Road to Paradise

Fourteen engaging tales of ordinary Cumbrians set in the old counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness.

  • THE Cumbrian road workers who believe they have stumbled on treasure beyond their wildest dreams.
  • A TITANIC struggle by a gang of Lakeland shipbuilders set on launching a two-masted schooner into a woefully shallow river.
  • THE Furness farmer with a wayward goose and his crafty way of dealing with two thieves.

And eleven others.

Short-listed and commended in the Lakeland Book of the Year awards.


“Funny, tragic and in some instances downright bizarre, Irvine Hunt has an instinct for a great story and a keen eye for Cumbrian characters.”
Cumbria Life Magazine

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The roadmen paused and stared.

“Christ!” exclaimed Stubbs. “Look what’s coming!”
Michael shambled towards them, his face haggard, his coat open and torn. He was spattered in mud.
“What’s up with him?” said Allonby.

Tyson watched as Michael neared. Something seemed to be different, he seemed to be excited. “What is it, Michael?” Tyson asked.
Michael opened and closed his mouth as if he were trying to speak. One hand was wrapped round the handle of his brush, the other was deeply clenched.
“He wants a new broom, that’s what,” sneered Stubbs. The bristles were worn almost down to the wood.
“Nay,” said the gaffer still watching.

Michael’s eyes rolled at the trees, then shifted back towards the road gang as if he could not keep his gaze fixed permanently on any one of them. He lifted his clenched fist and after a long moment his weathered fingers opened slowly like some gnarled brown flower.
“Bloody hell,” said the foreman softly. Two gold coins shone in Michael’s palm as bright as the sun.

Sitting on an upended barrow, Michael ate ravenously.

“They’s Roman, no doubt on it!” said Stubbs. He laughed again, over-loud.
“And how does tha know that?”
Stubbs bit at one of the coins. “Well it’s not the king’s head, is it, see? The king doesn’t go wearing a helmet and things like this, does he? It’s one of them legion ones . . . I tell you, it’s Roman gold.  And he’s found it!”

Their gaze shifted eagerly back to Michael. He was eating everything they had been able to muster.
“Getting his strength up,” said Stubbs approvingly. “It’s Roman gold, all right.”
“It scarcely seems possible,” said Tyson.

All afternoon Michael led the excited men from one path to another.
“Sweep, sweep,” encouraged Stubbs for the hundredth time. “Show us, Michael. Go on, show us where you found ’em!”


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