Running for the Hills: A family story


One summer’s day in the late 1960s two young Londoners fell in love with a hill farm in South Wales. But they had almost no money, no idea about sheep, and their marriage was uncertain from the start.

Their new home was a mile up the wild mountain, one end dug into its damp flank. It was ancient, cold and unbelievably primitive, with a view like a prospect of Africa. On a fair day it was paradise.

But it was a working farm, cut off from the world and condemned - they found out, after they bought it - as 'unfit for human habitation'.

This is the story of a passionate adventure; it is also the biography of a relationship, a portrait of an extraordinary way of life and an account of a bewitching childhood. From memory, conversations and the diaries of his now-separated parents, Horatio Clare reconstructs their relationship with each other and their mountain farm, and tells the story of his astonishing upbringing. At the fore is his mother, a wilful romantic, who chooses to make a life on the mountain single-handedly, and to raise her children there.

Running for the Hills is a vivid memoir of love and struggle in a remote and magical place.

John Murray, 2006

‘To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one’
Chinese Saying