I have spoken about Mr Yates in past posts - he is one of my favorite fishermen; he is beloved by nearly every British angler as an author, photographer and staunch advocate for vintage fishing gear and methods. Over the last few months, in anticipation for Maine’s fishing season, I read a few of his books – each one is a masterpiece. I knew through Yates’ reputation and his previous works that I would love these books, but as each one unfolded I became further charmed and impressed by Yates; his philosophies, his love for the outdoors, nature and, of course, tea. All of which resonate with me and my beliefs.
When I came to the end of “Nightwalk”, Yates’ magical and lyrical book about walking through nighttime British countryside, I was keen to find out what he was up to next. It was in this search that I came across his intended crowd funded next publication. Entitled “The Lost Diaries” the book is exactly that, a book of his recently rediscovered fishing diaries dating from the 1980s, including “the last days Chris spent fishing at Redmire after his record catch and the early days of the Golden Scale Club.”
How to Fish and On Sea Fishing – Chris Yates
So for my sake, and for the sake of all those that love and cherish nature, the outdoors and Yates’ writing, take a look at this video and perhaps consider donating to this book. Funding is being sourced through unbound.co.uk which is very much like kick-starter. For a minimum donation of GBP10 you will receive a copy of the book and also have your name published in the back.
I just finished “The Secret Worlds of Colin Fletcher” a truly engrossing collection of Fletchers stories, each one painting an increasingly vivid picture of Fletcher through his musings. He strives endlessly and at times aggressively for solitude as he passes through different, changing landscapes hunting an epiphany, an answer to a question which haunted him; just how is it possible (if at all) for man to live in harmony with nature in the modern age.
This is not an instructional book like “The Complete Walker” and is less of a travelogue than “The Man Who Walked Through Time” but I feel it’s essential reading for anyone true lover of the great outdoors.
The Pacific Crest Trail by William R. Gray photographed by Sam Abell
I just finished reading “The Pacific Crest Trail” by William R. Gray, published by the National Geographic Society. This is a terrific book, well worth hunting down. Gray is a gifted writer, mixing natural history, trail history and a diary style narrative as he and photographer Sam Abell walk the trail. There is a strong focus on the people they meet and their stories. Their intention was never to thru-hike, this meant they were able to stop along the way to explore, expanding the narrative. Abell’s photographs are exceptional, they are very artistic and complement Gray’s writing perfectly.
Gray continued as a writer, editor, and publishing executive at National Geographic until 2001 and now teaches as San Juan college. His other books include “Camping Adventure (Books For Young Explorers)” and “Voyages to Paradise,” both are now on my wish list. Abell continues to shoot with National Geographic and has been published in over 20 articles. He has also released several photography books and exhibited his work numerous times. See more of Abels work here.
After pack weight, trail food would have to be one of the most talked about hiking subjects. I am fascinated by the creative recipes written in older hiking books. The most interesting come from a time before commercial hiking food, when hikers managed with some fresh produce and dry staples, adding to their larder by hunting and gathering. Most recipes are fairly predictable rabbit stew, fish, beans and breads.
There is one recipe, however, that stuck in my head more than any other. Treeless Maple Syrup from Bradford Angier’s 1967 publication “Taming the Wilds.”
This recipe is for those living outside the North East who do not have access to maple trees.
6 medium potatoes
2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
Peel the potatoes. Boil uncovered with 2 cups of water until one cup of fluid remains. Remove the potatoes and use any way you want. Stirring the liquid until the boiling point has been once again reached, slowly add the sugar. Once this has entirely dissolved set the pan off the heat to cool slowly.
It can then be bottled.
Being a newcomer to New England, and not having had the chance to make my own maple syrup yet, I thought I would give it a try. I’d love to report it was incredible but as per Angier’s instructions I am leaving it to mature. An initial tasting was accurate to Angier’s prediction, realising my “worst fears” flavour wise. He advised placing it in a dark place for several days the results of which he promises will be surprising. I shall report back once ready.