse through the branches toward the sea, trying to breathe and reread his guidebook. "No, he definitely says 'drifts a little inland and uphill.'""Well if this is drifting, we're in serious shit if he says 'quite steep.'"(I should have picked the book up again, sooner!)What I loved most about The Salt Path, I think, was the utterly unbreakable, loving bond between Ray and Moth. I recommend this book!
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  • Renee Godding
    January 1, 1970
    Either 3.5 or 4 stars. Not quite sure yet. Review to come
  • Onceinabluemoon
    January 1, 1970
    Checked this out solely on the cover, but was instantly drawn in, totally unaware this was a memoir. A powerful and eye opening experience, it really makes me think twice about those you pass in daily life. Surprised at their reaction from others when they shared their truth, I realized I too would be taken a back and feel just as awkward and want to move along, but if they had shared their whole story I think the outcome may have been different. I do know I want to know more, I hope their is a Checked this out solely on the cover, but was instantly drawn in, totally unaware this was a memoir. A powerful and eye opening experience, it really makes me think twice about those you pass in daily life. Surprised at their reaction from others when they shared their truth, I realized I too would be taken a back and feel just as awkward and want to move along, but if they had shared their whole story I think the outcome may have been different. I do know I want to know more, I hope their is a follow up book in their future, wishing them much joy, success and good health, they are a remarkable couple in a very trying situation.
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  • Beth Bonini
    January 1, 1970
    This profoundly satisfying memoir/travelogue could be lodged under more than one category or genre on the bookshelf. It’s an adventure story: in which a middle-aged couple attempt to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path, camping ‘wild’ all the way. It’s a survival story: in which the elements, hunger, destitution and a frightening medical diagnosis all feature. It’s a story of social awareness: in which middle-class home owners can lose everything and discover that the various safety nets (le This profoundly satisfying memoir/travelogue could be lodged under more than one category or genre on the bookshelf. It’s an adventure story: in which a middle-aged couple attempt to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path, camping ‘wild’ all the way. It’s a survival story: in which the elements, hunger, destitution and a frightening medical diagnosis all feature. It’s a story of social awareness: in which middle-class home owners can lose everything and discover that the various safety nets (legal aid, social housing) have great holes in them. And finally, it’s a love story between a man and woman whose commitment to each other is rock-solid - even when every other foundation of their lives together is ripped away.And threaded through all of these stories is some very fine nature writing. Those adventurous souls who are curious about the South West Coast Path may want to read this book for just that reason: just as Ray and Moth Winn use Paddy Dillon’s guide throughout their journey, this book also draws attention to the beauty spots, physical challenges and human challenges of this wild coastal route.More important for me than the specific details of the trail were the philosophical benefits of Ray and Moth’s journey. An important trope of nature writing is the idea that Nature heals wounds - and the wounds healed in this book are physical, emotional and spiritual. About halfway through the book, the couple meets a fellow trail walker who comments on their appearance: “It’s touched you: it’s written all over you: you’ve felt the hand of nature. It won’t ever leave you now; you’re salted.” It’s an idea that recurs throughout the text: a whiff of salt spray, perhaps, but also the idiomatic sense of an ‘old salt’ - a storyteller whose been through some hard things. I also think of salt as seasoning, as a tenderiser. The author describes the physical transformation wrought by their journey, but more important still is the emotional changes they undergo. They head onto the coastal path because they have nowhere else to go and because they want to avoid bleak reality. But what they discover is an unexpected strength. They are honed; everything nonessential is rubbed (or ‘salted’) away. The very idea of losing my home - my past, all of the security I’ve laboured for - terrifies me. Ray communicates the horror of this so well that the beginning of the book may have you crying (or at least choking up) with empathy. But this is a heartening book in the end because Ray and Moth discover, gradually, that they are ‘free’ and the world still has promise and possibilities.
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  • Michael Cayley
    January 1, 1970
    What do you do when you are in late middle age, your husband has a painful terminal incurable illness, and you lose your home and the farm that is your livelihood?Raynor Winn and her husband Moth decide not to give in. They walk the 630 mile SW coast path, which runs from Somerset to Dorset via Devon and Cornwall, and is one of the toughest walks in the UK. Not just that, but they sleep rough, subsisting on next to no money.This book is an inspiration, full of some beautiful descriptions of natu What do you do when you are in late middle age, your husband has a painful terminal incurable illness, and you lose your home and the farm that is your livelihood?Raynor Winn and her husband Moth decide not to give in. They walk the 630 mile SW coast path, which runs from Somerset to Dorset via Devon and Cornwall, and is one of the toughest walks in the UK. Not just that, but they sleep rough, subsisting on next to no money.This book is an inspiration, full of some beautiful descriptions of nature, sometimes comic encounters with people, determination in the face of pain and hardship, and above all, of hope as Raynor and Moth find their inner strength grows.A must read.
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  • J.A. Ironside
    January 1, 1970
    After a 3.5 yr court battle, Ray and ger husband, Moth, lose their farm, their home, their livelihood and a lot of their confodence and self respect. Two days later they find put that Moth is slowly dying of a degenerative brain disease. So they decide to buy a tent and walk the 636 miles of the South West Coastal path. It sounds like it should be a bleak book. It's not. It has to be one if the most uplifting hopeful memoirs I've ever read. And it is a journey if healing too, learning to rely on After a 3.5 yr court battle, Ray and ger husband, Moth, lose their farm, their home, their livelihood and a lot of their confodence and self respect. Two days later they find put that Moth is slowly dying of a degenerative brain disease. So they decide to buy a tent and walk the 636 miles of the South West Coastal path. It sounds like it should be a bleak book. It's not. It has to be one if the most uplifting hopeful memoirs I've ever read. And it is a journey if healing too, learning to rely on yourself and your partner again when the world has really shafted you. Winn doesn't mince words or sugar coat the attitudes to homelessness they faced but the story is rife with sharp and gentle humour, funny adventures, almost ecstatic moments in nature and ultimately seeing the best of humanity too. We can all manage with so much less than we think we can and in many ways we'd be richer for it. An amzingly good book. Highly recommend.
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  • Toast
    January 1, 1970
    Blimey, I did wonder what I was in for when I read the first few chapters - they lost their home, business, savings, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Then they had this barmy idea to walk the South West Coast Path! I rarely read books about walking, I find them very repetative and unless you're actually going to do that walk, dull. But this one I did find fascinating, enlightening, positive, all the stuff it says on the cover. And more so because they really were homeless, they really w Blimey, I did wonder what I was in for when I read the first few chapters - they lost their home, business, savings, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Then they had this barmy idea to walk the South West Coast Path! I rarely read books about walking, I find them very repetative and unless you're actually going to do that walk, dull. But this one I did find fascinating, enlightening, positive, all the stuff it says on the cover. And more so because they really were homeless, they really were down to their last £2.00, they really were beginners - 'homeless hikers' as they called themselves, they were normal people who life had decided to give a kick in' too but they weren't going to be victims. They didn't know what they were going to do but they weren't just going to sit about and wait. I loved 'em and I wish I had their strength of character and gumption. Toast
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  • Imogen
    January 1, 1970
    An evocative and very moving account of a very long walk. This is a book about homelessness, illness and how to keep going when you've lost everything. It's about salt – salt from sweat, tears and the sea – and I'm sure it will stay with me for a long time.
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