If you like spending time outdoors, and people know this about you, chances are, you've been gifted some terrible Christmas gifts before. Maybe it was a mug that said 'I like hiking' or socks that definitely aren't meant for forest walking. I've been in this situation so many times, that this year, I was determined to find a meaningful present for the outdoor-lover friends of mine. And I did!
I wish people gave me one of the best walking boots or a quality waterproof jacket for Christmas, but in my nearly 40 years on this earth, it never happened. I appreciate these things can cost more and that many people have a certain amount of money they spend on others – fair play. However, you can get hold of meaningful, inexpensive gifts for walkers and outdoorsy people – Weird Walk being my top choice this year.
Full disclosure: Weird Walk found me; I didn't have to go out of my way to come across it. Not only it's an eye-catching compendium, but it has this aura around it, promising that it'll help you see things... differently. It finds you as much as you find it. When you see the spine of the book, you immediately reach out to it because you want to know what this mystical book is about.
So, what is Weird Walk about? It's an illustrated guide to Britain's bewitching countryside, from standing stones to pagan rituals. Although the book's about mysticism, it's not like a horoscope – the Weird Walkers aren't trying to convince you to believe in anything. Instead, they offer a walker's point of view of these sites filled with history and traditions.
Locations and events are grouped around the four seasons, highlighting the best for each. The separation has both mystical and practical reasons. Some of the observed festivals are done at a particular time of the year, while some places are only accessible either in the spring, summer, autumn or winter.
What I like about the book is that it showcases the lesser-known attractions alongside the most well-known tourist spots in Britain. You learn as much about the unique Padstow Obby Oss Festival in Cornwall and the Tigh Nam Bodach tradition in Perth and Kinross as the world-famous Stonehenge. Here, they are all equally important.
Most importantly, this book is as much about walking in the countryside as it is about mystical practices in the UK. Ordnance Survey coordinates are provided for each location, as well as walking tips. It certainly helped me expand my walking bucket list for 2024 and beyond and appreciate the wild variety of magical (as in, wonderful) places to visit in the country.
Weird Walk is available to buy as a hardback from several book retailers, including Bookshop.org, Rough Trade, Barnes and Noble and Waterstones, for a recommended retail price of £19.99. It's a bargain for such an excellent book. For more info, visit the Weird Walk website today. Keep walking weird, people!