Best Books on Walking

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 4 Jun 2024

Writers Who Walk

Following on from this month's Blog about Pilgrim Paths, I started to think about writers who have found, through walking, resolution to issues in their lives which seemed at the outset insurmountable. The inspirational on-foot journey's documented in their books took each of them from the edge of despair to a place of new-found strength and healing, modern-day pilgrimages in their own way. Our recommended Reading Lists cover many novels about travel in Italy and Australia and these three titles, all by female authors, have been added to our collection. 


The Salt Road by Raynor Winn

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 UK's 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. 


In the Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado 

A remarkable story of heroism and climbing to the top of the world, but not the traditional hero's tale you might expect. Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a survivor of childhood abuse, a pain she has worked through by climbing the Seven Summits. She gathered a group of young female survivors and led them to Everest base camp alongside her.  At times hair-raising, nerve-wracking, and always challenging, Silvia remembers the acute anxiety of leading a group of novice climbers to Everest’s base, all the while coping with her own nerves of summiting. But, there were also moments of peace, joy, and healing with the strength of her fellow survivors and community propelling her forward.  She became the first Peruvian woman to summit Everest and this memoir was published in 2022.


Wild by Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-six, the author thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's unexpected death from cancer, her family disbanded and her marriage crumbled. With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to walk eleven-hundred miles of the west coast of America - from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington state - and to do it alone. She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map. But it held a promise - a promise of piecing together a life that lay in ruins at her feet.

Strayed's account captures the agonies, both mental and physical, of her incredible journey; how it maddened and terrified her, and how, ultimately, it healed her. Wild is a memoir of survival, grief and redemption: a searing portrayal of life at its lowest ebb and at its highest tide.