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LAKELAND BOOK OF THE YEAR 2023 – THE BILL ROLLINSON PRIZE FOR LANDSCAPE & TRADITION RUNNER UP

Join travel writer Tom Chesshyre for a Lakeland adventure like no other. Explore towering mountains, wide-open valleys and magnificent lakes – stopping off at a cosy inn or two along the way – on a 379-mile hike around the Lake District

From Penrith and back, via Keswick, Cockermouth, Coniston, Grasmere and Windermere, plus many places in between, Tom Chesshyre puts on his walking boots and sets forth in a “big wobbly circle” around the Lakes, drawn onwards by the dramatic scenery that attracts more than 19 million visitors each year.

Across landscape that so inspired the Romantic poets, he takes in remote parts of the parkland that many tourists miss – enjoying encounters aplenty with farmers, fell runners and fellow hikers, while staying in shepherds’ huts, bothies and old climbers’ hotels along the way, and even going for a (chilly) dip in Derwentwater.

This is the Lake District seen from its walking paths – with just a backpack, an open mind… and a spring in the step.

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Reviews

Tom Chesshyre sets off to make a meandering circle of the Lake District on foot with one aim in mind: 'to let happenchance lead the way.' In his amiable and relaxed company we climb the fells and skirt the lakes; just as engagingly, we meet a carnival of characters whose personalities and opinions are the real focus of Chesshyre's tale. Together they sum up a region whose problems are many, but whose enchantments are still unmatched for walkers in these islands.
Christopher Somerville, The Times
A charming book, brimming with tender affection for this 'magnificent... dreamy patchwork' of peaks, tarns and 'serpentine valleys... between soaring slopes'. Tom Chesshyre is no brash Wainwright-bagger, but instead a relaxed, affable guide who takes us on a 'big wobbly circle' of a stroll around all sixteen main lakes: an impressive 379 miles in all. Neither travel guide nor gushing panegyric, Lost in the Lakes is a book for the everyday ambler: gentle, slow-paced and sweetly uplifting at every turn.
Rebecca Lowe, journalist and author of The Slow Road to Tehran
Lyrical, witty and full of cheer, Lost in the Lakes avoids tales of heroic climbs in favour of the quieter - and oft-overlooked - story of everyday life in one of Britain's rural honey-pots. From barmaids to town mayors, Chesshyre lends an inquiring ear to everyone who crosses his path, resulting in a delightful portrait of a community that is proud of its past but unsure of its future. Part travelogue, part social commentary, this gem of a book succeeds in being both politically engaged and uproariously entertaining - a rare feat in travel writing and a welcome new direction for the genre.
Oliver Balch, journalist and writer
Writer Tom Chesshyre takes us on an unorthodox tour of the Lake District in his latest travelogue. Not for him the chocolate box guide, but a grittier account of his travails, and his travels, on a journey of self-discovery. Having fallen in love with the area as a teenager, he returns to see what has changed, and discovers he has. What follows is a 379.1 mile - that's 904,271 steps over 32 days - odyssey, during which he finds himself falling in love all over again with this remote wilderness.
Lakeland Walker
An entertaining ramble
Wanderlust magazine
A cheery account of travel writer Tom Chesshyre's month-long 379-mile hike around the Lake District last spring. He has a journalist's ability to intersperse descriptions of dazzling scenery with brisk historical facts... this book makes you yearn to go there.
Country Life
Hopefully you will also be entertained. I know I was.
Paul Oldham, WalkLakes
Book of the month, May 2023
Countryside magazine
A new vision of the Lakes as a capsule history of the kingdom as a whole, with its ambivalent approach to 'nature' (worshipful but predatory), its rapacious extraction of resources, its many migrations and, inevitably, class... It is the human encounters - fellow hikers friendly and not-so, get-off-my-land types and we-have-to-make-our-own-entertainment-here stoics, economic migrants, a bibulous local mayor - that make this book sing... Chesshyre [has] an eye for the lives of ordinary folk, the sweat and smoke behind the idyll.
Brian Morton, Times Literary Supplement
Tom does an excellent job
Sixty Plus Surfers