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Paddle: A long way around Ireland Paperback – 16 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sort of Books (16 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956003885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956003881
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jasper Winn is the author of Paddle; A long way around Ireland.

Jasper is a writer, photographer and broadcaster with a particular interest in traditional horsemanship world wide, rural cultures and 'slow adventures.'

Jasper has lived with transhumant Berbers in North Africa, ridden on cattle drives in Australia, Argentina, Chile and Spain, and worked with horsemen and cowboys in Central Asia and across the Americas. He was story consultant on the IMAX big-screen film Ride Around the World, and has generated radio and television documentaries on subjects as diverse as Moroccan acrobats, early Irish transport and Romany music.

For his latest venture he swapped the saddle for a paddle and set off to sea-kayak the full circumference of Ireland's coastline. The resulting was a book, Paddle; A long way around Ireland.

Paddle; A long way around Ireland, recounts the highs and lows of his three and a half month solo sea-kayak trip around the 1,000 mile coastline of Ireland, the world's twentieth largest island. He paddles amongst 'herds' of breaching basking sharks and with less benign sharks, too. Shares a watery world with dolphins, whales, seals and seabirds. Battles through high winds and massive Atlantic rollers when caught miles off-shore. Is stranded for days on deserted islands. His voyage gives him an insight into Ireland's maritime heritage, into connections between the skin boats of the Inuit that inspired his modern kayak and the currachs of the Irish west coast and into the intuitive aspects of sea-lore.

Though born in England, Jasper was brought up in Ireland on the south-west coast and his circumnavigation was a chance to see his adopted homeland at a time of breakneck change, as the boom years of the Celtic Tiger imploded. He met with fishermen, farmers, musicians, artists, tourists and migrant workers, all coming to terms with a country on the cliff edge of its 'economic miracle,' and with the associated cultural challenges and changes. To his insider's knowledge of Ireland's history, wildlife and culture he brings an 'outsider's' eye.

The voyage took place through the worst summer weather on record and - as much as he paddled - Jasper sang and talked his way around Ireland, and his experiences on-shore as well as at sea make for a story that goes beyond paddling endurance. Indeed it's often comic ineptitude that shadows his trip rather than an adventurer's ability. But is that positive, wry attitude to life what's needed to complete the thousand mile circumnavigation?

Dervla Murphy: I really enjoyed Paddle - a genuine adventure story with nothing gimmicky and dangers understated...neat little parcels of unexpected information and, best of all, the laconic  descriptions of the power and the glory of the sea.'

Wanderlust: ...deft lyrical descriptions...an engaging, humorous writer

Irish Times: It's probably the slowest Irish circumnavigation on record, but it its telling it's the most thrilling.

Nick Crane; A fantastic voyage. Mad, inspiring, funny...

Product Description

Review

Delightfully immersing (Chris Stewart)

A fantastic voyage. Mad, inspiring, funny and a great read (Nick Crane)

I really enjoyed Paddle - a genuine adventure story with nothing gimmicky and dangers understated. I especially enjoyed the affectionately shrewd vignettes of life ashore, the swift changes of mood, the neat little parcels of unexpected information and, best of all, his laconic descriptions of the power and the glory of the sea. (Dervla Murphy)

About the Author

Jasper Winn moved to Ireland at age twelve, with his inventor father, and instead of going to school he learnt to ride horses and play traditional music with the locals. This shaped a life of travel, crossing the Atlas with nomadic Berbers, rollerblading the Netherlands, and fronting the Channel Four horse culture series Rawhides. He is a frequent contributor to the Sunday Times, Guardian and GQ, Condé Nast and Wanderlust and has a column in the Irish Examiner.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tommo on 20 May 2011
Format: Paperback
An amazing read. I'm not a particular kayaking enthusiast but I loved the pace and wit of this book. Jasper's prose is mesmerising. I was out there in spirit, battling the waves with him and enjoying the rousing atmosphere of the lock-ins. But there were also poignant moments,a very honest turn of the mid-life hourglass - when Win realises he can no longer blithely chat up more youthful fellow travellers, or assume his body will still stand up to the derring do adventure - which somehow makes this utterly human and therfore more heroic. Paddle has given me plenty to think of when I gaze out at the sea this summer.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Marina Gaspodini on 29 May 2011
Format: Paperback
what a terrific book this is. The jaunty cover might lead you to think it's one of those light-hearted travel pieces in the style of Tony Hawks, and indeed there are several laugh out loud sections and a continual self-deprecating humour. But it balances amusing anecdote and pageturning readability with a number of deeper, more enduring threads that run throughout the narrative. Winn's life-long relationship with Ireland , the merits of a solo, sometime lonely endeavour, versus the fleeting but vital company of strangers (mostly in coastal pubs), the truths and beauties of the natural world (he's excellent on birds and wildlife), the need to live in the moment (or else die) versus the frivolous necessities of recording the audio, video, written data, without which we wouldn't have this book. Just the right balance is truck between light and dark, and adds up to the best kind of travel book. That takes you on a ride and teaches you stuff, but also makes you reflect and stare to the further horizon
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Helena Mary on 7 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
I heard Jasper Winn on BBC R4's `Excess Baggage' on Saturday and have just finished his book. I agree with these reviews whole-heartedly! Like Tommo I am not a natural kayak enthusiast but this is more about kayaking as a mode of transport than the memoirs of a canoe fanatic...and happily the author spends as much time adventuring ashore and making music in pubs as afloat at sea. `Paddle' is a beautifully crafted book, brilliantly written and utterly engrossing. I much look forward to reading about his next adventure...!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sharpie on 4 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
Travel books are not normally my reading of choice but I do recommend this one. You don't have to be a fan of extreme sports to be able to appreciate the challenge set by the author of kayaking around Ireland. Some of my favourite passages, bizarrely, are his descriptions of his unusual food concoctions. It's well written with some wise and witty observations on life and I found myself liking Jasper Winn very much as well as enjoying descriptions of the outer reaches of Ireland and his encounters with various locals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 31 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I've just woken up, after having stayed up all night to finish this book - although travel writings are not usuallly my cup of tea, i became so ensconsed in the adventure that Jasper Winn so elequently describes that i could not put the paddle down!

a truly great read, full of fun, wit and thought provoking narrative, that literaly encircles everything ireland, the sea and adventure have to offer!

5 stars without a doubt, i too now wish to plan and execute a slowest circumnavigation, or maybe the walking trip jasper eludes to... the jolly roger on sherkin island sounds as though its well woth a visit!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Buzzy Box on 29 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With apologies to the author, this book is dull. He paddles around, stops, camps, has the odd conversation and sets off again. With the Kindle edition, you can't even easily go back to check where he is on the map. There are odd moments when you think he's going to have a "real adventure" like overturn or something but no, every time is a false alarm. It's taken me ages to finish it because I kept stopping for a "break by reading other books. I did finish - but it was a struggle. Maybe enthusiastic kayakers would like this? It did absolutely nothing for me.
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Format: Paperback
My inclination is to join Buzzy Box in the 1 star department for his is an accurate review of this book. However, I didn't find the book as tedious as he did, so, 3 stars it is.

We're told almost nothing about Ireland by Mr Winn and he never manages to convey any real sense of danger during his adventure. Nothing about the problems raised during WWII by Irelend's retention of the ports at Bantry and Lough Swilly, nothing about Lindbergh or Alcock and Brown, nor the French landings in Mayo in 1798 in support of an Irish rebellion, etc. Instead, we're left in no doubt as to the author's skill with the ladies and with the occasional account of his meeting with a landlubber he's encountered.

I suppose it's all been done before, and much better, circumnavigating Ireland - but from the land. Try Kevin O'Hara's 'Last Of The Donkey Pilgrims'.
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By C. Redwood on 11 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
To me this encapsulates what good travel writing is about. Jasper comes across as human and honest with himself and subsequently the reader. His blended mix of history, geography and culture are woven together with his life anecdotes. His personal motivation and de-motivation provides for an intriguing journey around Irealnd and his life to date. I found it difficult to put down at times and was enthralled throughout. As you read it you are constantly wondering 'does he or doesn't he?' complete the trip which makes for compelling reading especially by his own admission that he is not a seasoned paddler unlike the two other paddling circumnavigation reads by Mssrs Wilson (Dances with Waves) and Duff (Celtic Tides).

Definitely a dinner party guest- if I had dinner parties!
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