LEAVING the car far behind, Macfarlane has provided a celebration of Britain and Ireland’s wildness. Yes, there are still some places (just a few) that are not within easy reach of tour bus.

The author swims, sleeps under the stars, roams forests, moors, mountains and shingle beaches. He illustrates his observations with tales of those who walked before him – medieval monks, romantic poets and soldiers.

This is a ghost story too, as he becomes increasingly aware of the power of past generations and their continuing effect on the land.

There is more tangible loss too in Macfarlane’s dignified mourning for an old friend, who shared his love of the land and found inspiration in it.