In the Middle Ages, mules were used to transport goods across Britain. Strong, sturdy and able to carry a good 160lbs of weight, they made ideal walking companions – as long as you didn’t ask them to do anything they didn’t want to do!
So when Hugh Thomson decides he wants to revive this ancient tradition, but with a mule who is only willing to carry sandwiches, water and a map, his father can’t quite comprehend why: “Taking a mule across England? Really? Whatever for?”
Using old drovers’ roads that have largely passed into disrepair, Hugh and his trusty mule Jethro set out to travel across England, from the Lake District to the Yorkshire Moors. Along the way, they discover a landscape rich in history, and encounter the charismatic people who bring it to life.
One Man and Mule is a lovely, good-natured and highly informative journey through the hinterland, emphasizing the human scale of England in all its peculiarities - evocative and wonderfully observed.
[I]t marks rivers, county boundaries, towns and villages relevant to the story, and the route the author took from St Bees on the Irish Sea, the most westerly point of northern England, to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea. The remote, random, meandering nature of this hugely enjoyable peregrination could not have been better expressed… there is evocative writing of nature and landscape beyond the entertainment.
A thoroughly readable and discursive ramble through visually stimulating and historically fascinating countryside… A perfect book to take on your next holiday
Thomson’s gently blokeish bonhomie is never less than diverting and his gently meandering account the ideal easy-going beach read
Thomson writes beguilingly
Like all travel books, it is a potpourri of journey log, historical notebook, social observation and agricultural and rural comment. Thomson writes wittily, his deep understanding of landscape and nature coupled with a powerful descriptive capacity and good ear for dialogue.
An enjoyable refuge from everyday life
A wonderful witty and personal journey, this paints a vivid and beautiful picture of Britain and its history
Companionable account of a coast-to-coast walk across England