This is a little treasure of a book, telling the tale of two women, aunt and niece, both over 60, walking along the Wye Valley Way, from Chepstow to Plynlimon, a distance of 136 miles. It is a tucked away region that’s been attractive to artists for decades.
The book contains humour, lots of practical tips and importantly, inclusion of many wonderful illustrations from the 18th century onwards, depicting scenes that seem to have changed little in the intervening years, when positioned next to recent excellent photographs.
Jacqueline’s keen observation of nature and appreciation of historical buildings on the way adds to the more prosaic need for coffee and cake – something one can relate to on a wet Welsh day. There’s also a realism that creeps in and the posting forward of clean clothes to various B&Bs makes perfect sense once you read it. Why carry a backpack of enormous proportions when there is no need? The journey is not all plain sailing: footpaths are unclear or diverted on occasion, hills a challenge and the weather not always ideal! However, tenacity and a touch of humour keep the pair on track.
What is especially inspirational about this book, is the friendship shared by the walkers, their interactions with those along the way and the fact that they actually did it! It is a perfect example of stretching oneself a bit, planning the journey and enjoying it! The art is fabulous too.