If you go into any climbing shop and browse their book section, you’ll find any number of publications proclaiming to teach you the skills you need to climb. Is there space on the shelves for two more and how do they stand up against the other options? The answers are yes and very well!
Pete Hill has already got a good reputation as an author, having penned the very successful Mountain Skills Training Handbook with Stuart Johnston and the The International Handbook of Technical Mountaineering and Rock Climbing in his own right.
The excellent television series Mountain with Griff Rhys Jones has just finished on BBC1 and is available on DVD from the 3rd September 2007. For those that didn’t see the original broadcast this is a chance to find out what you missed, for those that did this is an ideal opportunity to add it to their DVD collection to enjoy it again and again.
Written and presented by Griff Rhys Jones and subtitled “Exploring Britain’s high places”, the DVD provides all 5 episodes in High Definition quality. The series travels to five different upland regions of the UK and explores the mountain environment and the people that live there. These regions include North West Scotland, English Lake District, Central Scotland, Pennines and Snowdonia
The subtitle of this guide is 100 walks in Lochaber but this book contains much more than brief route description. All the general information that you would expect to find in a cicerone guide is in here, including when to walk, essential navigation equipment and safety. However it’s the route descriptions that take up the vast majority of the guide and with a hundred to get through the author needs all the space he can get.
Covering the area from Ben Nevis and the Grey Corries in the north, to Oban and the Bridge or Orchy in the south, the author has a large area to select his hundred walks from and he has clearly picked the best. The first thing you realise about this book is it covers all grades of walking routes, from easy low level strolls around lochs and along glens, to multi day camping and bothy trips. The author has even managed to include a couple of easy scrambles for the more adventurous reader.
Based on the original 20 year old classics ‘Scrambles in the Lake District’ and ‘More Scrambles in the Lake District’, these two guides have been fully re-printed and combined to form the two-volume ‘Scrambles in the Lake District’.
Where as the originals each covered the entire Lake District, the two new volumes have been logically split north and south. Volume 1 covers the southern fells (Langdale, Coniston, Duddon, Eskdale, Longsleddale and Kentmere) and volume 2 covers their northern neighbours (Wasdale, Ennerdale and Buttermere, Borrowdale, Thirlmere, Patterdale, Mardale and Swindale).
This book has been out for a number of months now but has just landed on my desk for review. Your first impressions on hearing the title could be to think that it’s another book about walking in Scotland in a market that is already saturated. But that is where you would be wrong, with the subtitle “scrambling, mountaineering and climbing – the best routes for summer and winter” giving a clue to the gems that await you inside.
If you’re a mountaineer who is not so interested in ticking lists but in finding exciting and challenging routes to a summit then this is the book for you. With nearly 50 routes (48 to be precise) across the length and breadth of Scotland and loads of background information, this will keep most people busy for months, if not years. And for people such as myself who aren’t lucky enough to reside in Scotland and have to limit themselves to trips north of the border once or twice a year, this is an excellent resource for planning where to go.
Many climbers will be aware of the old thin(ish) winter climbing guide to the Lake District with photos that seemed to be taken in the 1970’s. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this, combined with the lean winters of recent years have led most people to believe that winter climbing has long since died out in the Lakes and can only be found in Scotland or further afield in Scandinavia and Alpine ice falls. How wrong they were!
Cicerone, in conjunction with the Fell Rock Climbing Club (FRCC) have just published a new version of the guidebook, over twice as thick and bursting at the seams with winter routes available in the Lakes. In fact the book claims that it is a definitive guide with details of every known winter climb from every part of the Lakes. With nearly a 1,000 routes, including a handful from outlying areas such as the Howgills and the Northern Pennines it is hard to disagree.
Read an excerpt from the recent cheaptents.com interview with pro climber and artist Renan Ozturk.