Travel literature is one of my favourite genres and I often read before and while planning a journey of my own. Some books have also travelled before they find me. Earlier this month I discovered Janine Pommy Vegas ‘Tracking the Serpent’, an account of her journeys on four different continents. It was published by City Lights Books in San Francisco (a bookstore I visit whenever I am in the city) and has a London bookseller’s label on the back. I found it in a secondhand bookstore in Edinburgh.
Another book that drew my attention in our own Book Emporium was W.A. Poucher’s ‘The Backbone of England’ published in 1946. The first reader of this book wrote his name and the city where he lived inside the front cover. I fleetingly thought of Pakistan when I saw Quetta but then remembered that partition did not take place until 1947. Poucher’s book was a reminder for me that every time I drive or take the train between Cheshire and Edinburgh I see the shoulders of the Pennine Hills and revisit my intention to walk the journey. This would include the Pennine Way with a walk from my village to Edale added at the start and a section from Kirk Yetholm, possibly on some of the Scottish trails, to take me to Edinburgh once I reach the end of the Pennine Way. That is not a journey to start in winter, however mild it has been so far, so it is still pending…..