Returning to the wild

Following the success of his first book, Golf in the Wild, Northumberland-based author Robin Down has published a sequel to his golf travelogue.

Following on from the first book, which took you on the journey from Robin’s home club Allendale to the far north of Scotland, Golf in the Wild – Going Home heads back to Allendale by a different route, heading east along Scotland’s remote northern shores, traversing the Flow Country, the Black Isle, the Moray Coast and the Scottish Heartlands and Borders.

Robin, treasurer of Allendale Golf Club for 20 years, said: “It was a journey I felt compelled to take – there would have been a strong sense of a job left undone if I had not gone home.”

Just as in the first book, Golf in the Wild – Going Home is about much more than lesser-visited golf courses, many of them with just nine holes and an honesty box. It is part local history, part memoir and part travelogue.

In its conclusion, it is also a work of the imagination. The story does not return to the Allendale course at High Studdon. Instead, an imaginary rail journey on the long-closed Border Counties Railway takes the reader from Riccarton to Hexham and along the Hexham and Allendale Railway, which closed to passengers in 1930. Its final destination is the old nine-hole Allendale course at Thornley Gate, which closed in 1992.

“I walked the course with a member who remembers it well – especially his hole-in-one at the eighth,” added Robin. “There is still evidence of greens and tees – a relatively short course, it would have been a real test with narrow fairways, electrified fencing around the greens and extra-lush semi rough, regularly fertilised by the cattle which were free to roam.

“The journey feels complete now and I hope people will visit the clubs on the route as they have after reading the first one. I’ve made many friends through the book, travelled to open competitions along the route, and established the Golf in the Wild Seniors Open at Allendale [the seventh edition is schedule for September 15].

“There may be another journey in the future, though we’ll have to see.”

Golf in the Wild – Going Home is available direct from the author at, from Forum Books in Corbridge, and from Amazon.