Monday, 9 April 2012

Book Review - "Skimming Stones"

"Skimming Stones - and other ways of being in the wild" by Rob Cowen and Leo Critchley.

Hubby bought me this book.  The authors wrote a regular column in The Independent and he thought it right up my street.

It was a brilliant 1-chapter-a-night read.  The book is split into three sections - Seaside and Coasts; Fields and Forests; and Mountains and Rivers.  There are four chapters in each section, each chapter dealing with a different activity, from stone skimming (hence the title) to building dens, carving a whistle from elder and building an igloo.

Each chapter includes a recount of when the authors undertook this particular activity, and it's worth noting that they live in the big smoke, so trips to the country were a special occasion, usually with a purpose in mind, detailed instructions on how to actually do the activity and any legal implications.  They then give supplementary information, for example on other things you might come across, or on the history of the area or the activity.

There is a certain amount of what I would consider self-indulgent artistic and expressive descriptions of scenery or how it made them feel - almost poetic - which doesn't necessarily quite sit right with the informative nature of the book.  On the other hand, I would probably have done the same (though maybe some of it would have been weeded out during editing!), and all in all I really enjoyed the book, and plan to ensure that these activities are incorporated into future trips in the outdoors.

If you love the outdoors, and fancy a bit of arm-chair indulgence, particularly in the depths of winter, then this is a great book, and I would recommend it as a gift for outdoorsy folks too.

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