Joining Loose Ends – a travel memoir for our times.
It was a crazy idea for a grand adventure – and it changed them in ways they never imagined.
The British author and his wife took a year out from their suburban Australian life to return to the country of his birth and trek from one end to the other. Creating a unique 2,801kms route from John O’Groats to Land’s End, they left the roads behind for the countryside, lugging backpacks through rocky cliff paths, sunken holloways, thousand-year-old earthworks, windswept moors and dense forest mires.
Over five gruelling and exhilarating months, Keith and Debby walked as planned. But what began as just a long walk transformed into a second, unexpected journey, to a place not shown on any maps. By the end, there could be no going back to the life they had left behind. Joining Loose Ends is the inspiring story of a couple who slowed their lives down and discovered a new way of seeing the world and their place in it.
Based on Keith’s daily journals and told with honesty and humour, it brings to life the magic and majesty of the British countryside, and shares the stories of the extraordinary people they met.
Whether staggering on the verge of collapse up a steep highland hill, crossing a dangerous mountain summit in dense fog with fear for their lives, running in joyful abandon along a soaring cliff top, or risking a Scottish public bar wearing rose-coloured Crocs to watch an England football match, the story of their journey is full of life, love and laughter.
Early reaction to Joining Loose Ends:
I loved this book – the words sang. I felt I was beside them on the track as I read, it was palpable. I could feel the cold wind and rain in my face, and the amazing thing was the writing never got repetitive, it was always fresh. The structure the author developed was brilliant, a really well woven story. A story not just of a walk, but of his history and family, loves and feelings. Greg Kemp – International Consulting Engineer
Scenes from the walk…
Extract from Joining Loose Ends:
Day 132: “Stepping outside we’re immediately assailed by another world, one no human could create. The power unleashed is wild and unforgiving. High winds gust dangerously and the sea is an angry lather of white foam. Small fragments of cliff rock are whipped off and hurled abrasively at our cheeks in a mist of sand and grit. To experience the coastal path in these conditions is exhilarating, but our bodies seem so puny by contrast, mere matchwood to be played with by elements indifferent to human concerns.…
I close the guidebook and let go of the map names to experience my smallness and frailty set in sharp contrast against this raw, rugged landscape. To be here in the midst of power without measure, formidable forces beholden to no one, I feel more alive than I can remember. I stand in wonder to play my part in this dizzying vortex and give thanks for my life. For being filled with life on this quest, a walk joining two ends which has now become so much more.”
At day’s end updating the journal from which Joining Loose Ends was written was a devotional duty and below you can see an example of two daily pages.