Nick Hunt sets off on an unlikely quest: to follow four of Europe's winds across the continent.
His wind-walks begin on Cross Fell, the highest point of the Pennines, as he chases the roaring Helm – the only named wind in Britain. In southern Europe he follows the Bora – a bitter northerly that blows from Trieste through Slovenia and down the Croatian coast. His hunt for the 'snow-eating' Foehn becomes a meandering journey of exhilaration and despair through the Alpine valleys of Switzerland, and his final walk traces an ancient pilgrims' path in the south of France on the trail of the Mistral – the 'wind of madness' which animated and tormented Vincent Van Gogh.
These are journeys into wild wind, but also into wild landscapes and the people who inhabit them – a cast of meteorologists, storm chasers, mountain men, eccentric wind enthusiasts, sailors and shepherds. Soon Nick finds himself borne along by the very forces he is pursuing, through rain, blizzards, howling gales, and back through time itself. For, where the wild winds are, there are also myths and legends, history and hearsay, science and superstition – and occasionally remote mountain cabins packed with pickles, cured meats and homemade alcohol.
Where the Wild Winds Are is a beautiful, unconventional travelogue that makes the invisible visible.
Nick Hunt has walked and written across much of Europe. His articles have appeared in the Economist, the Guardian and other publications, and he also works as a storyteller and co-editor for the Dark Mountain Project. His first book Walking the Woods and the Water (Nicholas Brealey, 2014) was a finalist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. He currently lives in Bristol.
"Where the Wild Winds Are is full to the brim with learning, entertainment, description, scientific fact and conjectural fiction. It is travel writing in excelsis."
– Jan Morris, Literary Review
"A quest both quixotic and entertainingly escapist."
– Financial Times – Books of the Year
"A thrilling and gorgeous tale, packed with meteorological wonder."
– Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun
"There are poignant moments of calm amid the tumult, insights that capture the joy of walking alone."
– The Times Literary Supplement
"Hunt's contribution to travel writing has at its epicentre not places at all but winds – five European zephyrs, whose characteristics, styles, legends, beauties and varied awfulnesses he exploits to compelling and entertaining effect."
– Spectator – Books of the Year
"An exuberant, invigorating blast of a book [...] With his debut, even while walking in Patrick Leigh Fermor's shadow, Hunt was shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year award. This time, he might blow the judges away."
– Michael Kerr, Daily Telegraph
"A wonderful book; reading it is like being introduced to a gang of complex characters by an entertaining and erudite host. It has been a joy getting to know them better and in all their moods."
– Tristan Gooley, author of The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs
"An ingenious idea that [Hunt] carries off with panache and aplomb. An extremely gifted writer [...] his writing here has agreeable echoes of Leigh Fermor's evocative prose."
– New European
"A pleasure from start to finish."
– John Sandoe Books – Book of the Month
"Nick Hunt's writing is powerful, playful, searching and often strikingly original. As he walks through the world, his journeys always reveal more than they set out to find."
– Paul Kingsnorth, author of The Wake