The Salt Path by Raynor Winn: Book Review & Guide To South West Coast

This book, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, is the saddest and yet most uplifting story. How can that be you wonder?

The story is about a middle-aged couple, Moth and Raynor Winn, who walk the Salt Path which is the 630 miles of the sea-swept south-west coastal path. However why they walk it – or rather why they have to walk it – is the sad part.

South west coastal map - from book review of The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
The south-west coastal path

Ray and Moth invested in a scheme that is introduced to them by a friend and it all goes wrong. They lose their family home and their B & B business ie their only source of income. They have to be out in a week and they have nowhere to go, no immediate chance for a council house as there is a waiting list.

As if things could not get worse Moth, Ray’s husband of 32 years, is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Ray is confronted with losing everything and resorts to embracing nature and embarking on walking the south-west coastal path with Moth. They must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild. The cannot even afford campsites so it really is ‘wild camping’.

Front cover of The Salt Path by Raynor Winn - Read our review of this uplifting book
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It is a remarkable journey for anyone to undertake. However to embark on it with nowhere to retreat to when the summer is over is more that most people can comprehend. The journey is not without its incidents. The people they meet are diverse. Their understanding of Ray and Moth’s situation equally various.

This is a real life, honest story that we can all relate to. How close have so many of us come to losing everything? One wrong choice and it could have been us. We never think what if. However this book does it for us.

All I had is admiration and respect for these two humans who, with all that life threw at them, continued to live and love. Their love for each other is something they cling onto and keeps them going through rainstorm, lack of food and even illness.

They manage to rediscover life in the most unexpected ways. They open their eyes to the beauty around them and realise they are lucky to be alive and able to enjoy this journey. I think we can all learn a lot from Ray and Moth not least to just get out, walk and enjoy nature. Finally it repeats how lucky we are to have a home and family.

“In some ways The Salt Path reads like the ultimate drop-out odyssey, except that this journey isn’t a life choice . . . What the book chiefly conveys is the human capacity for endurance and the regenerative power of nature . . . The Salt Path has reminded me to scrape last year’s mud from my walking boots and get rambling again. I hope it has the same impact on millions of others.”

The Times (UK)

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