Category Archives: Travel

Crossing Morecambe Bay

Of all the footpaths and byways that criss-cross our ancient landscape probably the most enigmatic are those that cannot be mapped because of their very impermanence. Such routes can only be defined by their start and end points rather than … Continue reading

Posted in Northern England, Travel, Walking | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Arslanbob – In Walnut Tree Shade

It had been almost eight years since I was last in Arslanbob, a tantalisingly spread-out settlement in Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad province. As before, I had arrived at the start of Ramadan – the moon was new, the mosque was full; a holiday … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Human Geography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Yuri Gagarin’s Holiday

When Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned from the first successful manned space flight in 1961 he took a well-deserved holiday. We can only assume that this took place after a considerable debriefing by the Soviet military – it was, after … Continue reading

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San-Tash: The Riddleof the Stones

A large pile of stones in the Karkara valley: in the far northeast of Kyrgyzstan, close to the Kazakhstan border, San-Tash is an enigma. What can this pile alongside one of the ancient Silk Road routes possibly represent? Who placed … Continue reading

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Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh!

I don’t quite know what it is that has made me think of Vietnam recently. Maybe it was a casual mention in a conversation that made me realise that I don’t have a very vivid memory of the short time I … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mildred Holland’s Seven-year Task

Mildred Holland was an unusual and determined woman. Not content with  being merely the new rector’s wife at St Mary’s, the parish church at Huntingfield in northeast Suffolk, Mildred took it on herself to singlehandedly repaint the ceiling of the church’s hammerbeam roof. … Continue reading

Posted in History, Suffolk, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Slow Travel Norfolk

Well, it is finally out – my new book Slow Travel Norfolk. Here is a brief extract from the book about an extraordinary rook roost that takes place at Buckenham Carrs each winter: A  large  wooded  area  just  east  of   Buckenham  … Continue reading

Posted in Norfolk, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Keswick All Saints

A little way south of Norwich, standing atop what counts for a hill in these parts, is a tiny roundtower church nestled amidst trees. All Saints Church stands above the small village of Keswick  in a crumpled corduroy landscape of wintry ploughed fields. … Continue reading

Posted in History, Norfolk, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pleasure of Ruins

Abandoned Soviet-era hotel, Kazbegi, Georgia “You don’t know why ruins give so much pleasure. I will tell you. . . Everything dissolves, everything perishes, everything passes, only time goes on. . . How old the world is. I walk between … Continue reading

Posted in Caucasus, Russia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Into the Sunset

Today heralds the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. The last couple of weeks leading up to this seasonal turning point have been characterised, in eastern England at least, by unseasonally sunny skies and sunsets so magnificent they seem to be defying the script that dictates … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments