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Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth

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There are still wild places out there on our over-crowded planet. Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores their romantic and exploratory appeal. Wildernesses, seemingly untouched by man's hand: mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts. These are landscapes that speak of deep time, whose scale can knock us down to size. Their wildness is part of t There are still wild places out there on our over-crowded planet. Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores their romantic and exploratory appeal. Wildernesses, seemingly untouched by man's hand: mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts. These are landscapes that speak of deep time, whose scale can knock us down to size. Their wildness is part of their beauty and such places have long drawn the adventurous, the spiritual, the artistic. For those who go in search of the isolation, silence and adventure of wild places it is - perhaps ironically - to the man-made shelters that they need to head; the outposts: bothies, bivouacs, cabins and huts. Part of their allure is their simplicity: enough architecture to shelter from the weather but not so much as to distract from the immediate environment around. Following a route from the Cairngorms of Scotland to the fire-watching huts of Washington State, from Iceland's Houses of Joy to the desert of New Mexico, and from the frozen beauty of Svalbard to a lighthouse perched in the Atlantic, Richards uncovers landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? And how do wild places become a space for inspiration and creativity?


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There are still wild places out there on our over-crowded planet. Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores their romantic and exploratory appeal. Wildernesses, seemingly untouched by man's hand: mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts. These are landscapes that speak of deep time, whose scale can knock us down to size. Their wildness is part of t There are still wild places out there on our over-crowded planet. Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores their romantic and exploratory appeal. Wildernesses, seemingly untouched by man's hand: mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts. These are landscapes that speak of deep time, whose scale can knock us down to size. Their wildness is part of their beauty and such places have long drawn the adventurous, the spiritual, the artistic. For those who go in search of the isolation, silence and adventure of wild places it is - perhaps ironically - to the man-made shelters that they need to head; the outposts: bothies, bivouacs, cabins and huts. Part of their allure is their simplicity: enough architecture to shelter from the weather but not so much as to distract from the immediate environment around. Following a route from the Cairngorms of Scotland to the fire-watching huts of Washington State, from Iceland's Houses of Joy to the desert of New Mexico, and from the frozen beauty of Svalbard to a lighthouse perched in the Atlantic, Richards uncovers landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? And how do wild places become a space for inspiration and creativity?

50 review for Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Should you wish to escape from the relentless 24 / 7 grip of the digital world then you need to turn off your phone and head outside. That will help in all sorts of ways, even if it is just for an hour or so. However to really get away from it all you need to head to the wilder parts of the world, to walk the hills, climb the mountains and cross the deserts. It is in these places where the changes over deep time are almost imperceptible and that are as wild, as they are beautiful. The last thing Should you wish to escape from the relentless 24 / 7 grip of the digital world then you need to turn off your phone and head outside. That will help in all sorts of ways, even if it is just for an hour or so. However to really get away from it all you need to head to the wilder parts of the world, to walk the hills, climb the mountains and cross the deserts. It is in these places where the changes over deep time are almost imperceptible and that are as wild, as they are beautiful. The last thing that you would expect or actually want to see when you are miles from civilisation though is evidence that humans have already been there. However, occasionally a bothy appearing on the horizon can be a welcome sight. Five Star accommodation it isn't, however, these very simple huts or shelters can offer some respite from the relentless weather that you will often find in the wild. He was fascinated as a child by the picture of his father and his team outside a small shed in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, where they had stayed and the pelvis of a polar bear that his father had brought back from the far north. Richards' desire to head to these far out of the way places is genetic. As you'd know if you read his previous book about his great-great-aunt, Dorothy Pilley, who was one of the pioneering women climbers of her time. With this inspiration and background, he sets off on his journeys from Scotland to Washington, to a mountain in Japan and a retreat in Switzerland and from the heat of Mexico to the bleakness and cold of the Arctic hoping to walk in his father's footsteps. He ends up in Denmark to see an artistic interpretation of a shed too, but he starts his journey in the land of ice and fire; Iceland. All these landscapes have these tiny places of refuge in common and it is these places that have inspired all sorts of people to write and make art and to seek their peace with our planet. In this book, Richards' has sought them out to gain his own insight in what appeals with these remote and beautiful places. He writes in a lyrical way that also has an impish humour too, I know that you shouldn't really laugh at others misfortune, but Dan's description of his hangover as he stepped off the train in Scotland is truly hilarious. As this is the second family inspired travel book that Dan has written, I am hoping that he has got some more relatives that we don't know about yet for his next book. Cracking stuff and one for anyone who likes well-written travel writing. For those that want to go and find the bothies for themselves then there is this guide here: https://www.mountainbothies.org.uk Or perhaps you have skills that can help keep them weatherproof:https://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andy Weston

    I had hoped for so much more from this. Perhaps I should have done more research into it before reading, as primarily it’s the choice of destinations I found in retrospect uninspiring, with the exception of the last, Svalbard. I had hoped for a slightly more accessible version of Robert McFarlane’s Wild Places . As it is, I can think of at least as many ‘outposts’ that I have visited that are interesting; though granted, in the travel blogs I contribute my writing is not in Richards’s league. H I had hoped for so much more from this. Perhaps I should have done more research into it before reading, as primarily it’s the choice of destinations I found in retrospect uninspiring, with the exception of the last, Svalbard. I had hoped for a slightly more accessible version of Robert McFarlane’s Wild Places . As it is, I can think of at least as many ‘outposts’ that I have visited that are interesting; though granted, in the travel blogs I contribute my writing is not in Richards’s league. Having said that, even in the Svalbard chapter, it didn’t jump off the page to me. It’s more difficult than ever to write a book like this these days. It has become common place for intrepid travellers to write blogs. In many of them it’s hard not to laugh at their misfortunes; under-prepared, poorly equipped, as we used to say to moaning children on outdoor trips, ‘I think you may have chosen the wrong course’. There’s a Viz comic character called Spoilt Kid who is taken on a camping trip by his doting mother and wakes to rain and a wet tent, “You never told me it would be like this...” and much profanity. But some of this writing is very good. I spend a long time on these sort of blog-hosting sites, armchair travelling to places I may one day visit, but many of them I won’t... whether it’s the Pamirs, the Peace river in Yukon, or South Ossetia in the disputed Caucasus. And some that I have visited, and written about; the far Western tip of Iceland, the Karakoram, Dusky Sound In Fiordland NZ, Knoydart, and Bosnian Balkans. For now though I’m focused on planning for the next trip, always the most exciting one, lost tracks of the Carpathians.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Thorn

    Very erudite but I don't think he nailed his central thesis.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Sykes

    Brilliant. Well worth a read about those isolated places in the world.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  6. 4 out of 5

    Penny

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ceryscavanagh

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lee Devereaux

  9. 5 out of 5

    Agnieszka

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dan Milton

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christina Wray

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julianne Scenna

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Lopez

  14. 4 out of 5

    Georgia

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Stephenson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom Stanger

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tomas

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Daykin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Damian Doyle

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caro

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie Bayford

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marcene

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ivor

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lotte

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wil

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  32. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  33. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  34. 5 out of 5

    Patty

  35. 5 out of 5

    DeadGoodBooks

  36. 5 out of 5

    Stephs

  37. 5 out of 5

    Aleks

  38. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

  39. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  40. 4 out of 5

    Julie Look

  41. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  42. 5 out of 5

    Sanne

  43. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  44. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca JJ

  45. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

  46. 4 out of 5

    Zack

  47. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  48. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

  49. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  50. 5 out of 5

    Steven

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