The Pull of the River by Matt Gaw (Book Review)

The Pull of the River – A journey into the wild and watery heart of Britain by Matt Gaw 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Hardback & ebook: Available now

Paperback: Publ. 21st February 2019

Matt and his friend James set off in a homemade (by James) canoe to explore the rivers and waterways of Britain. The canoe named the “Pipe”, and a smaller craft “Pipette” that Matt later buys “at mates rates” to do some solo exploring, take the pair on some entertaining adventures.

The two initially naive canoeists learn fast from their experiences and mistakes to become more experienced waterman and along the way explore both the slower and faster pace of the watercourses they encounter, as well as the conflicts between users and the natural environment that they at times literally occupy. It doesn’t pull any punches with some of their experiences either. It isn’t just a gentle exploration of the natural environment. There is plenty of evidence as to how we as the human race have adapted, altered and spoilt this essential element of the natural world.

The book has a well researched backstory drawing on the likes of Stevenson, Roger Deakin and others to tell some of the history, myths and facts of the rivers that they set out to explore. It has at times almost poetic prose in describing the natural world; the Barn Owls, Kingfishers, Otters, Beavers and even the infamous “Nessie” (spoiler: there’s no sighting).

This is the authors first book, and I would have loved it to continue on some of the rivers that I am more familiar with. If you are a lover of books about nature, or waterways then you’ll enjoy it too. Similarly if you have an interest in canoes, although not if you are expecting a lot of technical details or long explanations of the building of the Pipe.

[Disclaimer: I was sent an advanced copy of the paperback version of The Pull of the River by the publishers in return for a review. I have received no payment for this review, and the thoughts are my own.]

Away & Home

I’ve been in Brussels most of last week. In all likelihood it will probably be the last trip away before my redundancy kicks in. My last day in the office is now only four weeks away, and then the job hunting will begin in earnest!

With the long summer evenings, and the time difference, I had plenty of time to explore the area where I was staying. There was a park nearby, which made for a pleasant evening stroll after dinner. Leopold Park is associated with the educational institutes that are located nearby.




I got back home late on Friday afternoon and I have to say it’s good to be home and to be back to walking the dogs, the allotment, and just to be home.



Going Dutch

I’ve been in The Netherlands for a few days for work. Normally these trips are a flash in the pan and I never get to see any of the local area where I’m staying other than the office or wherever the meeting happens to be. This time however I’ve managed to see quite a bit, including on the flight out from the airport.


I’m staying in a fairly basic hotel, comfy and with a giant Aardvark right outside.


An Aardvark that also has a twitter account.


I also managed to get out and see the John Frost Bridge. This is the “Bridge Too Far”, made famous in the film of the same name, and part of “Operation Marketgarden”. Although the film tells one story, the little museum that is just below the bridge tells another, more realistic turn of events and how the battle took place over the period of ten days, seventy years ago. The bridge itself is a replacement for the one that was destroyed during the fighting, although the footings are the original ones.