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  • Published: 15 March 2018
  • ISBN: 9780099592570
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $22.99

One Man and a Mule

Across England with a Pack Mule

From the author of The Green Road into the Trees, winner of the inaugural Wainwright Prize

In the Middle Ages, mules were used to transport goods across Britain. Strong, sturdy and able to carry a good 160lbs of weight, they made ideal walking companions – as long as you didn’t ask them to do anything they didn’t want to do!

So when Hugh Thomson decides he wants to revive this ancient tradition, but with a mule who is only willing to carry sandwiches, water and a map, his father can’t quite comprehend why: “Taking a mule across England? Really? Whatever for?”

Using old drovers’ roads that have largely passed into disrepair, Hugh and his trusty mule Jethro set out to travel across England, from the Lake District to the Yorkshire Moors. Along the way, they discover a landscape rich in history, and encounter the charismatic people who bring it to life.

  • Published: 15 March 2018
  • ISBN: 9780099592570
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Hugh Thomson

Hugh Thomson’s travel books include The White Rock: An Exploration of the Inca Heartland and Cochineal Red, both about Peru, as well as Nanda Devi, a journey to a usually inaccessible part of the Himalaya. His memoir Tequila Oil: Getting Lost in Mexico was serialised by BBC Radio 4.

Hugh has led many research expeditions to Peru and is one of Britain's leading explorers of Inca settlements. He has also taken filming expeditions to Mount Kilimanjaro, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Mexican Sierra Madre.

‘Thomson belongs to a rare species of explorer. He is a writer who explores and not an explorer who writes. And it is Thomson’s extreme humility in the face of both danger and extraordinary success that places him in the same tradition as Eric Newby.’ Geographical.

For The Green Road into the Trees, he returned to Britain to write about his own country. It won the inaugural Wainwright Prize for Nature and Travel Writing.

For the sequel, One Man and a Mule, Hugh decided to have ‘a South American adventure in England’ by taking a mule as a pack animal across the North.

'Everywhere Thomson goes, he finds good stories to tell.' New York Times Book Review


Also by Hugh Thomson

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Praise for One Man and a Mule

One Man and Mule is a lovely, good-natured and highly informative journey through the hinterland, emphasizing the human scale of England in all its peculiarities - evocative and wonderfully observed.

Paul Theroux

[I]t marks rivers, county boundaries, towns and villages relevant to the story, and the route the author took from St Bees on the Irish Sea, the most westerly point of northern England, to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea. The remote, random, meandering nature of this hugely enjoyable peregrination could not have been better expressed… there is evocative writing of nature and landscape beyond the entertainment.

Anthony Sattin, Observer

A thoroughly readable and discursive ramble through visually stimulating and historically fascinating countryside… A perfect book to take on your next holiday

Country Life

Terrific fun

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

Thomson’s gently blokeish bonhomie is never less than diverting and his gently meandering account the ideal easy-going beach read

The Lady

Thomson writes beguilingly

Daily Mail

Like all travel books, it is a potpourri of journey log, historical notebook, social observation and agricultural and rural comment. Thomson writes wittily, his deep understanding of landscape and nature coupled with a powerful descriptive capacity and good ear for dialogue.

Country & Townhouse

An enjoyable refuge from everyday life

The Times

A wonderful witty and personal journey, this paints a vivid and beautiful picture of Britain and its history

NFU Countryside

Companionable account of a coast-to-coast walk across England



Deskbound Traveller Blog

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