🏕’I’m looking forward to dipping my toes into this pathway’. Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Memoir The Salt Path by @raynor_winn #TuesdayBookBlog

The Salt PathThe Salt Path by Raynor Winn

4 stars

The Salt Path is a memoir about walking the South West Coastal Pathway, a route that goes between Minehead on the northern Somerset coast to Poole on the south Dorset coastline. Two people, homeless, one terminally ill, walking and finding the beauty in the rawness of life.

Ray and Moth are a middle aged couple; after a bad business investment and years fighting through courts they find themselves homeless with less than £50 a week to live on. On top of that Moth has been diagnosed with CBD ( corticobasal degeneration). With nowhere to live, they decide to walk the coastal pathway, wild camping and living as frugally as they can.

This is a beautiful story; harrowing and painful, but also full of hope. It highlights homelessness in the UK and how the homeless are treated. It also shines a light on the kindness of strangers.

Walking parts of this coastline is on my bucket list and I have an opportunity to walk it with a friend. She gave me this book to read; I’m looking forward to dipping my toes into the salty pathway that others have travelled and finding more than just the views along the way.

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Book description

Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.

The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

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18 thoughts on “🏕’I’m looking forward to dipping my toes into this pathway’. Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Memoir The Salt Path by @raynor_winn #TuesdayBookBlog

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  2. What a heartbreaking story, and I’m glad you said there is also hope in the story. Homelessness here in the US is such a tragic issue, I didn’t realize it happened much in the UK>

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  3. Thanks, Rosie. Sometimes from sad beginnings, good things can come, and it seems that is the case here. I’ve always wondered about going on a long trek, so I can see the appeal as well, and I hope you manage to cross it off your list in due course. It should be a great adventure, especially in good company!

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  4. I’m confused. Someone terminally ill sets out to walk 630 miles, camping all the way? I’ve known a lot of chronically and terminally ill people, and they have all been fragile, most of them now bedbound unless someone moves them to a chair for a change of scenery, or a wheelchair to take them somewhere.

    I’m sure there’s an explanation, but I couldn’t, and all the practical logistics would be overwhelming. I’ve probably lost my opportunity to do something a lot easier: buy or rent a Tiny House and an extended-cab pickup truck to pull it, and visit parts of the country with my husband, but it would mean him doing EVERYTHING, including most of the driving, and I won’t even ask him. It’s my dream.

    I’d love to hear what’s NOT there that makes this possible; the reviews I read didn’t seem to mention it. I wonder if my inability to walk many steps without major pain is making me see this differently. And wondering how the wife is going to handle the husband getting much worse (apparently it made him better!).

    There is a famous writer who talks about how hard it is to write because she is disabled; but she RUNS. 5K runs. I can’t fathom how she makes the claim, because my life is so different. If I had the energy after writing my fiction, I’d tackle telling how it REALLY is.

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    • Hello Alicia,
      In the book Moth has just been diagnosed with his illness when they are made homeless. If I remember rightly, much of the pain was in his shoulder and he took medication for it. The prognosis was that there was no cure and he would get worse, but they didn’t know at what pace.

      Daily walking with a backpack was the opposite of what the specialist advised, but the couple had very limited choices as they were homeless. His ‘cure’ wasn’t sudden or full, but being in nature, removing stress, sea swimming, coming off the medication (they ran out), daily weight-bearing exercise all contributed to Moth’s health.

      The walking wasn’t easy, they were very slow and Ray was in denial about his health for much of the time. They were in a bad way mentally and physically when they set out.

      Every challenge in life is different for every person. If you are curious, I would suggest getting the book. I’m sorry that you are limited with what you can do by your own illness, I’m sure there are things that you can do which others would wish they could too.

      Best wishes,


      • I think what bothered me was ‘terminal’ – I assume that means things are already pretty bad and will end soon.

        If what they meant was, ‘bad and will continue to get worse and there’s nothing we can do for it,’ which is what the descriptions sounded like, that has more breathing room. Thanks for the explanation.

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  5. A fabulous book. I loved the flashes of humour and Raynor’s ability to capture moments of beauty in nature. I’ve read the follow up and though it was interesting to learn what happened next, it doesn’t have the same impact as Salt Path

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