Andrew Terrill

The outdoor diary of a writer, photographer, and wilderness wanderer

On Sacred Ground – a progress report

trollheimen evening norway 1998
High in the Trollheimen Range, Norway, July 11, 1998.

MY SECOND BOOKOn Sacred Ground – is coming along well. In fact, it’s almost done. The manuscript is fully written, and, aside from a few extra passages, it has been professionally edited.

Alex Roddie, my editor, returned the manuscript to me shortly before Christmas. Since then, I’ve been working through his edits obsessively. His response to the book has been greatly encouraging. Here’s what he posted on Instagram while he was working on the text:

‘Currently working on the absolutely captivating ‘On Sacred Ground’, the second book by @terrillonfoot, which describes the second half of a massive walk from the southern tip of Italy to the northernmost point of Norway. Working on this has been an incredible adventure. The writing is exquisite and right now I’m being carried away with Andrew on his journey through the Norwegian fjells. I wrote of his first book, ‘The Earth Beneath My Feet’, that it was one of the best books about long-distance hiking I’d ever read. Its sequel might just be the best. I’ve never read anything that so perfectly captures the beauty and pathos of what it is to be young and on a life-changing journey. It’s had me in tears more than once.’ (@alex_roddie)

Thank you, Alex!

Wild Czech Forest January 10 1998
A wild forest in the Czech Republic – a rare warm spell during a long, cold, snowy winter. January 10, 1998.

I love the process of working with a great editor. Most of all, I find it creatively satisfying to be pushed to ‘be more’. No one knows the story better than myself, but Alex has an expert’s understanding of the subject and genre, a professional’s grasp of what a book needs to say and how it should say it, and enough distance from my journey to see where the story can be improved. Aside from correcting my inevitable grammatical errors and applying tricks to keep the story in the moment, Alex identified several areas that needed further development, including a brilliantly insightful suggestion that I write a new opening chapter to better set the scene. The result is a book that seamlessly picks up the story from where The Earth Beneath My Feet left off but will also work well for readers who might not have read the first book.

From the years I’ve spent thinking about it, writing it, rewriting it, redeveloping it (after receiving incredible beta reader feedback), and then professional editing, I’m thrilled by how the manuscript has come together! Every step in the journey has been worth taking.

snowshoeing norway may 1998
Heading uphill into snowy Norwegian fjells, May 4, 1998.

The next stage of the process is to draw the maps and typeset the book, then create advance copies to send to media reviewers. I’m also aiming to approach a few mainstream publishers, just to see if there is any interest. The Earth Beneath My Feet has been well received by readers and professional reviewers. I am curious to see if its success means anything within the mainstream publishing world!

In addition to the very kind post above, Alex has also publicly called the book ‘a masterpiece’ – a truly thrilling accolade! And in an email to me, he wrote: ‘Well, I am done! What an incredible adventure. The Norway section was just as good as you hinted it would be, and I don’t mind telling you that the last chapter, as you approached the North Cape, had me in tears. I have never read another book about long-distance walking that so perfectly captures the intensity of emotion to be experienced on an adventure like this – and I think that it will come across just as powerfully to non-hikers as well. I’m confident in saying that this is better than ‘The Earth Beneath My Feet’. It’s certainly the best book about long-distance walking I’ve ever worked on, and by a big margin. It’s beyond most published books in the genre I’ve read. You should be extremely proud with what you’ve created here.’

Of course, whether it IS a worthwhile read (or not) will ultimately be down to you and other readers to decide. But I can’t wait to find out, either way!

View from camp above the Aurlandsfjord, May 25, 1998.
View from camp above the Aurlandsfjord, May 25, 1998.

Away from my computer and writing, I’ve managed to spend a reasonable amount of time wandering and sleeping in the hills over the last week or so. I’ve stepped foot upon wild terrain every day of the year, and have also managed five night’s out so far – a great start to this year’s second attempt at the ‘Fifty-two Night Quest’.

The photos below chronicle the last ten days. They show winter coming and going – the fascinating ebb and flow of snow, ice and warm sunshine in Colorado’s Front Range. Wearing thermals one day, then shorts the next, means that life on foot here is never boring!


Moonlit camp jan 8 2022
A cold moonlit camp in the snow, January 8 2022. The world seemed silent and full of magic.
frosted tent jan 8 2022
A hard frost on the tent, January 9, 2022. Despite the cold, I stayed warm all night and slept fantastically well!
frosted grass 03 jan 8 2022
A sparkling morning, January 9, 2022. The landscape flashed with reflected light as I strode through it.
frosted grass 02 detail jan 8 2022
A close up of frosted grass, January 9, 2022.
A few days later, down in Golden, warm sunshine gave North Table Mountain a spring-like feel. January 13, 2022. 
north table textures jan 13 2022 c
I’ve fallen madly in love with the earthy colours and textures of the Front Range foothills in winter. I’m drawn to the way I can really see ‘into’ the land. January 13, 2022.
north table rocks jan 13 2022 b
North Table Mountain is capped by basalt – old lava flows. The many outcrops add a distinct character. This place feels like home to me now! January 13, 2022.
Lichen-covered basalt, with an ‘eye’ hole leading into the rock. These last four photos were all taken on a smart phone. I don’t usually take my phone into the hills, but had to on this occasion. But as I had it I figured I might as well grab a few snaps!
snowfall jan 14 2020
Within 24 hours of sixty-degree weather, snow was once again falling hard up in the foothills. January 14, 2022.
glowing tent in snowy mountains beneath moon
The falling snow was too good to waste! I walked uphill in a snowstorm, camped, and by 2:30 a.m. conditions had cleared. Wandering about the forest in freshly-laid snow beneath the light of the almost-full moon was a mesmerizingly beautiful experience. January 15, 2022.
juniper in snow at sunrise
I doubt I’ll ever tire of winter sunrise colours. Such moments are truly special. Snow and morning sunlight on a juniper, January 15, 2022.
morning light on snowy shrub
The benefits of snow are many and varied! January 15, 2022.
morning light on rocks and juniper
Morning light in a special place. January 15, 2022.
This week’s full moon was also too good to waste! The view from my sleeping bag. January 17, 2022.
bivvy sleeping bag view
Another wonderful day begins! January 17, 2022.
Scroll to Top