The story of extraordinary women who lost their way – their sense of self, their identity, their freedom – and found it again through walking in the wild.
‘Moving and memorable’ Virginia Nicholson, author of How Was It for You?
‘A triumph … I felt as though I were being lifted, carried up to peaks’ Charlotte Peacock, author of Into the Mountain: A Life of Nan Shepherd
‘A beautiful and meditative memoir’ Publishers Weekly
For centuries, the wilds have been male territory, while women sat safely confined at home. But not all women did as they were told, despite the dangers; history reveals women for whom rural walking became inspiration, consolation and liberation.
In this powerful and deeply inspiring book, Annabel Abbs uncovers women who refused to conform, who recognised a biological, emotional and artistic need for wilderness, water and desert – and who took the courageous step of walking unpeopled and often forbidding landscapes.
Part wild-walk, part memoir, Windswept follows an exhilarating journey from Abbs’s isolated, car-less childhood to her walking the remote paths trodden by extraordinary women, including Georgia O’Keeffe in the empty plains of Texas and New Mexico, Nan Shepherd in the mountains of Scotland, Gwen John following the Garonne, Simone de Beauvoir in the mountains and forests of France and Daphne du Maurier along the River Rhone.
A single question pulses through their walks: How does a woman change once she becomes windswept?