Armitage has said that he ‘realised at an early stage on the walk that taking notes with pen and paper was going to be completely impractical’. He made recordings on his mobile phone as he walked instead, and transcribed these into his notebook in the evenings.
This 'walking' notebook offers insight into Armitage’s writing process - showing us how ideas were recorded and developed. For example, lists at the end of the notebook (including possible ‘writing themes’) and the use of different-coloured pens, along with the blank pages separating some of the journal entries suggest that the notebook was not always written consecutively. Entries for some days were added to or annotated later.
Differences in the form of writing on the page suggest the difference between transcribing audio material and writing from memory. By comparing Armitage’s writing on different days we can also see how the notebook entries changed in response to the walk itself.
The Simon Armitage Archive in Special Collections contains other similar notebooks, including the notebook for his walk along the South West Coast Path, published as Walking Away (2015)