Running for the Hills

Growing Up on My Mother's Sheep Farm in Wales

About The Book

Before Horatio Clare was born, his parents fell in love with a place -- a remote sheep farm in Wales, physically and in every other way far from the lives they were forging as young professionals in London. The farm was high up a mountain, nearly impassable in winter. The neighbors were surly, or perhaps just unused to foreigners. But the setting was breathtaking, and soon it changed Jenny's and Robert's lives. What began as the somewhat conventional dream of a young, ambitious couple from London looking for a weekend home quickly became a different vision. Horatio's mother, romantic and tenacious, found it impossible to leave the fierce and beautiful land. She abandoned her job, her social world, and eventually her marriage to raise her two sons in the company of a herd of sheep, a few dogs, and the badgers, foxes, and mice who had prior claim to her new world. While other boys were going to films and listening to rock music, Horatio was weaning ewes and watching weather and surviving the furor of irascible neighbors. His childhood was marked by wonder and joy, and it is that wonderment that he bestows upon the reader as he recounts the story of the ancient, sometimes brutal, way of life on a hill farm. This wise book is a moving tribute to his mother, both beautiful and brave.

About The Author

Horatio Clare was born in 1973 and raised in Wales. He is a former lifeboatman, bartender, journalist, and BBC radio producer.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (August 29, 2006)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416538110

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Raves and Reviews

"The joy of Running for the Hills lies in its seemingly effortless richness and precision. . . . It is the prose equivalent of a collection of poems by Wordsworth. [A] heartening, raw, tender, radiant first book." -- The Times (London)

"Running for the Hills is a beautifully crafted story of a young boy's adventures growing up on a remote Welsh sheep farm and his mother's love affair with that life. Horatio Clare vividly and lyrically evokes a world that is hard yet tender, bleak yet bountiful." -- Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle

"A beautifully written book that immerses you in the harshness and the splendor of living off the land on a Welsh sheep farm. Clare's prose allows you to experience the cycle of life and death." -- Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation

"Touching, funny and extremely well-written. . . . There are passages here that remind one of Wordsworth's recollections of his Lake District boyhood in The Prelude." -- The Daily Telegraph (London)

"[An] enchanting book. . . . [Clare's] lyrical description is so beautifully written that you almost hold your breath." -- The Daily Mail (London)

"[A] beautifully written memoir. . . . Despite its portrayal of hardship, Running for the Hills is lifted by its sense of joy and spiritual freedom." -- The Economist

"With a clear eye and a strong, graceful pen, Clare describes the almost romantic wonder of being a child in a wild, often inhospitable landscape. A tender, eloquent, honest book about a remarkable family and the process of understanding your parents as well as loving them." -- Sarah Dunant, author of The Birth of Venus

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