A FORMER vicar who cycled more than 1,700 miles from Cumbria to Rome with a cello is set to perform and talk about his book ‘Highway Cello’ at a Pooley Bridge bookshop.

Kenneth Wilson, known as the ‘poetical cellist’, set off on his epic journey in 2022 and played at venues across Europe during his 40-day journey.

The 1800-mile journey saw the 63-year-old, who lives just outside Penrith, strap in his carbon fibre cello for a ride from Carlisle's Tullie House through challenging terrains, including the Pennines, Dales, Alps, and Apennines - the equivalent of climbing more than three Everests.

On the way, he would perform for locals ranging from formal concerts to impromptu busking. 

"In the UK, I had concerts booked every night on the tour.  When I got to France and Italy, it was a bit potluck and sometimes it worked out and sometimes it didn't," Kenneth said. 

"When you're on a bike with a cello on your back, it's the countryside you prefer to the cities which can be a bit dangerous. When I was out on my own with nothing going on, that was nice. 

"It's quite scary going down an alpine slope with a cello on your back but we survived!"

The owner of Verey Books, Al, said:  “I’m delighted that our Words on Wednesday events are back for a third year with such a strong start.

“I’ve wanted to include music in our programme for a while now so I’m very pleased that Kenneth will take us on a musical literary journey from our northern-most outpost of the Roman empire to its very heart on a deep, dark February evening. I hope to see lots of you there.”

Tickets for the event on Wednesday, February 21, cost £10 and include a welcome drink. To book, visit vereybooks.co.uk. Verey Books is located in Pooley Bridge on the shores of Ullswater.