Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Two Unique Polar Crossings

In 1968-9, The British Trans-Arctic Expedition, led by Wally Herbert, made the first crossing of the Arctic Ocean, using skis and dog-sleds. The four men set off from Point Barrow, Alaska, on 21 February 1968, and made their next landfall at Vesle Tavleøya, a tiny island in the extreme north of the Svalbard archipelago, on 29 May 1969, after crossing the Geographical North Pole and spending an astonishing 464 days on the Arctic pack-ice.
In 1989-90, the International Trans-Antarctic Expedition, co-led by Will Steger and Jean-Louis Étienne, crossed the long axis of the Antarctic continent, using skis and dog-sleds. The team of six set off from Seal Nunataks, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, on 27 July 1989, crossed the Geographical South Pole, and reached the Davis Sea coast at the Russian research base of Mirnyy on 3 March 1990, 6048 kilometres and 220 days later.

Benjamin Dreyer: Dreyer’s English

This book [… is] my chance to share with you, for your own use, some of what I do, from the nuts-and-bolts stuff that even skilled writers stumble over to some of the fancy little tricks I’ve come across or devised that can make even skilled writing better. Benjamin Dreyer was a copy editor at … Continue reading Benjamin Dreyer: Dreyer’s English

Carl Miller: The Death Of The Gods

For almost all of us, the technology that we draw around us closer and more intimately with every passing moment is also something that we understand only more and more distantly. As it becomes smarter, better, more pervasive and more essential it also becomes more mysterious and arcane. The phones in our pockets are now … Continue reading Carl Miller: The Death Of The Gods

Walk The Line: Three Travel Books About Lines Of Latitude

Before a journey a map is an impersonal menu; afterwards, it is intimate as a diary. Thurston Clarke, Equator: An Epic Journey (1988) It’s a rare sub-genre of travel writing, the business of following a line of latitude and seeing where it takes you. Over the years I’ve put together a trio of such books, … Continue reading Walk The Line: Three Travel Books About Lines Of Latitude

Levison Wood: Walking The Americas

I’ve found on these long expeditions that there sometimes comes a point when you grow tired of walking. Walking the Americas recounts the story of Levison Wood’s third epic walking journey—a successor to Walking the Nile and Walking the Himalayas, and a companion volume to the Channel 4 TV series of the same name. You … Continue reading Levison Wood: Walking The Americas

Two Books About The Mounth Roads

Robert Smith: Grampian WaysNeil Ramsay & Nate Pedersen: The Mounth Passes It is clear enough where the Grampians begin; no-one is certain where they end. The limits of the range have been as elastic as the whims of cartographers, so that the word “Grampian” has become an uncertain scrawl on many maps. Robert Smith Grampian … Continue reading Two Books About The Mounth Roads

James Shapiro: Contested Will

There is nothing in the writings of Shakespeare that does not argue the long and early training of the schoolman, the traveller, and the associate of the great and learned. Yet there is nothing in the known life of Shakespeare that shows he had any one of these qualities. “James Corton Cowell (1805)” James Shapiro … Continue reading James Shapiro: Contested Will

Tristan Gooley: How To Read Water

Our journey will begin, like so many great explorers before us, in the kitchen. Tristan Gooley is, according to his website, a “natural navigator”—by which he means that he navigates using nature, not that he’s just intrinsically good at navigating. He set out his stall with his first book, appropriately entitled The Natural Navigator, which … Continue reading Tristan Gooley: How To Read Water

Ginge Fullen: Finding Bikku Bitti

The dangers this year were pretty much the same as the last attempt. Landmines were still in the ground, the area was still off limits, there was a possibility of being robbed by bandits, a slight possibility of being taken hostage by rebels and an even slighter possibility of meeting a Libyan military patrol while … Continue reading Ginge Fullen: Finding Bikku Bitti