Hilary Bradt | BEASTLY JOURNEYS – Unusual Tales of Travels with Animals

Jennifer Barclay | Non-Fiction

Never work with children or animals – they steal the show. That’s certainly the case with the animals in this collection of 45 true stories.

Gerald Durrell shares his bed in Argentina with a feverish baby peccary; John Rendall travels to Africa to introduce Christian the lion to the wild; Sarah Outen makes fishy friends while rowing solo across the Indian Ocean; and Jonathan Scott joins a pack of painted dogs.

Other journeys involve a smuggled tortoise, a dancing snake and a baby elephant; a dog that runs an ultra-marathon through the Gobi desert; Persian kittens on camelback and cats on boats; a 19th-century giraffe that walked from Marseilles to Paris drawing crowds of thousands; and a cockerel that accompanied a climber up the highest peak in Madagascar. Read about
the travelling musicians from Russia who needed a guinea pig to warm the maestro’s hands, and a rabbit in Ghana with a custom-made waistcoat.

With extracts from classic writers like Robert Louis Stevenson, Isabella Bird and Dervla Murphy, and original stories from new writers, this anthology might make you think differently when choosing a travel companion. There are birds and dogs that help people find their way, and beasts of burden that become burdensome beasts. Whether great or small, these are all creatures that make the human journey exceptional.

‘Fish got a ticket, has he?’ asked the stationmaster.   Emma Macdonald