Walking Home: My Family and Other Rambles
by Clare Balding
In Clare Balding’s family, walking just took too long – she galloped through the countryside and she galloped through life. There was certainly no time to get to know Britain beyond its racecourses.
Then, in 1999, Clare took a call out of the blue from a BBC producer looking for a presenter for a new radio series. ‘Do you walk?’ she asked. ‘Well, I walk the dog . . .’
That series, Ramblings, is still going strong – and Clare’s caught the walking bug. Since then she’s covered fifteen hundred miles of footpaths, from the Pennine Way to the South West Coastal Path. She’s tackled apocalyptic thunderstorms, struggled with blisters and a twisted ankle, and seduced fans of ‘erotic radio’ by getting changed in a bus stop. She’s walked with historians, geologists, twitchers, botanists and poets, who’ve told her things they never thought they would reveal.
Now she wants her family to share some of that pleasure. Her and her brother Andrew are determined to conquer the Wayfarer’s Walk, a route which runs past their family stables Kingsclere. What could possibly go wrong?
This is a story of paths and people, of discovering the glories of Britain and Ireland, and of (mis)adventures with the family. Along the way there are charming diversions and life-changing rambles, including her take on the 2012 Olympics. And, finally, this is Clare’s story of Walking Home . . .
Clare Balding’s first book, My Animals and Other Family, was a runaway number one bestseller and won Autobiography of the Year at the 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards. Clare broadcasts on TV and radio for the BBC, Channel 4 and BT Sport. In 2013 she received an OBE for services to broadcasting and journalism. She lives in West London with her partner Alice, their wayward Tibetan Terrier Archie and a cat who couldn’t give a damn called Itty.
“Sometimes you have to turn around,’ said the Grand Walking Officer. ‘If you keep just looking forward, you miss the best views.”
I’ve been doing a lot of walking recently. In fact, I’ve always been a fan of walking, but this year of lockdown has been a great opportunity for me to get out and about a bit more. I listened to “Walking Home” by Clare Balding via audiobook whilst out walking and I have to say that it was the perfect accompaniment to my daily walk.
I didn’t really know a great deal about Clare Balding before reading her book. I mostly knew that she occasional presented a bit of sport and I’d never even heard of her Radio 4 show, ‘Ramblings’, so I really only picked this up for the topic. I’m really glad that I’ve learned a bit more about Clare, her upbringing and her family. I enjoyed that the audiobook was narrated by Clare herself, because I really felt that this allowed her personality to shine through.
I particularly enjoyed hearing about Clare’s involvement in the London Olympics, as well as the path she took to becoming a household name.
In general I’d say that this was a really interesting and entertaining read but it was told in such a warm, friendly way that it did feel like going for a walk with a friend.
Overall rating: “Walking Home” is a warm, cosy read narrated by Clare Balding as she walks around the British Isles. I really enjoyed it and felt that I was walking with a friend. I’d definitely recommend you give it a go if any of this sounds appealing to you! 5 stars.