The Salt Path Book Summary - The Salt Path Book explained in key points
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The Salt Path summary

Raynor Winn

The story of a couple who lost everything and ventured out on the English coast

4.3 (25 ratings)
21 mins
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    The Salt Path
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    Two strokes of terrible luck left Ray and Moth with nothing – so they went backpacking.

    In 2013, Ray Winn and her husband, Moth, received two devastating blows. First, they were evicted from their home. Then Moth was diagnosed with a degenerative brain condition, a diagnosis that was essentially a death sentence – to a slow, creeping death. They were in their 50s and, just like that, their lives had been turned upside down.

    The key message here is: Two strokes of terrible luck left Ray and Moth with nothing – so they went backpacking.

    Why did they have to leave their home? Well, first of all, the couple had invested in a company set up by a friend of Moth’s. When the company failed, he came after Ray and Moth for money that they didn’t have, and didn’t believe they owed. The dispute escalated. Soon enough, they’d spent all their savings on lawyer fees. They were forced to represent themselves in court, and were no match for a professional legal team. In the end, the judge ruled against them.

    With no money left, they were ordered to give up their home – a beautiful Welsh farmhouse.

    Not that it was just their home. Yes, they’d lived there for decades and raised their children there. But the farmhouse was also their main source of income; renting rooms to tourists is what kept the Winns afloat. They now had no place to live and no livelihood – and then Moth got the diagnosis.

    Moth’s shoulder and arm had been hurting for years, but doctors had struggled to diagnose the problem. It turned out to be corticobasal degeneration, or CBD – a rare condition that meant Moth would gradually lose control, first of his body and later of his mind. People with CBD usually have between six and eight years to live. But, the doctor told them, Moth’s seemed to be spreading slowly.

    They had no idea what to do next. The answer came while they were crouching under the stairs, hiding from the bailiffs who had come to evict them. Ray noticed a book in a packing box: Five Hundred Mile Walkies, written by a man who’d walked his dog – taken it for “walkies” – along the entire South West Coast Path. Ray’s eyes lit up.

    The South West Coast Path stretches from Minehead, in Somerset, on the bank of the Bristol Channel, all the way across to the western tip of Britain – Land’s End – and curves back east, to Poole, in Dorset. Not 500 miles after all, it turns out, but more – 630 in total.

    No home, no money, no plan for the long term. But Ray and Moth still had each other. So they decided to walk the path.

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    What is The Salt Path about?

    The Salt Path (2018) is a tale of tragedy – and of how one couple responded to it. Within a week, the author, Raynor Winn, was served an eviction notice, and her husband, Moth, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. But, instead of succumbing to despair, Raynor and Moth embraced homelessness and decided to hike the South West Coast Path in southern England. The Salt Path is the story of their 630-mile walk toward an uncertain future.

    Best quote from The Salt Path

    ... ahead of us? The walk, only the walk.

    —Raynor Winn
    example alt text

    Who should read The Salt Path?

    • Lovers of nature, the sea, and salty fresh air
    • People concerned about homelessness
    • Anyone who’s gripped by real-life stories

    About the Author

    Raynor Winn is a long-distance walker and writer. She’s written about nature, homelessness, and wild camping. The Salt Path, a memoir of her own experiences, is her first book.

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