Title: Ben Nevis & Glencoe - 100 Walks in Lochaber Author: Ronald Turnbull Publisher: Cicerone Press - 2007 Price: £12.95
Read our review of Ronald Turnball’s guides to the top 100 walks in the Lochaber area, published by Cicerone Press.
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.
Each walk is clearly graded using three different criteria. First the author has broken the walks down into 4 distinct types, low level, mid level, mountain and treks & through routes. In addition to this each walk is also graded according to its difficulty and length. These gradings are clearly defined using various symbols, making it easy for the reader to dip into the guide and get a feel for a route without having to read it first.
The guide describes each route in some detail. It starts with a brief synopsis of the route along with basic information such as starting point, distance, total ascent, duration and the kind of terrain covered. The author then goes on to describe the route in detail, so detailed that for the easier low level routes, the guidebook would probably suffice as a means of navigation.
In addition to the descriptions, the lower level routes also benefit from 1:50 OS map extracts which is a very nice touch. Unfortunately the maps for the higher routes are not OS which at first is disappointing. However you quickly realise that it would be impossible to fit the required OS mapping into a guide this size for routes that cover such a large area. From a safety perspective this is obviously a good move as it means the reader isn’t encouraged to enter into the high mountain environment without a proper additional navigation aids.
The guidebook splits the routes into ten geographical regions across the area, making it easy to plan itineraries depending on the weather and chosen destination. One area that can confuse some visitors from south of the border is the access laws in Scotland. This is nicely covered by this guide, with a breakdown of which areas fall into which estates, along with contact information for each estate and a brief summary of their hunting restrictions.
This guidebook has brought together all the best routes within this large area in one easy to use volume. For anybody planning a walking trip to the Lochaber area this is essential reading. For those who are travelling to the area planning more adventurous activities such as climbing and mountaineering this is still an excellent addition to the guidebook library, as it gives plenty of information which can be used for approach walks or wet weather options.
The guidebook can be purchased directly from Cicerone for £12.95 each.
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