In 1961 the intrepid Penelope Chetwode borrowed a mare, and set off on an adventure into the remote backlands of Spain. Her subsequent book “Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalusia” was given to me by my mother for my 15th Birthday. For 52 years I held onto the dream of retracing her steps, and in 2019 I rallied my courage and my two horses and off we set.

Penelope’s Route is an account of my journey across the same trails, mountains, plains and villages some sixty years later. In essence it’s an account of adventure on horseback; but it also examines the historical evolution of Spain’s rural communities. On my travels I meet some of the same people as Penelope, who remember her unique character and unusual expedition, but had no idea she had immortalised them in writing.

Book mock-up

The English version of my book “Penelope’s Route” will be published on 28th August 2020, but my dream and my promise to the Andalusians who became my friends along the way is that they too can read my book in Spanish as “La Ruta de Penélope”.

I am therefore calling on fellow adventurers to help me financially to fulfil this final and critical element of the project; to translate Penelope’s Route into Spanish and fund its publication in Spain. Without the kind generosity of so many families and Town Halls who welcomed me and helped me in moments of crisis, the adventure would have been a non-starter. I am determined to give copies of the book to these wonderful hosts, and would be so grateful for your financial support in helping me achieve this.

Any contribution you are able to make in the name of adventure, culture, history and friendship will be deeply appreciated.

“As we climbed, the wind and sleet battered us mercilessly… The cloud cover was so low we couldn´t see the next tree trunk let alone any views, and I just walked and walked and talked and talked to the horses and gods of the mountains, to the forest and the wet rocks and Penelope. I demanded that they take us somewhere, anywhere, we would find shelter from the wind and rain before we all three got hypothermia. My fury kept me going. I was fed up altogether with the vile weather that had been dogging my enterprise for twelve of the twenty-two days I had been on my ride – yes I counted them as I stumbled along… I was fed up with never having a dry garment to put on in the morning, fed up with slippery reins and miserable horses and fecking MUD!”

Beautifully written and truly captures daily Andalusian life

Richard Dunwoody MBE