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David Garrett (London)

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Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera [Anja Harteros; Piotr Beczala; Bayerisches Staatsorchester] [C Major Entertainment: 739504] [Blu-ray]
Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera [Anja Harteros; Piotr Beczala; Bayerisches Staatsorchester] [C Major Entertainment: 739504] [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Bayerisches Staatsorch
Price: £27.44

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ballo in Maschera. Without masks. Munich 2016, 20 Mar. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A review on the box cover describes this production of Un Ballo in Maschera as “surrealistic” and “shadowy”. Which translates to me as “totally baffling and badly lit”. I generally try to be open minded about “concept” productions, but I confess that this one has me beaten.

There is only one set for the entire opera – a large marble hall with a large curving staircase wrapped around it, like the entrance hall of a large, but quite stark, palace. In the middle is a large bed. During the overture we see Riccardo asleep in the bed (this is the “Boston” version of the opera). A blonde woman is lurking around – who we later realise is Ulrica. He stirs and she hands him a gun. He makes as though he’s going to shoot himself, but doesn’t. The first scene takes place in Riccardo’s bedroom. That would be OK, but then the second scene – supposed to be Ulrica’s hut - also takes place in his bedroom, with him wandering around in his dressing gown. Amelia and Ulrica have their consultation sitting on Riccardo’s unmade bed.

The set for the second act is the same, but now it’s Amelia and Renato in the bed together, so, one assumes, it’s now their bedroom. During the introduction, she gets a pillow and makes as though she’s going to smother him, but doesn’t. When she’s meant to be searching around for herbs in a graveyard, she’s wandering around her own bedroom with a medicine bottle. Then Riccardo enters, and they have their love scene sitting on the end of the bed, with Renato asleep behind them. Just before the end, Renato gets up and wanders over to the window. He then turns back to discover Riccardo - Amelia having hidden behind a curtain. We then get the passage about Renato accompanying the veiled woman back to the city – which is somewhat confusing given that they’re all standing in her bedroom in their nightclothes. Then the conspirators enter. No idea what they would be doing in Amelia and Renato’s bedroom, however when the curtain is pulled back to reveal the identity of the hidden woman, everyone acts surprised that it’s Amelia. But she’s in her own bedroom!!

The first scene of Act 3 is still in Amelia and Renato’s bedroom, however by the time we get to the final “masked ball” scene, the bedroom has gone back to being Riccardo’s. None of the characters are wearing masks, or any sort of disguise, which makes a complete nonsense of the text. Throughout the opera there has been a lot of use of doubles of Amelia and Riccardo, wandering in and out for no appreciable purpose. At the end, Renato shoots a pistol about ten feet above Riccardo’s head. After a bit of a melee, we see that Riccardo’s double is dying on the floor, whilst the real Riccardo wanders off up the staircase towards Ulrica who is waiting at the top.

Like I said – it’s all very confusing and I really couldn’t follow what is meant to be going on. The pompous and pretentious note in the booklet is not much help.

Musically, things are much better. The singing is probably the most consistently excellent that I have ever heard in this opera. Piotr Bezcala and Anja Harteros are both superb, as one would expect. Okka von der Damerau was new to me, but she makes a fabulous Ulrica. George Petean as Renato and Sofia Fomina as Oscar are also excellent.

The sound and pictures are superb. Technical details: LPCM 2.0ch 48kHz/24-bit and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1ch 48kHz.

I’ve already watched this twice, and I shall definitely return to it simply because it’s so good musically. However your reaction to it will depend on your appetite for “concept” productions. I’ve given it three stars – which are all for the music.


Verdi: Il Corsaro (Parma 2008) (Ribeiro, Lungu, Salsi, Dalla Benetta, Bonfatti, Papi, Villari, Lamberto Puggelli, Carlo Montanaro) (C Major: 722504) [Blu-ray] [2013] [NTSC]
Verdi: Il Corsaro (Parma 2008) (Ribeiro, Lungu, Salsi, Dalla Benetta, Bonfatti, Papi, Villari, Lamberto Puggelli, Carlo Montanaro) (C Major: 722504) [Blu-ray] [2013] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma
Offered by westworld-
Price: £19.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable rare Verdi - Busetto 2008, 20 Mar. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Il Corsaro is nowhere near the top of the list of Verdi’s best operas, but it still very much worth listening to, especially in such a convincing performance of this, filmed in the tiny Teatro Verdi in Busetto.

The production is very simple and straightforward, presenting the story pretty much as Verdi intended.

The singers are surprisingly good for such a small house. Bruno Ribeiro is especially good as Corrado, the corsair, or pirate. He also looks the part of the handsome hero. Luca Salsi is also excellent as the evil Pasha Seid and makes a real highlight of his Act 3 aria.

The sound and pictures are excellent. My only complaint was that they had to keep the orchestra size to a bare minimum for it to fit in the Teatro Verdi’s tiny pit. Most of the time it’s OK, but some of the climaxes could definitely have done with some more orchestral power. Technical details: LPCM 2.0ch 48kHz/24-bit and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1ch 48kHz.

I can’t imagine that there will be a sudden flood of blu-ray releases of Il Corsaro any time soon, and therefore this version can be safely recommended to anyone who wants to see this enjoyable opera.


Rossini: Armida [Dynamic: 57763] [Blu-ray]
Rossini: Armida [Dynamic: 57763] [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Rossini
Price: £28.40

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Armida - Ghent 2015, 26 Feb. 2017
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Armida isn’t really one of Rossini’s greatest operas. The plot is very weak, but the title role can be terrific in the right hands (Maria Callas was a notable exponent), and the music will be appealing to Rossini-lovers. This opera was written for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, which at the time boasted six tenors, and Rossini included roles for all of them! These days it’s hard enough to find one decent Rossini tenor, let alone six, even though four of the parts can be doubled such that you can make do with four – as here.

The singing is pretty much what you might expect from a small house like Opera Ghent. There is a lot of clumsy coloratura and some very wayward high notes, but I’ve heard worse. The solo singers all wear very visible microphones taped to the sides of their heads. Enea Scala as Rinaldo spends quite a large proportion of the opera with his shirt off, so we also get to see the wiring taped down his back. I’m no expert, but I’m sure that a rather less obtrusive solution could have been found.

The production is very peculiar, and I have honestly no idea what the director is attempting to communicate with it. In the first Act, we see Frankish soldiers returning from a victorious battle. The soldiers are dressed in crusader-style uniforms – chain mail and all that stuff. The setting is however a very modern athletics stadium, and the civilian characters are wearing modern dress. The soldiers are also playing around with a very modern blow-up doll. In the second Act, the soldiers have changed into football kit. At various points a small boy appears, also in football kit, but why, I couldn’t tell you. The blow-up doll makes another appearance, now dressed as Armida. I found the whole thing confusing and pointless.

The only other DVD/blu-ray of Armida available at the time of writing is the Met release starring Renée Fleming. I thought that was pretty good, but although I’m a great admirer of Miss Fleming, I’m not convinced that Rossini is really her thing. However, that said, if you want a filmed version of Armida, the Met is better on all counts than this latest release.


Turandot: Teatro Alla Scala (Chailly) [Blu-ray] [2017]
Turandot: Teatro Alla Scala (Chailly) [Blu-ray] [2017]
Dvd ~ Puccini
Price: £21.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stemme's Turandot - La Scala Milan 2015, 13 Feb. 2017
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Turandot is a very difficult opera to perform satisfactorily. The title role requires singing of such power, that most singers have to resort to shrieking. The role of her wannabe lover, Calaf, has similar issues. Nina Stemme is absolutely superb. One is, of course, aware of the effort, but she remains musical throughout. Alexandrs Antonenko is not the sublest of tenors, and his pitch is sometimes wide of the mark, but he certainly isn’t the worst Calaf I’ve ever heard in a major house. He's certainly a lot better than Marco Berti on other recent blu-ray releases. Maria Agresta makes an affecting Liu – her floated high notes are particularly impressive. The smaller parts are all very well taken.

The production is fairly traditional. The palace is a large red edifice, with a metal door at the bottom, a balcony in the middle and then a large circular opening where the giant figure of the Emperor appears - see the picture on the box cover. There is nothing especially Chinese about any of it. Ping, Pang and Pong are dressed as circus clowns. Turandot wears a peculiar black feathery number – again see the picture on the box cover. Liu and Timur look authentically Central Asian. The chorus are dressed in identical masks and hats – making the crowd an anonymous mass.

The orchestra play superbly for Riccardo Chailly in a generally brisk and red-blooded performance – the first two act-endings are especially thrilling.

I expect most people reading this will be aware that Puccini died before completing Turandot – the authentic Puccini finishing with the death of Liu. Various composers have had a shot at providing an ending – the version by Alfano being the normal one. This ending is often criticised for resolving the drama a bit too quickly and neatly, and for not sounding enough like authentic Puccini. Here we get an alternative ending written in 2001 by Luciano Berio. To be honest, I prefer the Alfano. The resolution is still a bit on the quick side, and I thought that it sounded even less like Puccini than the Alfano. I also felt that it was somewhat anticlimactic, with Turandot and Calaf just wandering off into the palace, whereas at least with the Alfano you get a rousing chorus to finish off with.

The sound and pictures are superb. Technical details: LPCM 2.0ch 48kHz/24-bit and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1ch 48kHz.

Despite the Berio ending, I would say that this is now the most satisfactory Turandot on DVD/blu-ray.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2017 10:31 PM BST


Wagner:Das Liebesverbot [Opus Arte: OABD7213D] [Blu-ray]
Wagner:Das Liebesverbot [Opus Arte: OABD7213D] [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Richard Wagner
Price: £31.52

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Das Liebesverbot - Madrid 2016, 6 Feb. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is apparently the first ever DVD/blu-ray release of Wagner’s second opera. At the time of writing there is still no filmed version of his first opera – Die Feen (apart from a children’s adaptation) – and only two of Rienzi. No-one’s going to pretend that these early operas are on the same exalted level as his later works, but I definitely think that they deserve to be better known than they are, so on that basis, this release is very welcome.

Das Liebesverbot was Wagner’s first attempt at a “comedy” – with a libretto based on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. It’s lighthearted (as Wagner goes), and the characters all get to live happily ever after, but don’t expect a lot of laughs.

Kasper Holten’s production updates the action to the present day. The costumes are a strange mixture of carnivalesque outfits for the populace and British bobby-style uniforms for the forces of law-and-order. Apart from the updating, the action proceeds pretty much as Wagner intended, and the whole thing is attractive and relatively easy to follow - once you’ve worked out who all the characters are and what their relationship is to each other! This being 2016, much of the communication between characters takes place by mobile phone or text. So, for example, where Isabella visits her brother Claudio in prison, here they are standing in different parts of the stage, each holding a mobile phone to their ear. It sounds dreadful, but I actually thought it worked quite well. Where characters are texting, an image of the text is projected on to panels at the side of the stage, but the Video Director chooses not to show these properly. If he had though, from what I could make out, it would beg the question as to why a group of Sicilians who sing to each other in German would choose to text each other in Spanish!

Unfortunately, the singing cast is not really good enough to show this opera in its best light. Christopher Maltman is excellent as Friedrich and Ante Jerkunica and Maria Hinojosa are very good as Brighella and Dorella, but the rest of the cast are really not up to the standards that I would expect from a major house – the biggest disappointment being Manuela Uhl as Isabella who, according to the box cover, is currently Germany’s hottest Wagnerian leading lady!

The pictures are very good and the sound is not bad, although the balance favours the orchestra rather than the voices, which is not ideal. Technical details: LPCM 2.0ch 48kHz/24-bit and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1ch 48kHz.

This is a very welcome addition to the catalogue, but there is definitely still room for a version with better singing. Incidentally the production here presented is a co-production with the Royal Opera House, and I believe it will be seen at Covent Garden in 2018 – hopefully with a better cast.


Gaetano Donizetti: Roberto Deverux [Blu-ray]
Gaetano Donizetti: Roberto Deverux [Blu-ray]
Offered by THE MONSTER BOOKSHOP
Price: £24.70

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Roberto Devereux - Genoa 2016, 26 Jan. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Hot on the heels of a release of Roberto Devereux from Madrid, here is another from the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa, also starring Mariella Devia as Elizabeth. In situations like this, Amazon have a history of getting the reviews muddled up, so please note that this review relates to the Genoa version.

This is a very traditional production, simple, effective and attractive. The staging consists of a large wooden platform on which various additional bit of scenery are place as appropriate: a throne for Elizabeth, a cage for the imprisoned Devereux, etc. This would be great, except that the lighting is so poor that it’s often difficult to see what’s happening. There is a bright(ish) pool of light in the centre of the stage, but the rest of it is in deep shadow. It’s a great shame, as I think that otherwise I would have really liked it. It would appear that most of the production budget was spent on the costumes, which are sumptuous, gorgeous, and very Tudor-looking. However I was a little surprised by the lack of hose amongst the male characters. Raleigh and Cecil, for example appear in brightly-coloured but rather matronly frocks, which I found hilarious – not the costume designer’s intention, I’m sure.

The singers are all good, but the direction of them is not great, such that the characters are not as strongly drawn as on other versions. Mansoo Kim as the Duke of Nottingham is especially wooden. Mariella Devia is superb as Elizabeth, although she gets a little squawky in some of the more exposed coloratura – basically very similar to her performance in the Madrid version.

The visuals are basically ruined by the poor lighting. The sound is not up to the standard of the best blu-rays - I found the orchestral sound particularly disappointing. Technical details: LPCM 2.0ch 48kHz/16-bit and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1ch 48kHz.

My favourite version of Roberto Devereux is still the Munich version with Edita Gruberova, but I acknowledge that some people would not like the “modern” production. I would say that the recent Madrid version was far better than the Genoa version for anyone wanting something “traditional”. Hopefully the recent Met version will find its way onto blu-ray at some point soon.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2017 7:49 PM BST


Boito: Mefistofele [739304] [Blu-ray] [NTSC]
Boito: Mefistofele [739304] [Blu-ray] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Roland Schwab
Price: £29.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Modern-dress Mefistofele - Munich 2015, 16 Jan. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The market for filmed versions of Mefistofele has been dominated up until now by two recordings of the same San Francisco production – filmed in 1989 and 2013 with Samuel Ramey and Ildar Abdrazakov respectively in the title role. I don’t think that this new version will change the situation.

The production is described as “dim and apocalyptic” – which translates as ugly modern-dress with poor lighting. The whole thing takes place in a dark space which reminded me of a modern railway station or airport. Bits of scenery appear in the middle, such that for the Prologue we have a few chairs making it look like a dubious nightclub, for Act 1 we get a merry-go-round, Act 2 there is a table and the top part of a tree, etc. Because this opera only sets a few significant scenes from Goethe’s Faust, it’s always quite hard to follow the narrative, but this production makes it harder than ever. There is a lot of use of projection, but the Video Director doesn’t let us see enough of it to be able to follow what it might be trying to tell us.

For the first few minutes of the Prologue the characters move around the stage in silence. Then Mefistofele places a record onto an old-fashioned gramophone, and the off-stage trumpets begin to play. Unfortunately, they are made to sound as though they are being played on an old-fashioned gramophone, complete with scratches. The Prologue (especially the final section) is one of opera’s great sonic spectaculars. The SFO versions are both thrilling, however here the chorus are placed somewhere offstage, so their sound is muffled and lacking in impact. I’m generally quite tolerant of what Directors get up to on stage, but I really hate it when they start mucking about with the music.

The solo singing is very high quality indeed. René Pape is superb as Mefistofele – who in this production is dark and evil rather than the cheeky and mischievous portrayal that you usually get. Kristine Opolais and Joseph Calleja as Margherita and Faust are definitely better than their rivals in SFO. The orchestra play very well for Omer Meir Wellber and the chorus sing superbly – at least when they’re on stage.

The sound and pictures are superb. Technical details: LPCM 2.0ch 48kHz/24-bit and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1ch 48kHz.

Although I enjoyed the solo singing in this version, the combination of the musically feeble Prologue and the ugly production mean that I much prefer the versions from San Francisco.

PS – contrary to a comment by another reviewer, I had no trouble accessing the subtitles. There isn’t an option on the main menu, but I just pressed the “Subtitles” button on my remote.


Schonberg:Gurre-Lieder [Dutch National Opera, Marc Albrecht] [Opus Arte: OA1227D] [DVD]
Schonberg:Gurre-Lieder [Dutch National Opera, Marc Albrecht] [Opus Arte: OA1227D] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Pierre Audi
Price: £24.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staged Gurre-Lieder - Amsterdam 2014, 8 Jan. 2017
Gurre-Lieder is a cantata – intended to be performed in concert. Here it is staged, apparently for the first time ever. It’s not easy to stage, as it’s not a “dramatic” work – there’s no action, just a series of solo narratives. So here the staging is more about displaying the characters in some kind of appropriate setting, rather than trying to contrive any action. For example, the murder of Tove is still only described by the Wood Dove – we don’t get to see it (although there are bloodstains).

The whole performance takes place within an outer framework of a ruined building, with various different bits of scenery appearing in the centre of the stage as the work progresses. The period is approximately that of the work’s creation, ie 1900-1911. At the start, King Waldemar and Tove appear on a large bed, and during the first few sections, they either sing from the bed, or wander around the stage in their night-clothes. During the first orchestral interlude, two small white-painted rooms appear. The Wood Dove sings most of her song in one of them, whilst Waldemar grieves in the other, which is covered in bloodstains – so presumably the scene of Tove’s murder. The Wood Dove is dressed in a very severe black dress with large black wings – more like the Angel of Death than a dove – but it’s a very striking image. The brief Part 2 takes place in a graveyard, then Part 3 in a bar. Waldemar’s men are presented as having risen from the dead, so their costumes are from an earlier period – I’d say mid-19th century. It’s all fairly straightforward, although there are a couple of oddities. Klaus-Narr is dressed all in white, including white face make-up, and is attached to a large white balloon. Also, during his section, a gigantic fish appears. He sings about eels coming on shore, but this is no eel – it reminded me of the Terror Fish in “Stingray”! To be honest, I’m not sure that the staging adds much insight to Gurre-Lieder, but I enjoyed it and I would have to say that it’s a lot more interesting than looking at a bunch of people in evening dress singing from behind music stands.

Musically it’s terrific. The cast is one of the strongest I have ever heard in this work. The part of Waldemar is very taxing, but Burkhard Fritz makes it sound almost easy. Emily Magee is a radiant Tove and Anna Larsson majestic as the Wood Dove. The chorus and orchestra are both superb. My only reservation is that the balance tends to prefer the orchestra over the singers which means that they sometimes get a bit swamped.

The sound and pictures are superb. Technical details: LPCM 2.0ch 48kHz/24-bit and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1ch 48kHz.

I really enjoyed this and recommend it wholeheartedly. At the time of writing, the only other Gurre-Lieder available on DVD is a concert performance by the BRSO under Mariss Jansons. I thought the quality of singing was better on the new version and also felt that the staging is a plus. The BRSO DVD doesn’t have any subtitles, which is somewhat irritating in such a “wordy” work.

Note that this release is also available on blu-ray, although for some reason Amazon is currently only listing the DVD. My review is actually of the blu-ray, which I bought elsewhere.


Donizetti:Roberto Devereux [Mariella Devia; Marco Caria; Silvia tro Santafe; Orchestra and Chorus Teatro Real de Madrid, Bruno Campanella] [Belair Classiques: BAC430] [Blu-ray]
Donizetti:Roberto Devereux [Mariella Devia; Marco Caria; Silvia tro Santafe; Orchestra and Chorus Teatro Real de Madrid, Bruno Campanella] [Belair Classiques: BAC430] [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Gaetano Donizetti
Price: £29.18

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roberto Devereux - Madrid 2015, 4 Jan. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Roberto Devereux is one of my favourite operas. For years I have cherished the Munich DVD with Edita Gruberova as Elizabeth, which I think is fantastic, but I’d have to concede that both her interpretation and the modern-dress production are somewhat eccentric. This latest offering from the Teatro Real, Madrid, is much more straightforward. The costumes are not authentically Tudor, but they nevertheless evoke a time in the distant past. Elizabeth’s costume for Act 2 involves a bodice which resembles some sort of iron cage – maybe suggesting that her heart is a prisoner? Other than that, the stage action, such as it is, proceeds as Donizetti intended. The only real oddities are the spiders – arachnophobes beware! In Act 1, there is a large illuminated tank containing a projection of a gigantic spider. At one point, Elizabeth drops in a dead mouse for it. Then, in Act 2, she climbs into a large metal contraption to pronounce sentence on Devereux. This contraption then unfolds into a gigantic spider and is moved around the stage. I’ve got no idea what it’s all about, but it makes for some striking stage images.

Mariella Devia is superb as Elizabeth, although she gets a little squawky in some of the more exposed coloratura. Gregory Kunde is not the sublest of tenors, but his solo scene in Act 3 is terrific. Silvia Tro Santafé and Marco Caria as the Nottinghams are generally somewhat bland, although they manage to rouse themselves for a thrilling rendition of their great Act 3 confrontation.

The pictures are very good and the sound is not bad, although only 16-bit. Technical details: LPCM 2.0ch 48kHz/16-bit and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1ch 48kHz.

This will not replace the Munich version in my affections, but is a good recommendation for anyone looking for something more traditional, or for anyone who doesn’t like Gruberova, who isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

At the time of writing, another blu-ray of Roberto Devereux starring Mariella Devia has just been announced – this time from the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. Amazon may well get the reviews muddled up, so please note that this review relates to the Madrid version.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2017 12:44 AM GMT


Pathfinder Norfolk Outstanding Circular Walks (Pathfinder Guides)
Pathfinder Norfolk Outstanding Circular Walks (Pathfinder Guides)
by Dennis & Jan Kelsall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.38

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Out of date material repackaged as new, 3 Oct. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We did a walking trip to NW Norfolk this year. I had the 2007 edition of Pathfinder Norfolk from a previous trip, but thought it would be a good idea to get the newly-released 2016 edition. Going by the walks that we actually did, the walks have not been revised or updated, but the descriptions from the previous edition merely reprinted, without changing so much as a dot or a comma. Things change: ruined barns get done up into smart homes; plank bridges disappear; paddocks get turned into ploughed fields etc, so to publish a “new” edition of a guidebook like this after 9 years, without revising the guidance at all, is simply not acceptable. I used to be a great fan and advocate of the Pathfinder guides, but now I feel disappointed and ripped off. Pathfinder like to call themselves “Britain’s best-loved walking guides”. If they carry on like this, simply re-packaging out-of-date material into “new” editions, they won’t be loved at all for much longer. The only substantive revision that seems to have happened is that compilers Dennis and Jan Kelsall have added a load of photos of themselves!

I’d also say that this wasn’t one of Pathfinder’s better books to begin with. The descriptions in books such as this need to be clear. Vague directions like “turn away” or “strike out across a field” without an approximate idea of direction are useless, as are expressions of distance such as “later” or “eventually”.

A few specifics. Walk 22. We abandoned this after about 100 yards as the path disappeared into an impenetrable mass of nettles.

Walk 27. Twice on this walk you have to cross the very busy and fast moving A149, which is definitely not for the faint-hearted – actually downright dangerous. Some of the central section around Roydon is along narrow country lanes. On the morning we did the walk, the lanes were very busy with fast-moving traffic, which was pretty unpleasant.

Walk 28. The description in the book reads “After some ¾ mile, and beyond a canted wartime pillbox, look for a wooden stake planted at the foot of the dunes that marks a path off the beach”. Firstly, the pillbox has now sunk almost completely into the dunes, with only the very top now showing, and it’s hidden behind vegetation and hard to spot. Secondly, the wooden stake has long since gone and the path is not marked. We were lucky to see some people coming the other way onto the beach, otherwise we might not have seen it.

A massive disappointment.


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