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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on 26 March 2014
I bought this expecting a book giving guidance on how to spot and locate features in the landscape, which would be useful while walking. I must back up the thoughts of another reviewer who therfore found it different to expectations. Instead of helping you learn about spotting the quirks of the landscape around us, each chapter just gives a quite flowery description of a partiocular aspact of 'landscape' - e.g. trees, water. So, in the sky chapter, you get a general desription of what sky is, attached to quotes from famous authors/explorers about how 'sky' made them feel. Despite being quite dismissive in calling it flowery, taking a chapter a day, or a book to dip into it can be quite inspiring, and triggers a general thought in you to keep your eyes a bit wider open next time you are out - but if you have been out and about and saw a particular feature you want to learn more about, this book won't help you.

I get the impression (from the other reviewer), that Gool;ey's other book 'The Natural Navigator' may have been the book I was aiming at, and much more helpful for actually teaching something about the British landcsape, rather than general inspiration.
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on 2 April 2012
I can see where other reviews are coming from on this book - when it's good, it's very good, bringing together elements of science, history and culture to help people look afresh at the character and elements of the landscapes around them, reminding us of a time when exploration was as more about pushing the boundaries of understanding and experience, than pushing the boundaries of physical achievement. Rightly, Gooley laments that exporation has become little more than a synonym for adventure.

My criticisms of the book are partly that for those with a moderate grounding in natural history, there aren't quite enough "aha" or "I never knew that" moments in the book, perhaps partly due to the restricted range of historical explorers referenced (going into detail on Humboldt, Darwin and Leichhard, wetting the appetite for more detail on others). Also, there are a number of inaccuracies in the text which detract from the authority of the work, for example suggesting that the reason that mountain climbers start summit days early is primarily to avoid cloud which forms later in the day (rather than minimising time spent at peak altitude, or climbing before the surface of the snow gets softened by sunlight), or another point where the mass of a cloud is described as 1 billion kg (only true if you include the mass of the air that was already there before the cloud appeared - the mass of water is about 1/200 of that, or 5,000 metric tons). But for the errors, I'd probably have given this four stars though, so later editions will probably be well worth a look.
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on 7 June 2015
Frustrating book that has a lot of interesting things to say but loses them in its dense wrting style. Something like this needs to be more of a 'how to' book with more pictures and instructions and less dense flowery text.
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on 10 August 2012
How to go for a walk in the country for those who rarely do so and want to be told how to enjoy it and haven't thought or read about it before. If it gets people out there, it deserves many plaudits. If they put the instruction manual between them and real experience, considerably fewer. And zero plaudits, if they all then do what Gooley suggests, which is blog/tweet about it.

Mr Gooley does reference Rebecca Solnit Wanderlust: A History of Walking or A Field Guide to Getting Lost, whose books I would recommend as much more satisfying for the thinking walker, walking thinker, or deeper explorer.
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