I’ve always wanted to take a long walk through the Yorkshire Dales.
The feeling was intensified while reading Peter Robinson’s Inspector Alan Banks series, then doubly so by Robert Buckley’s “Two Miles An Hour,” (268 pages, $15, Irish Enterprises), the Marion author’s recounting of an exploratory walk on the Appalachian Trail in this country followed by four lengthy walks in the British Isles.
Buckley, who found his writing chops in fiction with “The Slave Tag” and “Ophelia’s Brooch,” has hit on the perfect formula for relating tales of his walks in the United States, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Think of yourself in one of those charming countryside pubs Buckley writes about, relaxing with a pint by the fireplace. Now picture Buckley sitting across from you, painting conversational word pictures of his day’s trek across the moors or along a seaside cliff.
That’s the tone Buckley adopts as he tells the reader about his journeys. He talks about his gear, the terrain, the weather, the lodging, the good days, the not-so-good days, historical sites he stops to visit. And he talks about the people. Oh, does he ever talk about the people — the absolute stars of the book.
You’ll meet the most colorful characters. People who run the B&Bs, the inns, hostels and pubs. People he meets along the way who graciously lend a helping hand. And the trekkers like Buckley who walk these trails for the sheer pleasure of doing so. Buckley is a gregarious guy who strikes up conversations easily and befriends a good many people in his travels. And these relationships lend a real warmth to “Two Miles an Hour.”
Oh, there’s also a Welsh cow in a starring role, but I’ll say no more about that. Read the book for that amazing tidbit.
Buckley’s self-published book is available in print and e-book formats from Amazon.com. Autographed copies may be purchased by emailing email@example.com. It is also available at New Bo Books in Cedar Rapids and Prairie Lights in Iowa City.