Fans of CS Forester's novels - especially Flying Colours - and Ioan Gruffudd's portrayal of Horatio Hornblower will be in their element with this engaging true-life tale of a jaunt down the rivers Severn and Loire, the first a trial run and the latter a re-enactment of Hornblower's escape from the French in 1811. Armed with a imagination, determination and enough muscle to power their ten-foot aluminium rowing boat (with Red Duster at the stern and French Tricolore at the prow), Martin Andrew and his oldest friend, Richard, first undertake a training voyage from Wales to Deerhurst, revelling in the bridges of another of their heroes, the great Scottish engineer Thomas Telford, along the way. Buildwas and Worcester are visited, the ghosts of the Darbys of Coalbrookdale accompany them, Ironbridge provides an overnight stop, and homage is paid to Paddy Leigh Fermor at Dumbleton.
Training completed, the tale moves to France, to the start point near Nevers, from where Hornblower himself set off. Historic towns and chateaux, a feast of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, impressive bridges and a wealth of fish and birdlife punctuate the account of a journey which is not without incident, 'involuntary dips' and the theft of their trusty boat adding a touch of drama to this true-life peregrination. Two Men in a Boat Rowing Two Rivers has all the makings of a classic.
Watery it may be, but colourless it is not!
Bradt Travel Guides