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Walking Away

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  408 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Not content with walking the Pennine Way as a modern day troubadour, an experience recounted in his bestseller and prize-wining Walking Home, the restless poet has followed up that journey with a walk of the same distance but through the very opposite terrain and direction far from home.

In Walking Away Simon Armitage swaps the moorland uplands of the north for the coastal
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published June 4th 2015 by Faber & Faber (first published June 2nd 2015)
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Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a sequel to Walking Home, the account of his 2010 trek along the Pennine Way, Armitage walked much of the Southwest Coast Path in August–September 2013. As before, he relied on the hospitality of acquaintances and strangers to put him up along the way and transport his enormous suitcase for him so he could walk about 10 miles a day to his next poetry reading. Emulating a modern-day troubadour, Armitage passed around a sock at the end of readings for donations (though the list of other stuff p ...more
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners
Recommended to Bettie by: Laura

Description: Not content with walking the Pennine Way as a modern day troubadour (an experience recounted in his bestseller Walking Home), Simon Armitage has followed up that journey with a walk of the same distance but through the very opposite terrain and direction, far from home.

The restless poet swaps the moorland uplands of the north for the coastal fringes of Britain's south west, once again giving readings every night, but this time through Some
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Having read and enjoyed Walking Home a few years ago, I was excited to come upon Walking Away while browsing in a London bookstore. I have to say, however, that I was a bit disappointed in this one, which is essentially the same story (only the location has changed) and thus for me lacked the freshness and originality which made Armitage's first walking foray so much fun. It often seemed, in fact, that Armitage himself was experiencing that same sense of "been there, done that" while on this wal ...more
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
This is the second book of this nature from Simon Armitage, the first being his hard slog along the Pennine Way where he started in Scotland and made his way to his home town in Yorkshire. This book is a travelogue of his journey along the South West Coastal path that goes from Minehead to Land's end through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. He makes it to the mysterious and lush Zennor and the Isles of Scilly. My enjoyment of this account was bolstered by my own love of this area and my hopes of ex ...more
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
Not content with walking the Pennine Way as a modern day troubadour (an experience recounted in his bestseller Walking Home), Simon Armitage has followed up that journey with a walk of the same distance but through the very opposite terrain and direction, far from home.

The restless poet swaps the moorland uplands of the north for the coastal fringes of Britain's south west, once again giving readings every night, but this time through Somerset, Devon and Cornw
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable account of the poet's walking journey from Minehead to the Scilly Isles via the north Coast of Devon and Cornwall. This is an improvement on the partner book, the earlier Walking Home, which I found oddly resistible in that, I guess, I could not imagine myself making the journey. A few years later and myself now a runner, I have a different perspective on physical activity and this book talked to me much more. Armitage's wry voice came across amusingly this time around and I felt ...more
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage decides to undertake a walk along the south west coast of England, a sort of follow-up to his previous book where he walked the Pennine Way. He pays for his bed and board along the route by giving poetry readings, attempting to be a modern troubadour. This was a lovely little read for a Sunday evening. Armitage has that meandering and amusing way of writing that reminds me of Bill Bryson. And now I want to go to Cornwall.
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Amusing, satirical and obviously poetic description of the meanderings and sojourns of a beloved poet. I really enjoyed it, easily recommended. x
Helen Laycock
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
If, like me, you’ve heard Simon Armitage speak, you may well share my experience: the internal voice that I heard as I read was unmistakably his. It is lilting, mellow and unhurried, and, in direct contrast to the physical exertion of Armitage’s challenging journey, the reader is pleasantly rocked through from beginning to end. Walking Away is a book which cannot be rushed.

As a fan of Simon Armitage’s poetry, it was interesting to examine his approach to prose. You can tell he’s a poet. There ar
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a throughly enjoyable companion to 'Walking Home'. Same premise, long walk, put up and fed by random kind people, largely strangers, conducting poetry readings nightly. And yet it was different to Walking Home. Armitage is very much away from his home territory (although the encounter with the sister of someone he was at school with is heartbreakingly vague) The walk itself was quite different in character - the route not quite such an iconic macho feat, yet he is clear that there is mu ...more
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage walks the South West Coast path of England, with considerable time spent in Cornwall. His descriptions of physical landscapes are gorgeous, but the memoir seems crowded with detail, much like the abundance of flotsam and jetsam and litter he sees on the North Atlantic shore. The people he meets are quickly described, though their living situations are at times eccentric and many are interesting subjects. Thank goodness for Slugg, a friend who makes the journey (and ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
As is always the case with Simon Armitage, this book was a great read. I'll be honest and say that I didn't like quite as much as Walking Home, but not because the quality of the writing was any less. I think part of the reason for this is because Yorkshire holds a much greater appeal for me, being one of my favourite parts of England, and I have visited many parts of it. But I think the main reason was that the characters Simon met this time were not as rich and varied. There just didn't seem t ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Simon Armitage goes for a nice stroll in my neck of the woods. He's an amiable companion and cheerfully blags lifts and beds for the night in return for poetry readings around the northern half of the south west coast path. Slowly destroying both his joints and his boots he meets and travels with a diverse bunch. Very much a sequel or companion piece to Walking Home, it's pretty much more of the same. I'll even forgive him for referring to my current home stretch of Portreath and Porthtowan as ' ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
In an earlier book Simon Armitage "walked home" from the north end of the Pennine Way to ohis home at the south end. Here he walks away long the South Coast Trail in Devon and Cornwall. This is another walk of self discovery, including the practical bit about whether a wandering poet could support himself by readings and the help of volunteer hosts along the way. Armitage has a wonderflly wry way of observing the world around him and an appreciation of the trail which seems to be a series of up ...more
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I hadn't read Armitage's previous book about walking the Penines, or indeed any of his poetry. My interest in this book was the walk along the Devon and Cornwall coast. I'm personally more familiar with the south coast, but I understand why he'd choose the north instead: less touristy, more dramatic landscape, etc.
And the book works pretty well as a travelogue, with a deft mixture of personal anecdote, observation, landscape and history, with a couple of his poems thrown in to break things up (a
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I thought that I would be receiving this as part of my 2016 Christmas bounty; but it did not arrive until my birthday 2018. As with “Walking Home” I really enjoyed it. Again it brought back memories; more so this time because I had walked a number of sections of the path and can attest to the “ups and downs” involved in almost all stretches. Again I enjoyed the poems, and recognised some of them from earlier readings. I am sad that we will get no more of these, but I do not imagine this is the l ...more
Kevin Turner
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
I was drawn to the book by the various positive reviews it received in the press and our attempts to walk the SW Coastal Path (in short bursts) over the years.
Armitage is a good of storyteller and I enjoyed this book very much. At times it becomes a bit repetitive and towards the end I was yearning for some alternative action but it didn't happen. Nevertheless an enjoyable read especially if you're familiar with the places visited on his journey.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I get the feeling that Armitage didn't enjoy this coastal journey as much as his original Pennine Way version. The observations are sharply focused and insightful at times, and it's enjoyable to follow the people and the places, but like the little coastal villages he finds himself in every evening, it all feels a bit the same at times.
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this. I like Simon Armitage: I like his public persona, his dry humour, his sharp observation, his honesty, his wit. It's just a pity I could never get into his poetry. This account of his walking/poetry reading tour along part of the South West Coast Path is interesting, readable, informative, entertaining and made me laugh out loud several times.
Muriel Thomson
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having recently walked the SW coast path, I enjoyed this book particularly when Simon Armitage found some of it as difficult as I did.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As ever, Armitage's unique reflections and meanderings never fail to interest and entertain.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
More enjoyable than his previous book about Walking Home. More upbeat.
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, england
I didn't think too much about the wide variety of walkers and destinations while I was in Australia, but a brief trip to England made me much more aware of just how long this activity has been practiced there and throughout Europe for far more than "getting places". This book captures far more than the walking guides to encourage others. It also suggests the many views one can take of the activity in itself and within a broader frame.
Beth Evans
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Thoroughly enjoyed it. A very easy book to pick up and put down whenever and still feel fully immersed in the journey. Ironically, didn't feel repetitive at all. Despite him passing virtually the same scenery everyday for 3 weeks, each day felt unique and brought a new coastal themed musing to the table.
Simon Dicey
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Entertaining in part. It was good to read about places I have visited and cannot see anytime soon due to lockdown. SA uses great prose and humour to describe his arduous journey. I probably would have enjoyed the book more had I not read The Salt Path last year ( an excellent book which I thoroughly recommend ).
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: un-finished
This book by Simon Armitage follows his walk along the south west of England's coast path - where he goes, who he meets and occasional every day thoughts and musings. I was surprised that at the start of the book the style of writing wasnt as descriptive as I would have expected from someone who is a writer, primarily a poet, but it improves. I like the fact that there are some pictures to break up the text - photos that he has taken, although they are in black and white. There are a couple of p ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another amiable walk with Simon Armitage. Very similar in style to his account of walking the Pennine Way, but where that was familiar territory to him, here he is more of a visitor to a strange land.

I wonder what his various hosts and companions made of his descriptions of their brief encounters and spare bedrooms. I actually knew one of the hosts in the first book and it was a pleasant surprise to suddenly see them appear.
Gemma (Non Fic Books)
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
An enjoyable read full of Armitage's signature dry wit and charm but without the delight and love of 'Walking Home'. It is easy to see that he did not enjoy this walk in the way he did the Pennine Way so there is greater focus on the people he meets than the countryside he is walking through. I'm not sorry I read it but I won't be rushing to re-read it.
Steve Chilton
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
The author walks south west coast path from Minehead to the Scillies, reading his poetry at various places on the way. It makes for an entertaining but lightweight read. It is obvious that the south west coast path is not an easy walk, and suffering from the long distance walk along add to the fun. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable account of an epic walk across the north devon and cornwall coast. He brings his poet's eyes and ears to his surroundings and his tales of encounters with other walkers and fans are entertaining. There's nothing ground-breaking about this book but it's a gentle read which makes you appreciate the simple pleasures of walking, eating and sleeping.
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Simon Armitage, whose The Shout was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, has published ten volumes of poetry and has received numerous honors for his work. He lives in England.

Armitage's poetry collections include Book of Matches (1993) and The Dead Sea Poems (1995). He has written two novels, Little Green Man (2001) and The White Stuff (2004), as well as All Points North (1998),

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