Sunday 24 February 2019

Review ~The Pull of the River by Matt Gaw

A journey into the wild and watery heart of Britain

Elliot & Thompson
21 February 2019

My thanks to the publishers and Alison Menzies PR for my copy of this book

Matt Gaw and his friend James take a handsome, homemade canoe, painted a joyous nautical red the colour of Mae West’s lips on an exploration of Britain’s rivers. Over chalk, gravel, clay and mud; through fields, woodland, villages, towns and cities, Matt reveals many places that otherwise go unnoticed and perhaps unloved, finding delight in the Waveney, Stour, Alde/Ore, upper and lower Thames, Lark, Great Ouse, Granta and Cam, Wye, Otter, Colne, Severn and the Great Glen Trail.

My thoughts..

There's something really lovely about the idea of meandering gently along beautiful British waterways in a canoe, quietly moving in time to the dip and fall of a gentle current, and following the curve and flutter and iridescent blue of a kingfisher in flight. For Matt Gaw and his friend James Treadaway this became a reality when they took to the water in their two-man canoe and escaped into the secret world of rivers.

It's not all about gentle waterways as there are some journeys where wild water and deep channels make the going a little tougher however, what comes across is the absolute lure of the river and when combined with the author's enthusiasm and fine way with words, the whole thing gives a glimpse of the landscape from an entirely different perspective.

This is such a wonderful idea for a book as both the places along the river, and the wildlife that call the riverbank home, come beautifully alive. The author's account of the gentle exploration of various rivers and the adventures that he and his co-canoeist had along the way certainly makes for interesting reading.

The book is nicely divided into specific river journeys, and even though most of the rivers mentioned were new to me, I have enjoyed taking a journey into the unknown, and, moving along the waterways with the author as my guide, I now feel as if I can visualise our glorious waterscape in a whole new light.

Matt is a writer, journalist and naturalist who lives in Bury St Edmunds. His work has been published in the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Times. He works with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, edits Suffolk Wildlife and writes a monthly country diary for the Suffolk Magazine. This is his first book.

Twitter @MattGaw #PullOfTheRiver


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