Two Men in a Boat Rowing Two Rivers

In the watery footsteps of Captain Horatio Hornblower RN

by Martin Andrew 

Publication Date:  05th Jul 2021


Travel writer and architectural historian Martin Andrew sets out with a lifelong friend to recreate Horatio Hornblower’s escape from Napoleon in a rowing boat in 1811, as told in CS Forester’s Flying Colours. From a practice run down the Severn to birdlife and Romanesque architecture along the Loire, an itinerant tale of picaresque goings-on.

About this book

Fans of CS Forester’s novels – especially Flying Colours – and Ioan Gruffudd’s portrayal of Horatio Hornblower will be in their element with this engaging true-life tale of a jaunt down the rivers Severn and Loire, the first a trial run and the latter a re-enactment of Hornblower’s escape from the French in 1811. Armed with a imagination, determination and enough muscle to power their ten-foot aluminium rowing boat (with Red Duster at the stern and French Tricolore at the prow), Martin Andrew and his oldest friend, Richard, first undertake a training voyage from Wales to Deerhurst, revelling in the bridges of another of their heroes, the great Scottish engineer Thomas Telford, along the way. Buildwas and Worcester are visited, the ghosts of the Darbys of Coalbrookdale accompany them, Ironbridge provides an overnight stop, and homage is paid to Paddy Leigh Fermor at Dumbleton.
Training completed, the tale moves to France, to the start point near Nevers, from where Hornblower himself set off. Historic towns and châteaux, a feast of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, impressive bridges and a wealth of fish and birdlife punctuate the account of a journey which is not without incident, ‘involuntary dips’ and the theft of their trusty boat adding a touch of drama to this true-life peregrination.
Two Men in a Boat Rowing Two Rivers has all the makings of a classic. Watery it may be, but colourless it is not!

About the Author

Martin Andrew is a travel writer and architectural historian who trained at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London in the 1970s. For twenty years he taught for the university of London’s Extra-Mural Department and for Oxford’s Department for External Studies while pursuing a career in heritage conservation with four local authorities. In 2008 he set up a heritage and outdoor writing consultancy and he now has over fifty books to his name, ranging from Discovering the English Lowlands (1991) to Roaming Midsomer (2016) with Buckinghamshire Privies (1998) and Collins Ramblers Guide: Chilterns and Ridgway (2001) and many others in between. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and has had many articles published in newspapers and magazines such as The Great Outdoors. Although much of his writing focuses on walking, he has also produced numerous topographical books and academic articles.

Additional Information

Table of Contents

1 The Two Men’s Boat, the Loire Unravels
2 Upper Arley to Wales where We Dip Oars at Last
3 A Long Day’s Rowing from Wales to Shrewsbury
4 In Shrewsbury and Onwards to Shrewsbury Weir
5 A Rough Landing at Atcham Bridge
6 Rowing Past Wroxeter
7 Buildwas Abbey and Supper in Ironbridge
8 The Darbys of Coalbrookdale
9 Through Ironbridge Gorge Past Swimming Firefighters and Coalport
10 On Past Bridgnorth
11 Quatford, Collieries and Back to Upper Arley
12 Back to the Severn: Bridgnorth and on to Bewdley
13 Bewdley, Ribbesford and on to Stourport
14 Rowing to Holt Fleet in the Rain
15 With Swans and Sculls to Worcester
16 A Glamping Night and Worcester
17 Down to Upton-upon-Severn
18 Rippling to Ripple and Tewkesbury
19 Journey’s End and the Tidal Severn Abandoned
20 Homage to Paddy Leigh Fermor at Dumbleton

21 To the Loire at Nevers, June 2017
22 No Château de Graçay and on to the Iron Town of Fourchambault
23 La Charité-sur-Loire, la Fille Ainée de Cluny
24 The Wine Country of Sancerre
25 Portage and an Involuntary Dip at Ousson-sur-Loire
26 Briare’s Aqueduct and Gien
27 Caillard’s Revenge
28 A Fruitless Search for a Lost Boat
29 Back to Gien with a New Boat, October 2018
30 Sully, St Benoît-sur-Loire and on to Jargeau
31 Joan of Arc at Jargeau and the Canal d’Orléans
32 The Maid at Orléans
33 The Happy Return, May 2019
34 Rowing Back to Beaugency
35 Nuclear Portage and Madame de Pompadour
36 Entre Deux Châteaux: Menars to Chaumont-sur-Loire
37 Royal Amboise
38 Doing Justice to Blois
39 A Happy Return Postponed
Bibliography: A Selection of the Books Referred to and Used in this Book