** The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot is an ambitious intellectual and literal ramble that starts on trails and includes delightful details such as how trail maintenance used to be done with a simple sickle hanging on posts and available to any walker who wished to prune offensive vegetation. As such, it reminded me very much of Strands, a collection of essays inspired by the beach where the author walks — and indeed this book ends with pre-historical footsteps that figure in the other book — but while Strands always returns to the beach, even after a lovely meander, this one moves from land to the sea (on foot??), and to assorted distant lands and mountains, discussing history, political order, and religion and, for me, losing a unified concept to guide readers through the book. Read Strands instead.

And, wouldn’t you expect a few maps in a book about traveling, just in case you forgot where the Outer Hebrides are organized?

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