I am at home with my brother Andrew banging on about the joys of walking. Suddenly he says, ‘You should do the Wayfarer’s Walk. We always talked about it, do you remember?’ So I start thinking about it seriously.
It is 71 miles in total. It will be a great family adventure. Won’t it? In Clare Balding’s family, walking just took too long – she galloped through the countryside and she galloped through life.
There was certainly no time to get to know Britain beyond its racecourses. Then, in 1999, Clare took a call out of the blue from a BBC producer looking for a presenter for a new radio series. ‘Do you walk?’ she asked.
‘Well, I walk the dog…’ That series, Ramblings, is still going strong – and Clare’s caught the walking bug. Since then she’s covered fifteen hundred miles of footpaths, from the Pennine Way to the South West Coastal Path. She’s tackled apocalyptic thunderstorms, struggled with blisters and a twisted ankle, and seduced fans of ‘erotic radio’ by getting changed in a bus stop.
She’s walked with historians, geologists, twitchers, botanists and poets, who’ve told her things they never thought they would reveal. Now she wants her family to share some of that pleasure. She and her brother Andrew are determined to conquer the Wayfarer’s Walk, a route which runs past their family stables Kingsclere.
What could possibly go wrong? This is a story of paths and people, of discovering the glories of Britain and Ireland, and of (mis)adventures with the family. Along the way there are charming diversions and life-changing rambles, including her take on the 2012 Olympics. And, finally, this is Clare’s story of Walking Home…Clare Balding’s first book, My Animals and Other Family, was a runaway number one bestseller and won Autobiography of the Year at the 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards.
Clare broadcasts on TV and radio for the BBC, Channel 4 and BT Sport. In 2013 she received an OBE for services to broadcasting and journalism. She lives in West London with her partner Alice, their wayward Tibetan Terrier Archie and a cat who couldn’t give a damn called Itty.
Praise for My Animals and Other Family: “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want a horse”. (Caitlin Moran). “Moving, funny, and larger than life”.
(Michael Morpurgo). “Simply fabulous”. (Jilly Cooper).
“Stonking anecdotes …sharply charming’ Guardian ‘Magical, enchanting, riotously eccentric”. (Daily Mail).