Voyageur : Across the Rocky Mountains in a Birchbark Canoe

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Fifteen years before Lewis and Clark, Scotsman Alexander Mackenzie, looking to open up a trade route, set out from Lake Athabasca in central Northern Canada in search of the Pacific Ocean. Mackenzie travelled by bark canoe and had a cache of rum and a crew of Canadian voyageurs, hard-living backwoodsmen, for company. Two centuries later, Robert Twigger decides to follow in Mackenzie's wake. He too travels the traditional way, having painstakingly built a canoe from birchbark sewn together with pine roots, and assembled a crew made up of fellow travelers, ex-tree-planters and a former sailor from the US Navy. Several had tried before them but they were the first people to successfully complete Mackenzie's diabolical route over the Rockies in a birchbark canoe since 1793. Their journey takes them to the remotest parts of the wilderness, through Native American reservations, over mountains, through rapids and across lakes, meeting descendants of Mackenzie and unhinged Canadian trappers, running out of food, getting lost and miraculously found again, disfigured for life (the ex-sailor loses his thumb), bears brown and black, docile and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 30mm | 359.99g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0753821486
  • 9780753821480
  • 846,510

About Robert Twigger

Robert Twigger won the Newdigate prize for poetry in 1985. He is the author of Angry White Pyjamas, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, Big Snake, The Extinction Club and Being a more

Review quote

Robert Twigger, by his own admission, typifies the type of middle-class modern man who longs for primitive physical adventure. That he combines this with a witty and vivid writing style is the reader's luck. ...Entertaining throughout -- Katie Owen Sunday Telegraph A truly interesting journey, told with wit and panache. ... Twigger is a fine raconteur... his book is also an eloquent tribute to the melancholy surrealism of small settlements in the middle of empty space, and the severity and grandeur of wild places -- Joanna Kavenna Spectator This book is mesmerising from the first page to last and deeply, unexpectedly moving. -- Duncan Fallowell Daily Telegraph There is a nice line in self-deprecation that runs through what is a very elegantly written account of Twigger's obsessive, masochistic reprise of Alexander Mackenzie's trek across the Rockies 213 years ago by traditional birchbark canoe. ... Twigger reminds us that the adventurous spirit of the British explorer is alive and well, and Voyageur is a fine addition to the genre -- Daniel Topolski Guardian A genuinely delightful piece of work, and I thoroughly recommend it -- Marcus Berkmann Sunday Telegraph Robert Twigger is not so much a travel writer as a thrill-seeking philosopher Esquire Voyageur is a great read, brimming with intrepid adventure, close shaves and servings of pemmican. It is a grown-up Swallows and Amazons -- Lizzie Matthews Wanderlust A compelling read that vividly brings to life an often overlooked historical achievement -- Tom Chesshyre Times Literary Supplementshow more

Rating details

83 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 31% (26)
4 33% (27)
3 23% (19)
2 11% (9)
1 2% (2)
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