Walking The Wharfe by Johno Ellison

4 out of 5 stars

The publisher provided a copy of this, free of charge, in return for an honest review.

When a lot of people think about travel, the thought of pristine beaches in subtropical climes springs to mind or the hardy travel writer who is battling through some unexplored part of the globe. But travel writing can be just as relevant and interesting much closer to home.

In this book, Johno Ellison is very close to his home, in fact, he grew up alongside the River Wharf that is the subject of the book. It is a journey he had undertaken before many years ago, but for this, he wanted to retrace the route taken by Victorian author Edmund Bogg to see what had changed in the 120 years.

It is a fairly short river and he decides to wild cam for some of the route as well as popping in to see family and friends en route. He samples many beers in the pubs he passes including some that he frequented in his youth. As he was a local resident when growing up, there are lots of personal anecdotes that add depth to the walk and he explores the local folklore of the places that he walks through.

I really liked this. Learning about a tiny part of the UK that I knew almost nothing about was fascinating. He is an engaging writer too, filling the pages with the history of the river, an account of his walk. I did like that he made it clear in the text when he returned to fill in the gaps in the narrative; not all travel writers do that and sometimes it is glaringly obvious that they returned later. If you want a well-written book about a tiny part of Yorkshire then this is a good place to start.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    Oh this sounds like a good one – honest, as you say, and with layers of memories of places along the route from childhood to his revisit.

    • Paul

      I think that you’d like it. Glad to hear that you are felling better now.

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