Books by Steve Cracknell

The Implausible Rewilding of the Pyrenees (2021)

Mark Avery’s Nature Book of the year 2021.

Is the return of bears and wolves to the mountains destroying a rural way of life?

Unable to decide on the issues, Steve Cracknell climbs up to the isolated summer pastures of the Pyrenean mountains to talk to those most concerned: the shepherds. He also meets hunters and ecologists – and goes looking for bears.

In a message of relevance to Britain, he argues that rewilders need to spend more time with all the stakeholders whose lives will be affected.

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Sheep passing through Couflens on their transhumance (pp 64-5)
Griffon vultures sizing up a dead sheep (pp 80-81) ©G&T Nicaise
Ibex (pp 138-9)
The Implausible Rewilding of the Pyrenees

Footprints on the Mountains (2016)

The Pyrenees are by turns beautifully natural and bleakly austere; shaped by centuries of labour… and scarred by human suffering. In Footprints on the Mountains, Steve Cracknell returns to them – on the Spanish high-level Senda – to see how they are changing. It is the story of an ageing hiker and a long and sometimes difficult walk.

In the valleys he talks to locals and meets an eccentric cast of hikers. But on the heights he is alone with marmots and sarrios. He listens to both sides of the argument over the reintroduction of bears. And goes searching for ibex imported as part of a rewilding programme.

Bear festivals, witch trials, and refugees are as much part of the tale as the spectacular scenery; the World Heritage Ordesa canyon and the twisted waters of the Aigüestortes are part of the backdrop.

More than just a footnote on the place of the ancient wild in the modern world, this is the book to read if ever you dream of escaping to the hills.

More on Footprints on the Mountains.

Footprints on the Mountains: News from the Pyrenees

If You Only Walk Long Enough (2009)

In a sweeping panorama which takes in everything from hot pepper ice cream and slug sex to the legacy of the Romantic Movement and the future of the European brown bear, this book is a fascinating portrait of the French Pyrenees as they move into the 21st century. It is also the story of a solitary walker and a long-distance footpath, the Pyrenean Way (GR10). When he set out from the Atlantic coast, Steve Cracknell thought he was heading for the Mediterranean on a trail which ambled through the foothills. He ended up with crampons and ice axe, crossing glaciers to tackle the highest peaks of the range. In a book which is by turns amusing and thoughtful he treads lightly across the landscape, concluding that the Pyrenees are changing rapidly. Now is the time to discover them.

‘A very humorous tale of adventure.’ The French Paper Book of the Month February 2010.
‘A superb and unique addition to books about the Pyrenees.’ Strider Magazine.

More on If You Only Walk Long Enough.

Cover of: If You Only Walk Long Enough: Exploring the Pyrenees
If You Only Walk Long enough: Exploring the Pyrenees

The text was translated into French and published by Cairn (Pau).

More on Les Pyrénées Tout en Marchant sur le GR10.

Les Pyrénées Tout en Marchant sur le GR10