My review today is for The Hairy Hikers: A Coast-to-Coast Trek along the French Pyrenees by David Le Vay.
David and his mate Rob decide to set out on the GR10 hiking trail to walk off their mid-life crisis by crossing the Pyrenees from Atlantic coast to Mediterranean coast. We are planning a short trip to the western Pyrenees, taking our bikes, and this book gave me plenty of ideas of places I want to visit.
It would be easy to lose interest in a book where every day the narrative was - got up, had breakfast, booted up, walked mountains, arrived at overnight gite, ate dinner, etc. but there is always a little something of interest or an amusing tale to keep this book a lively read. One of my favourite funnies was set in the dingy broom cupboard of the Internet café trying to find the @ sign on a French keyboard. Much of the humour comes from him being a self-confessed Mr Grumpy, an insomniac and a social numpty, who spent two months, day and night, in close proximity to his mate, often staying in shared gite accommodation with strangers. I would have found it very difficult and he did struggle at times, but it made a very funny read, especially his description of the orchestra of sleeping sounds from his travelling companion.
As you would expect from two blokes alone in the mountains, proudly growing their beards and turning a little feral, talk often turned to farts and with a spot of wild camping, pooing in the woods got a mention too. While some may find this distasteful it amused me no end. It was one of those books I read with a grin.
The writing gave me the impression they were a likable duo who had fun on their adventure, despite the pains and issues they faced, and came out the other side of their mountains appreciating not only what they had achieved, but also the things that are important in life.
The Hairy Hikers: A Coast-to-Coast Trek along the French Pyrenees is published by Summersdale and available in ebook and paperback versions. From now until the 1st September 2014 the ebook is only 99p on Amazon UK. David also has a new book out this summer, A Tour of Mont Blanc: And other circuitous adventures in Italy, France and Switzerland that I'm looking forward to reading.