Thursday, 20 June 2019
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
I’m indebted to my old friend Geoffrey for this picture of Ruth with ‘A Pyrenean Adventure’ in Wellington, New Zealand. This certainly gets the award for the best travelled copy of the book. There aren’t many left, and rather than advertise them for sale, I’m slowly disposing of them to people who ‘really want a copy’.
The whole experience of producing and distributing the book was so pleasurable that I’d like to do another one. You’ll be one of the first to receive a copy, Ruth.
Sunday, 10 November 2013
My first book is out, thanks largely to TGO Challenger Humphrey Weightman, who I discovered on my return from the Pyrenees had re-formatted this blog into book form.
The very limited print run arrived on 31 October, when a small ‘launch party’ was held with a few friends, several fizzy bottles, and a huge carrot cake.
I’ve sent copies to many of the people we met along the way, and we received this lovely response from Yolaine, Pierre, Chantal and Joël in Annecy. Wonderful.
The book is available by emailing me at [email protected].
Prices are as follows:
Hand delivery - £10.00
UK + P&P - £12.00
Europe + P&P - £15.70
USA etc + P&P - £18.00
Anyone who buys a copy may also have a pdf version, and if you want just the pdf version the price is £5.00. Payment is currently by cheque or bank transfer, but I plan also to set up a Paypal account. (When we get back from a week away.)
Currently I’m aware of just one review, here – from Andy Howell. In fact, I rather like that review, so whilst the link verifies its efficacy, I’m reiterating it below:
Review: A Pyrenean Adventure, Martin BanfieldThe growth of the internet and low cost digital technology has seen an explosion in ‘self publishing’ over the last decade. I’ve reviewed a number of self-published books here and a few of them have gone on to be very popular. In all honesty, I do receive some pretty dreadful, self-published, books but this one, my friends, is a little gem.
Martin Banfield is a friend of mine, fellow blogger, hill walker, Pyrenean aficionado and TGO Challenger. This summer Martin walked the full length of the GR10, the long distance footpath on the French side of the Pyrenees. For much of the walk he was accompanied by his wife Sue and on other occasions his walking companions were a mixture of old and new friends; one of the great things about trails such as these is that you make many new friends as you walk.
Martin blogs as he walks, something that I have never been comfortable at doing. At the end of each day he sits down and writes his journal on his smartphone. When he has a phone signal he turns his trail prose into blog posts, enhancing them with the photographs that he has taken on that very same smartphone. The result of this technique is that the walking experience is shared with friends — real and virtual — in almost real time.
The further Martin walked this summer the more this blog became a shared journey. Regular contributors added to the fun and humour of the trip and others who dipped in and out clearly took inspiration from Martin’s walk.
As the walk progressed I remember writing a post here describing Martin’s journal as one of the best, current, reads on the net. Reading this now is a reminder of how right that observation was! Another fan of Martin’s walk was another TGO Challenger and print designer Humphrey Weightman. Humphrey was fascinated by what he saw emerging from Martin’s blog and decided that it would work — posts, reader comments and all — as a book. Humphrey knocked up some drafts and dummies and when Martin returned from France he found these proofs waiting for him at home.
The two of them decided that the experiment had worked and over a few weeks Martin tidied up the text a little and spent a little time processing his photographs. Humphrey then laid down the page design, commissioned printers and — hey presto — this book was born.
The book takes the form of an A4, bound, soft cover. The larger A4 format works really well allowing most of the day entries and the accompanying photos and reader comments to sit on one page. I can’t remember a blog — comments and all — laid out like this before, but the formula really works. This is a more polished version of the blog (still available online) but the text has lost none of its spontaneity, vibrancy and humour.
The many photographs that illustrate the adventure are well composed and provide readers with a real insight as to how these mountains look and work. The quality of the photographs are quite remarkable given that they were composed on a smartphone. But it is in the reading that this book delights. It is a real account of a real walk, not an account of great heroics or death defying stunts, but the kind of experience that is well within the reach of all of us.
If you are thinking of walking in the Pyrenees — planning anything from a full traverse to a week’s leisurely rambling — this book will give you a very good idea of what to expect. Writer Kev Reynolds has recently said (in his new collection of memories from a life of mountain walking) the more he reflects on his adventures the more he recognises that great trips are made up of encounters with people and not just the appreciation of the sheer beauty of the landscape. Martin captures this trail comradeship really well here. We meet many new people along the trail and share with Martin his joy of meeting them again a little further on. There are some lovely vignettes of the town and villages along the trail and stories of wonderful hospitality received from Inns and mountain hotels along the way.
The trail is illuminated well as you would expect but Martin also shares with us the look and feel of the villages in which he stays to resupply and take a break. There is humour and quirkiness here, not least in Martin’s sub project to document the variety of tractors that are found along the Pyrenean ridge.
Over the last few years Steve Cracknell has had some success with his own account his walk along the GR10 (If Only You Walk Long Enough) and I’ve no doubt that Martin’s book delight many in the same way. The idea to publish the text and the comments is a master stroke as, if you missed the trek at the time, you can still share the adventure as it evolved while also experiencing the banter between Martin and those who were following the trip.
I know many of you still appreciate the look and feel of the printed book and that many of you are happy hunting down titles from specialist shops and suppliers. To get hold of a copy email Martin directly at: [email protected]
The book costs £12 and this includes post and packaging. European delivery costs £15.70 and shipping to USA and other international destinations will cost £18. Martin accepts payment by cheque or bank transfer. Anyone who buys a copy of the book will also be given a PDF version for their ereader if they request it. The initial print run is limited — so get in quickly! This is a lovely, lovely book that will sit well in any personal library of mountain literature.
Just that one review makes it all worth while! Thanks Andy.
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
We returned from the Pyrenees with lots of new friends, resulting from encounters along the way. Here are four of them – Chantal, Joël, Yolaine and Pierre. We will see them again, though not as soon as hoped, as Chantal and Joël will be away on holiday themselves when we pass nearby their home in a couple of weeks’ time.
Hello you four, and all the others who enhanced our GR10 experience.
… Keep on trekking!
Friday, 16 August 2013
Thursday, 15 August 2013
Ascent: 800 metres (Cum: 52,300 metres)
Time taken: 7.5 hrs including 1.25 hrs stops (Cum 362 hours walking including 76 hours stops)
Weather: sunny with a cold northerly wind; hot in Banyuls
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Ascent: 1020 metres (Cum: 51,500 metres)
Time taken: 7.0 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops
Weather: sunny but with cloud and storm building over Canigou
Heikel and Anna-Marie joined me for breakfast and I encountered them for periods on today's amble, including lunch on a bench in the dreadful 'tax free' border village of Le Perthus. What qualifications it has to be 'tax free' I don't know, but that status certainly seems to attract swarms of shoppers.
Ascent: 1050 metres (Cum: 50,480 metres)
Time taken: 8.0 hrs including 1.75 hrs stops
Weather: sunny at first with some cloud and a few spots of rain in the afternoon
There were lots of alternative routes today, but in the end I chose to wander along the regular GR10 path, on the grounds that it was the longer of the possible options and would fill the day, and it would be almost entirely new ground for me - as has the route all the way from Batère Mines, surprisingly.
Monday, 12 August 2013
Sunday 11 August 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 58 - Stage 47 (part/variant) - Amélie-les-Bains to Moulin de la Palette
Ascent: 1200 metres (Cum: 49,430 metres)
Time taken: 6.0 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops
Weather: sunny and hot
On another 'blue sky' day I started slowly. I'd not bothered to re-stock my lunch provisions yesterday, and the shops don't open until 9am on a Sunday.
Saturday, 10 August 2013
Last night was spent most enjoyably with a 'blast from the past', David, and his wife Jan.
Friday, 9 August 2013
Friday 9 August 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 56 - Stage 47 (part) - Mines de Batère to Amélie-les-Bains
Ascent: 100 metres (Cum: 48,230 metres)
Time taken: 5.0 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops
Weather: sunny and warm
A short morning descending to Arles-sur-Tech behind Uli and Peter. The woodland paths were a delight, so I didn't rush. Unlike in 2004, there was no storm on the horizon.
Thursday, 8 August 2013
Thursday 8 August 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 55 - Stage 45 and 46 (variant over Pic du Canigou - Refuge de Mariailles to Mines de Batère
Ascent: 1370 metres (Cum: 48,130 metres)
Time taken: 9.5 hrs including 2.0 hrs stops
Weather: cloud above about 2300 metres at first, sunny afternoon
A really enjoyable day on Pic du Canigou with Uli and Peter, and we were joined by Jan and Oliver for the evening, encountering various others on the way.
Wednesday, 7 August 2013
Wednesday 7 August 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 54 - Stages 42 to 44 variant (3) - Refugi Ulldeter to Refuge de Mariailles
Ascent: 620 metres (Cum: 46,760 metres)
Time taken: 7.25 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops
Weather: high cloud and some light rain at first, turning to sunny periods
Despite the high cloud, today's weather was much better than on the last occasion I was here, with Sue nine years ago. I recall spending much of that day in a cloud.