The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot

David Craig writes:

Both these books, in very different ways, are founded on what we experience when we frequent wild country – sometimes virgin, more often partially domesticated. We leave our prints on it, our tracks, and used by generations these become a track, a trail, a trod, a path, a highway. Ever since my memory began I have followed such tracks with foot and eye: the stony, grassy drove roads along which herds and flocks travelled from Aberdeenshire to southern trysts and marts; the white blaze where scree pours down a mountainside from a gap in a solid crag; the slowly vanishing wake left by a liner among the flying fish of the Arabian Sea. These books are preoccupied with the highly conscious enjoyment of wild country, although both writers know that the aesthetic savouring of the land – the ‘landscape’ – must overlap with more workmanlike uses of it.

(LRB 20 December 2012)

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