Early in the year, Adam Nicolson decided to leave his comfy life at home on a Sussex farm and go for an adventure. Equipped with the Auk (a 42-foot wooden ketch) and a friend who at least knew how to sail, he set off up the Atlantic coasts of the British Isles: Cornwall to Scilly, over to Pembrokeshire and the west of Ireland, to the Hebrides and its offliers, St Kilda and North Rona, before heading on to Orkney, and finally to the Faroes, a 200-mile leap out into the autumn winds of the North Atlantic.
But the book is not just a travel journal. Adam Nicolson writes of his own yearnings for the sea and for wide open spaces. His year is strung between the competing claims of leaving and belonging, of thinking that no life could be more exhilarating than battling a big gale driving in out of the Atlantic and of wanting to be back, in harbour, safe, still and protected. Running throughout the book is a dialogue within the author himself between the attractions of home and not home, the certainties of what you know and the seductions of what you don't.
Praise for Adam Nicolson and his books: 'Nicolson writes so well, with such modesty and deep feeling, that the book fairly sings in your hands.' Daily Telegraph 'Exceptionally well done, beautifully written, personal yet panoramic' Observer 'An extraordinarily outward-looking book... a truly passionate attention to detail... A love-letter no one else could hope to write so well.' Sunday Telegraph 'A passionate evocation, a compression of observation and anecdote which catches you up in its intelligence as well as its enthusiasm, and fill you with homesickness for a place you've never been to.' Daily Telegraph 'Generous, exuberant and a vividly written narrative... history, travel-writing and memoir of the best sort.' Spectator 'Sharply observed, a finely written work, one to be savoured, turned over and over like a good whisky.' Sunday Times
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