The Spine of Albion, by Gary Biltcliffe and Caroline Hoare
I have not anticipated the publication of a book for longer than this one. It’s been in the pipeline for over 15 years, and now at last it’s finally here!
Following the ‘serpenteering’ tradition popularised by Hamish Miller & Paul Broadhurst, The Spine of Albion documents the several pilgrimages taken by Gary Biltcliffe and Caroline Hoare to chart the course of the male and female serpent currents surrounding Britain’s longest alignment, the Belinus Line. Beginning on the Isle of Wight, the alignment bisects the country almost vertically, passing through six major cities including the ancient capitals of England and Scotland before leaving the north coast at Durness.
So has it been worth the wait? Most emphatically, yes! It’s a lovingly-produced paperback weighing in at over 500 pages, lavishly illustrated throughout with 246 full-colour plates and 35 plans and maps.
It can be difficult to make a book like this accessible – it simultaneously has to combine the functions of history book, tourist guide, dowsing record and atlas, and yet still keep the reader interested enough to want to read it all the way through and not dip in and out of it according to whichever area piques their interest. Gary and Caroline have managed to strike the correct balance in this regard, combining interesting local legends, historical accounts, tourist descriptions and anecdotal speculations, interweaving that rich tapestry with their on-going personal gnosis as they explore the different sections of the alignment.
It’s a darn good read, and it will take its place proudly on anyone’s bookshelf alongside Miller & Broadhurst’s The Sun & the Serpent and The Dance of the Dragon. I really don’t think it needs any higher praise than that.