Category Archives: Writer

Interview with authors

Richard Smith talking walking

Although quite a few inches shorter than Andrew Stuck, Richard Smith was one of the few people Andrew has interviewed who has walked faster than he does.  Andrew had to stop a couple of times while recording the interview just to catch his breath!  Not only a fast walker, Richard is someone who packs a lot into one life: a gynaecology cancer consultant and surgeon, internationally acclaimed womb-transplant specialist, academic author and father of four.  However, it is his enthusiasm for walking long distances, chanting while walking, and discovering pilgrimage sites that has drawn Andrew to him.

Andrew was introduced to him by one of his neighbours, fellow Scot, Tim Ingram-Smith whom Andrew has also interviewed previously for Talking Walking, and who invited Andrew to the book launch of one of Richard’s books: The Journey: Spirituality, Pilgrimage, Chant.

Garroch Head, Bute: a ‘thin place’ & place of pilgrimage

Richard accompanies Andrew on a short walk along the Regent’s Canal and within the breadth of their conversation, they discuss the value to him of walking, chant and walking in silence, as well as the benefits that walking can bring to women as they grow older, whether cancer sufferers or not. 22’48” 10.7MB

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Nick Hallissey talking walking

Andrew & Nick walk along “The Backs” in Cambridge with King’s College chapel in the background

A warm mid-summer’s day stroll through the Grantchester Meadows beside the river Cam should have been the idyllic setting for an interview by Andrew Stuck of Nick Hallissey, Deputy Editor of Country Walking magazine.

A professional walker and writer who has an encyclopeadic knowledge of walking routes throughout Britain.  For many, his must be the dream job, but as he reveals it is not just endless walks in the beautiful countryside, there’s research and meticulous preparation.  Neither of which Andrew appears to have done for this walk.  In addition, there are office-bound days prepping monthly issues of the magazine. We are also accompanied by a photographer, as Nick is keen to use images from our walk in a future feature. It is an experience Andrew has not encountered before. 11.4MB 24’19”

You can read Nick’s account of our walk in the March 2018 issue of Country Walking magazine. Want to read more of Nick’s adventures?  Country Walking Magazine are offering listeners to this podcast a discounted rate on subscriptions (including a trial package of 3 months for just £5) – just follow this link

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Nick_Hallissey

Why don’t you take up the Country Walking Walk 1000 miles challenge in 2018?


Photos were expertly taken by Richard Faulks.

Terence Bendixson talking walking

Terence Bendixson, journalist and author, is probably the longest serving campaigner for pedestrians  throughout the world, and is now the President of Living Streets in the UK, the charity formerly known as the Pedestrian’s Association.  He was recruited to the cause in the 1960s by Tom Foley, the Association’s co-founder, after an article he had written in the Guardian about the dominance of cars in our cities and towns. He his a strong believer in encouraging people to walk their daily errands, being aware of how street pattern and layout can influence travel behaviour and enhance or limit the experience of travel on foot.  He has lived almost all his life in Chelsea, now a prized neighbourhood of London, our conversation takes place there one sunny morning along roads he has walked since he was eleven.26’34” 12.5MB

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Matthew Beaumont talking walking

It is a busy summer lunchtime in Bloomsbury, and we are within a ‘stone’s throw‘ of where Charles Dickens once lived.  Andrew Stuck, producer of Talking Walking, is in the company of Matthew Beaumont, a scholar and Professor in English Literature at University College London and author of the bestselling book called “Nightwalking, a Nocturnal History of London”. His research interests go far beyond literature as he is also Co-Director of the University’s Urban Lab where he is responsible for the Cities Imagined strand.  22’17”  10.4MB

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Matthew_Beaumont

Bradley Garrett talking walking


Bradley Garrett describes himself as a ‘professional trespasser’ who has been exploring many hidden places and spaces ‘where we are not supposed to be’: climbing The Shard while it was under construction, breaking into the Maze prison and  abandoned underground bunkers and tube stations. When he agreed to an interview, Andrew Stuck wondered whether he would be blindfolded, bundled in a car and taken to a remote destination.

Maze prison

Maze prison

It wasn’t quite like that, although they did travel by car to the outer edges of Southampton, and then walked amongst motorways to reach a country route that took them to the River Test, in full flood.

Whether you judge Brad as a hero or a villain, there’s no way of escaping his infectious enthusiasm for going into places that you might think twice about visiting. 23’14” 10.9MB

Aldwych Disused Tube Station,

Download notes from this interview: Bradley_Garrett

Like what you heard and want to read more, then check out Brad Garret’s book:

Explore Everything

Or take a peep at his photo album


What has Brad Garrett been doing since our interview?

“Since we took our walk together, I’ve had a big change in my life after winning a 3-year research fellowship at the University of Sydney.

This has meant leaving the UK after 10 years in the country, and beginning an entirely new project working with groups and individuals who are preparing for the apocalypse called ‘preppers’.

For the next 3 years, I will be following preppers as they build bunkers and stockpile supplies awaiting calamity, and thinking about the bunker as the ultimate private space. So in short, I’ll be spending more time digging than walking, just like when I was an archaeologist! My new book, Bunker: The Architecture of Dread, will be published by Penguin in the UK and Scribner in the USA in 2019. “

Julia Killingback talking walking


Have you ever thought that you would like to write a guide book of walks to your local area – imagining seeing your book piled high in bookshops and bumping into people reading from your guide as they walk your local streets?


Julia Killingback didn’t just leave it to her imagination, she put her heart and soul, and considerable experience as an author, illustrator and product designer  into just such a dream.  Four Explore Walks Guides to Bristol and Clifton are the result.  However, the route she had to follow to reach this end was far from straight or smooth. 24′ 22″ 11.4MB

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Julia Killingback

Other title in the Explore Walks series – order copies of Explore Walks from here



Nick Hunt talking walking


Have you been inspired by a piece of travel writing to try a similar endeavour of your own, but found circumstance or lack of courage has knocked you off your stride?  Not so Nick Hunt, who as a teenager, read Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of a walk across Europe.  bavaria_2Nick has followed in Fermor’s footsteps, walking from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul, recounting his seven month journey in a book entitled ‘Walking the Woods and the Water’.  What pace do you set yourself? How do you keep yourself going? Who do you have as your companions? What do you learn about yourself and about walking? As I try to keep up with Nick on a walk along the popular canal towpath from Broadway Market to Islington, I ask him these questions and more. 29’27″14.5MB

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walking the woods and the water_2Buy: Nick Hunt’s Walking the woods and the water published in trade paperback by Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Photo credits: Nick Hunt


Nick Hunt has a new book out: Where the wild winds are – It describes a series of walks following the invisible pathways of some of Europe’s named winds – Helm, Bora, Sirocco, Foehn, Mistral – to discover how they affect landscapes, people and cultures.  READ MORE


What has Nick done since our interview

“In the past year I have moved from London to Bristol, but am currently looking after a small cottage in the Lake District for the coldest, darkest, wettest of the seasons. In 2016 I spent three months living and working in Atlantis Books, a bookshop on the Greek island of Santorini, and last year led a group of friends on a ten-day walk through the Accursed Mountains of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. I’ve been continuing to work with the Dark Mountain Project as editor and contributor, publishing two books of (loosely) ecological and ‘uncivilised’ writing a year. But my main project has been a series of walks following the invisible pathways of some of Europe’s named winds – Helm, Bora, Foehn, Mistral, Sirocco – to discover how they affect landscapes, people and cultures. The book about these journeys, Where the Wild Winds Are, was published in September 2017 by Nicholas Brealey, and is soon being translated into Italian, German and Dutch. Currently I am working on a book about London’s feral green parakeets for Paradise Road.”

Linda Cracknell talking walking


Linda Cracknell is an author who at the time of the interview was about to have published “Doubling Back–Ten paths trodden in memory” a moving memoir where she retraces ten walks undertaken by others, from the Highlands of Scotland to the Swiss Alps and Kenya.  It had been chosen as a Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 that was broadcast in the last week of May 2014.

To order a copy of Doubling Back – click on the image

Our interview explores how she sets out to write a narrative of a journey on foot, what she leaves out and how she draws in the reader to the journey or story she tells.  Now living in Scotland, her surroundings offer her plenty of variety for walks, short or long, in the surrounding countryside, much of which is devoid of people since the Highland Clearances. Nature and isolation are both important elements in her writing, as are memories conjured or animated by other walks, some personal, some collective some political. Linda has been influenced by the land artist movement, and especially by Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, but is also stirred by the romance of ‘setting off’, as captured in the writing of Robert Louis Stevenson and Laurie Lee. This interview was recorded over the Internet. 29’31” 13.8MB

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What Linda has been doing since our interview

Linda is now writing a quarterly column for Walk Highlands magazine, and an example of her pieces check out  “Putting walks into words” for great tips on how to write about walking (March 2017).


Photo credit: Phil Horey  Book jacket credit: Freight Books


Katrina Naomi talking walking


In this episode, Andrew Stuck talks to Katrina Naomi, a poet and walker who lives in Penzance, Cornwall.

Her latest collection is The Way the Crocodile Taught Me (Seren 2016)  She is currently poet-in-residence at the Leach Pottery in St Ives. She has just returned from an Arts Council writing project in Japan, where she was walking in the poet Basho’s footsteps. Katrina has a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths and has previously been writer-in-residence at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire, at the Arnolfini in Bristol and at Gladstone’s Library in North Wales.

The interview was recorded in September 2011 on a walk across Streatham Common close to where Katrina lives. 16’32” 7.8MB

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Phoebe Taplin talking walking


Phoebe Taplin, a freelance journalist and international walk route author, talks to Andrew Stuck. At the time of the interview Phoebe had recently returned from Moscow, where she and her husband had lived for the past 4 years. In her effort to discover the city, she formed a walking group and researched where to walk in Moscow. MoscowWalksSpringMany of these walks were published in the Moscow News, a local paper, and Phoebe is selecting 48 of these to be published in guide book form. The interview was recorded in May 2011 on a walk around residential streets in Bishops Stortford, a marked contrast from many of the walks in Moscow. 20’39” 9.7MB

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BookcoverWhat has Phoebe done since our interview

“2011 onwards: I have a walking group, composed of random friends and contacts, and I lead walks most weeks all over the South East and beyond… We’ve walked the Capital Ring, London Loop, Thames path, Herts Way, Essex Way, Icknield Way and many others… Last year we also explored (among other things) ‘Global London’, following on from several years of ‘Russian London’…

2011-2012 – Wrote four seasonal walking guides to Moscow; 11,000 copies of each one were published! The Summer guide has now sold out and Autumn is almost gone; Spring and Winter still available (for now) on Amazon Since we talked, the international arm of the old state news agency Ria Novosti, which published my books, has been closed down by the Russian Government and the Moscow News is long gone too. I think they were both a bit too independent for the increasingly authoritarian regime there.

2013 – Wrote a little book about Henley-on-Thames for Pitkin Press and the Rowing Museum

Since the interview, I have explored the area I now live in very thoroughly and been involved in the local Footpath association…
2014-2015 – Wrote two walking guides to the lovely Harcamlow Way (a long distance route through Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire), also available on amazon.

Regular contributions to various travel magazines including Country Walking Magazine, covering East of England and beyond.

2018 – two forthcoming books of film-related walks upcoming with Pitkin Press. One of these is a Film Lovers Guide to Oxford, including walks along the Thames Path and beyond. The other is a guide to locations for the TV series Outlander (!) around Glasgow and Edinburgh.

My other latest project involves researching car-free travel guides across the UK for a new website, Good Journey, which promotes and celebrates getting about on trains, buses, on foot and by bike,”

Len Banister talking walking


Len Banister, former Founder member and chair of the Greater London Ramblers’ Forum, and a prolific walk route deviser and author, accompanies Andrew Stuck on a walk through Walthamstow.

Recorded October, 2010 Published November 2011 20’08” 9.5 MB
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What has Len been doing since our interview:

“Since we last spoke, although I have continued writing walks – particularly for magazines, I have ceased working for the Greater London Ramblers’ Forum.  The Ramblers‘ work in London has become increasingly difficult for two reasons:

  • The responsibility for the upkeep of the Strategic Paths has reverted to the Boroughs which results in the need for complex negotiation, time consuming monitoring, and the difficulty involved in the identification of anyone within the authority willing to take responsibility.
  • The paradox that most Ramblers’ organised walking in London is enjoyed by those on the periphery of the Capital whilst those members living centrally, because of better transport networks, tend to walk more regularly in the countryside.

I now give talks to other organisations on the history of the Ramblers and have responsibility for Rights of Way Liaison in Essex.  In this latter role I have been setting up volunteer groups across the county which take responsibility for clearing, signing, and maintaining path furniture.

I’ve just had an experience which might be worth relating.  At the very end of November, I entered hospital for open-heart surgery to replace a heart valve and insert two bi-passes.  I am now back walking 5 or six miles a day with every prospect of returning to 12-mile outings in 2 or 3 months’ time.  My reason for mentioning this is that my consultant attributes my fast recovery to my walking history.

I’ve just written a walk over the Walthamstow Wetlands…it may yet appear in Country Walking Magazine.”