In a recent edition of The Author, Janie Hampton wrote about the 'torture' of shortlists, the waiting, the disappointments... But I'll just enjoy it and forget for the moment about the announcement of the winner at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 24th August. The endorsement of the judges this far is a prize in itself.
Two hundred miles along a drove road between Skye and Perthshire; a hillside at Abriachan in springtime which inspired Jessie Kesson’s words; a reflective pilgrimage across the Border to Holy Island; the possibilities for enchantment whilst walking to work through Old Town Edinburgh; an autumnal circuit around the Birks of Aberfeldy to confirm a sense of home – Scottish walks form the backbone of the collection. My experience of the natural and cultural environment of Scotland acts as a touchstone for diversions to other places: Medieval pathways in Spain which provide a walk-able legacy of religious tolerance; Hardy’s Cornwall; the art of barefoot travel in a Kenyan village; a re-telling on foot of a dramatic wartime escape through Norwegian mountains; and my first Alpine summit, climbed in memory of my father.