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Where the Wild Winds Are: Walking Europe's Winds from the Pennines to Provence

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  47 reviews
As a six-year-old child, Nick Hunt was almost carried away in a gust from the Great Storm of 1987. Almost thirty years later he set off in search of the legendary winds of Europe; from the Helm, to the Bora, the Foehn and the Mistral.

Where the Wild Winds Are is Nick Hunt's story of following the wind from the fells of Cumbria to the Alps, the Rhone to the Adria
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 7th 2017 by Nicholas Brealey Publishing (first published 2017)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  255 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Spencer Orey
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic study of the wind. I learned a ton and it made me think about the wind in ways I had never expected. The conversational style made it nice to read in the afternoons with a cup of tea. Will write more someday in the future :)
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Living on the south coast we have got used to the wind now. It blows across the Atlantic, up the channel and can vary from a pleasant breeze to a howling gale. Whilst it is a constant feature of life in Dorset, there are a lot of winds around the world that are such a part of the landscape that they have gained a certain amount of notoriety and their own name. Most have heard of the Mistral, the wind that scours the French Provencal landscape as it sweeps down to the Mediterranean, but around Eu ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: may-2019
Weather fascinates me, and therefore when I spotted Nick Hunt's Where the Wild Winds Are: Walking Europe's Winds from the Pennines to Provence in Fopp, I did not hesitate before picking up a copy.  This non-fiction work was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Awards in 2018, and chosen as a book of the year by The Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, and The Spectator respectively.  Amy Liptrot observes that the book is 'packed with wonder', and Jan Morris concurs, writing that it is 'full to the brim with learning, entertainment, description, scientific fact and conjecand Thethe Dailyby TheHunt's Where ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
At its core, this book is the product of a project to write a travel book on a topic that seemed to the author to have never been written about before. In some writer's hands, this could be little better than a letter written home, of interest only to the writer and perhaps his close family.

Instead, Nick Hunt combines travelogue, observation, research, insight and wit in a very clever, seamlessly readable book. He explains the nature and origin of the winds (the most famous of the 'n
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, reviewed
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

From the moment the great storm of 1987 almost blew six-year-old Nick Hunt away, he has had the urge to travel. So many travel books are on the market, it is difficult to produce something new and exciting, but after coming across an interesting map of Europe, Hunt was determined to go on a journey that not many have attempted before. With a map listing the named winds of Europe, Hunt sets off on a quixotic quest to follow the winds.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Grateful for the chance to read through the giveaway program.
Being confined through illness, vicarious wild walking is a treat,and this was certainly wild! It is an interesting and unique book traversing varied landscapes,climatic conditions and wind induced phenomena experienced by the author as he sought Europe’s winds. I learnt a lot about how wind shapes not just landscapes but architecture,culture,legend,health and well-being.
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, walking
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

As a keen walker, I always enjoy a good walking memoir, especially one with an unusual hook, so when I saw a copy of Where The Wild Winds Are on a friend's bookshelf I had it borrowed faster than he could say, 'I haven't actually read that myself yet'! I'm more of a fair weather walker so the idea of deliberately searching out walks to undertake them when strong winds were blowing struck me as odd to say the least. I thought Nick Hunt mig
John Kaye
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended to me, but I found it very hard going, and the winds hardly featured. There's a lot to say about these winds, and I have been in many of the places where they happen, occasionally when they happen. It was more of a travelogue, and often very elementary in its descriptions and style. In fact there hardly seemed to be any style at all, and I got tired on the silliness of his travelling arrangements. Jan Morris or Paul Theroux it wasn't! A few Google searches got me original and relevan ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
This book is all over the place, literally and figuratively. His project is not well-focused, and so it mostly consists of him wandering around in storms, or hoping the Big Wind of wherever he is will blow up soon. So it took me forever to read, because there was no focus and I just didn't care. His first book was much much better.
Chantal Lyons
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was a tad uncertain about whether I'd like this book - I prefer my nature writing to be about living things, not weather. But Hunt's book is just too charming.

It might winds (an eclectic passion) that drive Hunt on various sojourns through Europe, but everything that he encounters along the way is characterful - the mountains and valleys, the villages and towns, and the people most of all. It never fails to astound me to reminded how big even the small continent of Europe is, how m
Clive Gerrard
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was SO looking forward to reading this book .... unfortunately it left me somewhat disappointed. The book is well written and the language complex with fine use creative adjectives, idiom and similes. However, I couldn't understand the premiss behind it. Why??? Why did the author take these arduous treks alone through snowfields and heat? It seemed dangerous in the extreme, especially as he states that his maps weren't very good ....
Its not until the acknowledgements when it seems he had
Brigid Gallagher
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nick Hunt's quest to follow four winds - Helm, Bora, Foehn and Mistral around Europe takes the reader on a journey through rugged and wild landscapes with few inhabitants. Nick also discovers the the power of the mighty winds on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being...
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a beautiful book and a pleasure to read. A must for people who want something a bit different and a bit special from their travel/nature books.
Emily Purcell
I don't usually read travelogues but this authors quest to experience the named winds of Europe is beautiful and poignant although ultimately a bit silly in the context of larger things.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
If Nick Hunt had been writing in the ‘golden age’ of travel writing, a few decades ago, he would have been up there alongside Raban, Chatwin and others. He’s too young for that – this is only his second book, after the wonderful ‘Walking the Woods and the Water’. However, he writes with astonishing depth and maturity, and clearly will build a readership waiting eagerly for his next book.

At the beginning of this one, he stands in the travel section of a bookshop, overcome by the impression that
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
What research this author must have find literature, art, geography information to match his travels. I thought this so well-written.

p. 51, from "The Hobbit":
Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.

p.102: "..the dictionary term is 'psithurism', the noise of wind passing through leaves - an evergreen language that sounded like whispered words"

p. 130: Hermann Hesse's "Peter Camenzind...about a young man
Harold Rhenisch
Nick Hunt has a poetic imagination and is rock-solid in describing landscapes and winds. He's also great with people, especially quirky, flamboyant people, or people living in hardship. He does less well with Germans — well, Swiss-Germans. The people of Lichtenstein are OK. By the end of his remarkable and thoroughly-enjoyable walk chasing the winds of Europe (which includes splendid failure and lots of waiting and emergency bus rides when the winds pop up at more-than-walking-distance), he gets ...more
Elle Maruska
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh this was such a beautiful book! The author writes not only about the winds he chases from England to Croatia to Switzerland to France but the people who live with these winds, the cities and towns built in the paths of these winds, the stories, legends, pride and madness inspired by these winds and taken together this book is about so much more than just a walking journey.

From discussing how the Mistral wind in Provence has influenced building styles to how pirates in Croatia took advantage
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
There are dozens of named winds in Europe, and in this book Nick Hunt walks the course of four of them: the Helm of the northern Pennines, the Bora of the Dinaric Alps of Trieste, Slovenia and Croatia; the warm, 'snow-eating' Foehn of Switzerland and the Mistral of Provence. As he makes his journeys through these buffeted landscapes, he muses on the impact of wind on our natures, folklore and art and culture. He is particularly good at capturing the psychological impact of these very different w ...more
Stewart Reid
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this although the first section was a bit heavy on the pros which I found a bit much. The pros reigned themselves in and the flow improved throughout. The story wanders through local interest, deep philosophical discussion and people watching. As a glider pilot I found the level of ignorance about the actual weather phenomena rather frustrating and kept wanting to shout out the explanations of what he was seeing but that said if you are not reading this to learn about meteorology it is a ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me the feeling I had as a child when I devoured books after books in order to see the world I have never seen. This travelogue was nicely written, as a man's journey following the wind. Hunt's explanation of how the wind 'called' him and he just felt like it was meant to be for him to follow the great winds footsteps, they are neatly written and surely would make you wish that you'd retrace his footsteps. This book gave me this old feeling of taking out my backpack and just take t ...more
John Benson
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I live in a very windy place, but none of our winds have names. I guess there are many in Europe and Nick Hunt tried to walk through four named winds in Europe when they are in full swing. He wasn't always successful, but he tried to tackle one in England, one in the Balkans, one in Switzerland and one in France. He writes very well and the premise of this book is quite unique. I enjoyed his writing and his walks. Meanwhile, I will just stay inside while our unnamed winds here on the Northern Pl ...more
Chris Wares
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A travel book with a difference. Nick Hunt chases four winds across Europe - the Helm (Pennines), the Bora (Slovenia, Croatia), the Foehn (Switzerland) and the Mistral (France).

The challenge of writing about something that one cannot see is one that few people could pull off without resorting to stupid anthropomorphisms or unnecessary poetry. Hunt keeps his feet firmly on the ground and succeeds in writing an interesting travelogue that is unified by the powerful phenomena of the wind.
Enda Hackett
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nick Hunt's quest to follow four winds - The Helm wind here in the UK North West (that I still have to see despite a few attempts), along with the Bora, Foehn and Mistral winds around Europe. A fascinating read, a journey through rugged wild landscapes that explores the power of the winds on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.
john holmes
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Wonderful well observed travellers tales from very different parts of modern europe. Borders on the poetic, but easy to read. For some reason the descriptive writing remind me of "Kim" by Kipling. Excellent
Gordon Wilson
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Not as engaging as some of his other books
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An engaging book with an unusual premise - and rather gorgeous prose.
Peter Jordan
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, europe, walking
I loved this book - a great read for a geographer - the winds, why and where they blow, their impact on communities and the journey itself.
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Nick Hunt has walked and written across much of Europe. His first book 'Walking the Woods and the Water' (Nicholas Brealey, 2014) was a finalist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. He also works as a contributor and editor for the Dark Mountain Project.
“Every pine tree I walked beneath had its particular inflection, its needles hissing in frequencies subtly different from the ones before – the dictionary term is ‘psithurism’, the noise of wind passing through leaves – an evergreen language that sounded like whispered words.” 0 likes
“The invisible alleyways of the air have twisted through mythology, in and out of landscapes and cultures, from zephyrs to howling gales. I have met the characters of the winds, and know the qualities they bring: the Bora strength and clarity; the Foehn destruction and depression; the Sirocco debilitation; the Mistral beauty and madness. Now it seems, hoping against hope, I am about to know the Helm – if only the Bar will come – and the wildness of the chase fills me, pulls me on.” 0 likes
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