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10 thoughts on “The Salt Path

  1. Diane S ☔ Diane S ☔ says:

    A very different spin on those we think of as homeless because these two people did everything right and lost everything Added to this they find out Moth Raynors husband has a degenerative disease How much can two people handle? With very little money with no where to go except sleeping on friends couches for the foreseeable future they decide to walk Taking only the necessities they decide to walk the South West coastal path 630 miles So this then is their story of this trip and the things they see and experience The descriptions and the prose is impressive vivid Their descriptions of the physical pain they experience is anguishing They take up past St Isaac where my favorite show Doc Martin is made and through Cornwall and it's copper mines where Poldark is filmed They have a few run ins with wild life and meet some uirky characters They are called old in their fifties by many who can't believe they are walking so far They wild camp not having the money for campgrounds They find out they are stronger than they thought braver than expected and feel proud of their accomplishment The story starts out in darkness but ends in light aswell read the book and find out Don't think you'll be disappointedARC from Netgalley


    Thank you to Penguin Books who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss This is an inspiring memoir written by Raynor Winn wife of Moth Winn and mother of their adult children Rowan and Thomas This utterly devoted married couple find themselves homeless at the age of fifty They've spent their married lives restoring a farmhouse in the English countryside stone by stone which they also parlayed into a family business They have farm animals a vegetable garden and the ability to share their lives as well as pay their bills When they made a failed investment at the advice of an old friend a court case ensued against the Winns At the last minute they procured a document to prove that they were not liable in the court case; however the judge refused to accept it into evidence because it wasn't submitted in a timely fashion Not only did they lose the court case but everything they had built together their whole marriage They would be homeless in five days As if this tragedy wasn't enough Moth's persistent shoulder and arm pain was just diagnosed as CBD or corticobasal degeneration a degenerative brain disease If the diagnosis was sound there is no actual test for it in several years Moth could fall into dementia and die by choking on his own saliva Moth was the first one to ever say the words I love you to Raynor and she loved this beautiful man since they were teenagers Raynor remembered reading a book called Five Hundred Mile Walkies decades ago which involved walking the entire coastline from Minehead in Somerset North Devon Cornwall South Devon to Poole in Dorsetotherwise known as the South West Coast Path This would involve walking approximately 630 miles over rivers moorland hills rocks and beachesand wild camping So they stored some treasured furniture purchased a used tent on eBay bought two large rucksacks and put one foot in front of the other Their only financial sustenance was forty eight pounds weekly which would be deposited in their bank a government tax credit due to Moth's recent inability to work and they could withdraw from cash machines I love human interest stories about people who triumph over adversity or at least try Being resourceful finding strength you didn't know you had living life instead of just giving upthis book was all those things The arduous journey had a miraculous curative effect on Moth He was advised to rest by his doctor but the one time they lived in a small cottage in exchange for refurbishing it Moth's body was racked with pain A master wall plasterer by trade he could only work about four hours a day while in extreme pain However once they resumed hiking Moth regained his strength and agility They had to make little money stretch by eating noodles tuna rice and when desperate fudge bars Every morning they would heat up their own tea on a tiny gas stove They would longingly watch other people eat large meals with dessert like they were watching a movie Often times when they would splurge on eating in a shoppe they would share something One time when they shared the best pasty ever made a seagull swooped in and stole it from Raynor They were often hungry hot cold smelly and wet Finding a safe place to pitch the tent for the night was always a challenge Any rare but necessary diversions into a city were a problem with extra and often surly people around and less available options for safely pitching a tent They would breathe a sigh of relief slipping back into the countryside Many times people they encountered would approach becoming intrigued upon seeing older people such as the Winns with large rucksacks and wondering if they were walking the South West Coast Path They would get personal and ask how the Winns had the time to do this They soon found out if they were honest and said they were homeless people would get a distrustful look in their eyes and uickly drift away Raynor talked about the skin peeling off her nose the leathery consistency of her skin and the eventual thin muscular and toned transformation of their bodies The first time she was able to enjoy the use of a communal hot shower she spent a very long time in there washing the bird's nest of her hair and having a good long cry There were also several encounters with morning dog walkers as she suatted to perform her morning constitution There are too many personal stories to recount during this pilgrimage that made this book uniuely special The one part I did not enjoy was the intricately detailed account of nature every step of the way Admittedly I'm not a nature lover or outdoorsy person but I just skimmed a bit over those parts Raynor Winn is a very gifted writer and she will sweep you away like one of the many rainstorms they dodgedI'll leave you with what was for me the most beautiful moment of the story Moth said When it does come the end I want you to have me cremated Because I want you to keep me in a box somewhere then when you die the kids can put you in give us a shake and send us on our way Together It's bothered me than anything else the thought of us being apart They can let us go on the coast in the wind and we'll find the horizon together

  3. Bookread2day Bookread2day says:

    This is my favourite non fiction book because it's about a mid age couple who tell a true story It made me cry for them loosing everything that they had worked for all their lives It also made me cry of how little money they had to buy something to eat on their journey walking to Cornwall Raynor and Moth had lost their home and their business The bailiffs came in and took everything that they owned They have almost no money for food or shelter With little money they did have they buy a tent and walk the salt path to Cornwall Sometimes they have to choose to either eat or use a little money for a ferry The one thing that went through my mind while reading this true story is how lucky I am to have a roof over my head and food to eat With all my heart I definitely recommend reading The Salt Path to every reader in the world

  4. Dolors Dolors says:

    Sometimes we need to be reminded how fortunate we are How precious our lives are with all the mundanity and the daily routine that lacks the excitement of the great adventures we imagined in our mind years ago when youth blossomed and expectations raised above the horizonInstead we have “this life” Am I right? SighThis is the kind of book the kind of testimony that is perfect to appreciate what we have; our jobs our roofs the people we love and trust next to us day after day the security and comfort of a home even if that is not a physical space This is the kind of book that makes you feel grateful and at the same time shows you another way to deal with adversity and to beat one’s demons Moth and Ray the protagonists of this half memoir half travelogue had what most of us have; a home an occupation children and a future where they envisioned growing old together in the farm they built with their own hands Until fate decides for them and sends them swirling into the wilderness without a house without funds and worst of all with the sentence of a terminal illness hovering over Moth’s headWhat they do is extraordinary and courageous Some might say it’s reckless or even insane Instead of trying to find refuge in the social system or become a burden to their friends or family they leap off the trodden path and set on a journey of 630 miles following the South West Coastal Path from Minehead on the Somerset coast right round Devon and Cornwall to Poole in Dorset with only thirty pounds in their pockets two rucksacks and Paddy Dillon’s guidebook They don’t know what they’ll do after they stop walking but the strenuous exercise and the briny smell of the natural wilderness become their home and that allows them to go on despite the severity of their problemsHomelessness hunger and uncertainty take on the main stage and nature remains the constant at backdrop of the story which makes them bearableFreedom is to be found within us and wealth can’t be measured in possessions or power Illness even death can be looked in the eye if one is at peace with himself feeling part of a bigger whole accepting life as it comes in whatever shape it acuiresMoth and Ray defied their worst fears and emerged victorious relearning to love relearning to breathe in the salty breeze and to radiate with scorched skin and frizzy hair flourishing in the present regardless of what might happen when that moment would be gone Can life become beautiful than that? “Skin on longed for skin life could wait time could wait death could wait This second in the millions of seconds was the only one the only one that we could live in I was home there was nothing left to search for he was my home”

  5. El El says:

    I really wanted to like this book The story has the potential to be a life affirming heart warming work and I love walking but I just couldn't get on with the style which for me was flat and monotonous and the tale itself was repetitive and overlong in many areas I felt it needed harsher editing to pare what is a fascinating story down to its core but there was so much repetition that I lost interest It did pick up a little towards the end but by then I was just waiting for the book to end I realise I'm in a tiny minority here so please read it for yourself to make up your own mind

  6. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    At times there was only the walkJust the walkThe path was 630 milesThere are true stories storiesThere are adventure storiesThere are inspiring storiesThere are stories about natureThere are stories about homelessnessThere are stories about walkingThere are stories about camping and camping euipmentThere are stories about that backpackingThere are stories about devastating challengesThere are stories about terminal illnessesThere are stories about couples and familiesThere are stories about choicesThere are stories we learn fromThere are stories that expand our perceptionThere are stories that speak to be heard and understoodThere are stories about lossThere are stories about loveThere are stories that take our breath away have us feel joy sadness anger guiltand gratefulness to be aliveThe Salt Path is all of the above Reading this book was an invaluable part of my own life reading journey

  7. Ingrid Ingrid says:

    After a few pages into the book I googled the author I had missed before that this is a non fiction book a kind of memoir I thought it was a novel at first because Raynor Winn writes very wellThe decisions she and her husband made after having lost nearly everything in their lives are so far beyond how I would react that it makes interesting reading on the one hand and annoying on the other They run away from one set of problems to encounter another The struggle is painful and I admire their perseverance In my comfortable home I cannot begin to feel what they must have felt I can see that this walk worked for them By following the coastal path for nearly 600 miles they manage to face their demons and deal with them as best as they can Hopefully they will have many years together ahead of them

  8. Olive Fellows (abookolive) Olive Fellows (abookolive) says:

    Absolutely fantastic This one is well worth the hype

  9. Caroline Caroline says:

    This book is about an eccentric amusing and incredibly stoic couple called Raynor and Moth who are made homeless in their 50s At the same time the husband Moth is diagnosed with a terminal brain disease Amazingly they respond to these crises by deciding to walk the south west coastal path from Somerset to Dorset via Devon and Cornwalland do so with an impossibly small amount of money to live on The book is written by Raynor the wife and she is an marvellous writer It brings alive the people and scenes they encounter on their heroic walk For me there was a wonderful hidden message too As you read the book they are practically penniless They sometimes stop at cafes to share a a single cup of tea or a sausage sandwich They often don't have even the odd extra pound to buy two cups of tea to drink togetherand all this time we the readers know that unexpected success and financial security lie round the corner The book that sits in our hands is going to be their passport to freedom Of course Moth still has his illness but I checked and now several years later he is still alive They are such an amazing couple with a huge bedrock of love for one another and an overflow of kindness and generosity towards the world It was a marvellous and inspiring readI'm not going to go into further detail there are already so many excellent reviews of the book here on Goodreads which are well worth checking out Suffice it to say that if you decide to read it you are in for a real treat

  10. Jane Jane says:

    When this book first caught my eye I picked it up and but it down again because I thought that the story it had to tell might pull me down at a time when I needed to be lifted up; but a warm recommendation and the news that the author would be appearing at my local literary festival sent me back to the bookshop to buy a copyIt was a wonderful investmentA story of people who had than their fair share of trial but who fought back by realising what was important in life and living their lives accordinglyRaynor Winn’s husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness; the couple lost a court case and incurred massive debts that would swallow up everything they owned because the evidence that they were not liable arrived to late to be admissible in court; and that was why baliffs were hammering on the door to complete the process of taking their farm and livelihood awayThey hid under the stairs because they didn’t know what else they could do ‘I was under the stairs when I decided to walk In that moment I hadn’t carefully considered walking 630 miles with a rucksack on my back I hadn’t thought about how I could afford to do it or that I’d be wild camping for nearly one hundred nights or what I’d do afterwards I hadn’t told my partner of thirty two years that he was coming with me’It was mad but it was the only thing they could do to stop being dragged down by the ruin of their past lives to not undermine friendships by having to accept help and be grateful and to avoid being a burden and a worry to their two grown up childrenThe idea was sparked by the book ‘500 Mile Walkies’ by Mark Wallington I haven’t read it but the Man of the House has and he loved itTheir only income would be £48 per week they were homeless anyway so why not walk the south west coast path?The couple harboured their meagre resources to buy a new lightweight tent a couple of sleeping bags and new rucksacks; and to get themselves to their starting point – Minehead in SomersetThe walking was gruelling – especially for Moth who had been advised that the best thing he could do for his condition corticobasal degeneration or CBD was to take life slowly and steadily – but as long as they kept moving the couple could forget that they were homeless and be happy that they were doing something togetherThey had no money for official campsites so wild camping was the order of the day and it wasn’t easy to find a suitable spot each night or to get up pack up and be out of the way before anyone could object to them being there in the morning Their limited budget meant that their usual diet was noodles tins of tuna and sweets It was tough – particularly when they saw visitors using amenities and eating pasties and ice creams – but they endured and they became healthierThe walk would not be a miracle sure for Moth but it slowy became clear that it was having a positive effect in his health ‘The path had given us certainty a sense of security that came with knowing that tomorrow and the next day and the next we would pack up the tent put one foot in front of the other and walk’Along the way he and his wife saw the best and the worst of human nature Many people when they heard that they were homeless or when they saw that they looked shabby and were eating the most basic rations shunned them called them names and made unwarranted assumptions But others were supportive and encouraging offering food and drink and offering sensible and useful adviceAll of that gave the author a very real concern for the plight of the homelessShe wrote beautifully about her emotions her experiences and about the path that she and her husband for walking Sometimes when I read books about the south west I’m looking out for the places close to home that I know well but that didn’t happen with this book because I was so caught up in the moment Reading was rather like hearing an account from a friend who is open and honest who has a wonderful way with words and who knows exactly what details to tell which anecdotes to share to make a good storyWhen I heard her speak her voice was exactly as it had been in her bookThere is much that I could share but I’m just going to say that you should read the book and find out those things that wayThere are highs and low there are moments to make you smile and moments to make you sigh in this wonderful true story of homelessness love and endurance

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The Salt Path Just days after Raynor learns that Moth her husband of 32 years is terminally ill their home and livelihood is taken away With nothing left and little time they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea swept South West Coast Path from Somerset to Dorset via Devon and CornwallThey have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient weathered landscape of cliffs sea and sky Yet through every step every encounter and every test along the way their walk becomes a remarkable journey The Salt Path is an honest and life affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world Ultimately it is a portrayal of home and how it can be lost rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways

  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • The Salt Path
  • Raynor Winn
  • English
  • 04 July 2014
  • 9780241349649

About the Author: Raynor Winn

After walking the South West Coast Path Raynor Winn became a long distance walker and now writes about nature homelessness and wild camping She lives in CornwallFollow Raynor on Twitter raynorwinn