What’s New: Summer 2012
Check out our round-up of the latest, best and most inspirational books, as reviewed by our experts
The Coast to Coast Walk
Karen Frenkel, £16.99, Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978 0711232174
Winter dawn at Buttermere: an icy lake tinted pale gold and a lonely tree with silver-tipped roots. This is just one of the vivid portraits in Frenkel’s celebration of Wainwright’s iconic walk. In her words this is ‘a book to ponder over’, bringing the 305km/190-mile route from St Bees Head to Robin Hood’s Bay to life. Snapping off-route gems such as Thornthwaite Force, a mystical waterfall straight out of Tolkien, Frenkel captures the diversity of the northern English countryside in all its glorious seasonal shifts.
Never Mind the Quantocks
Stuart Maconie, £10.99, David & Charles, ISBN 978 1446301654
While the likeably droll Maconie is best known for his BBC Radio 6 show, walkers will know he’s also one of the most evangelical and least stuffy writers about our favourite pastime. This book collects more than 50 magazine columns about his various rambles over the years, and while there’s no discernible order or theming, it’s hugely enjoyable to dip in and out of. Maconie’s broader cultural awareness makes it about more than just walking, and his classic ‘Right to Roam’ column – included here – should be required reading for all Ramblers.
Simon Armitage, £16.99, Faber & Faber, ISBN 978 0571249886
The subtitle – Travels with a troubadour on the Pennine Way – is extremely appropriate. The author, if not exactly singing for his supper, certainly reads for it. Like much of his recent work, the book is about a quest – in this case a stubborn personal one to walk the 412km/256-mile route from Scotland to his Yorkshire hometown without a penny in his pocket, giving readings en route to keep himself in food and lodgings. The poet’s eye is evident in the descriptions of the landscape and wildlife, and the journey is populated with a changing cast of characters. I shared one day of the walk – Once Brewed to Greenhead – and Simon was the perfect walking companion. This book is an enchanting read and moves Simon Armitage one step closer to the deserved accolade of ‘National Treasure’.
Walking with Harry
John W. Winter, £7.99, Matador, ISBN 978 1848767782
A light-hearted novel about the fictional Thurlston Ramblers, whose president declares that, since no self-respecting choir would accept people who can’t sing, she will be auditioning aspiring members to the group. Fine-weather walker Harry Birch takes issue, and we follow the group as it embarks on adventures in the Lake District, Bowland and the Isle of Man.
Walks in North Shropshire and the Borders
Ron Bond, £4.95
Selected and described by Ron Bond of Oswestry Ramblers, these eight moderate-to-strenuous routes all contain shorter options over the same territory for those looking for easier outings. Covering parkland, towpaths and woods, there are also challenging day hill walks around Llangynog and the Ceiriog. Available from the author at 16 Queens Road, Oswestry SY11 2HY. Make cheques for £6 (inc p&p) payable to R. Bond.
A Temporary Loss of Location
Walter Waide, £10
A long-time member of Rossendale Ramblers, Walter Waide recounts 52 walks that, although they include maps and route descriptions, are more tales of entertaining and occasionally testing situations, with characters no doubt common to many rambling groups! Available via Fell and Mountain, 38a Water Street, Accrington, Lancashire BB5 6PX. Make cheques for £12.70 (inc p&p) payable to Fell and Mountain.
Suffolk Coast and Heaths Walks
Laurence Mitchell, £12.95, Cicerone, ISBN 978 1852846541
This informative pocket-sized volume describes three separate routes, at the heart of which is the 89km/55-mile Suffolk Coast Path between Lowestoft and Felixstowe. The 68km/42-mile Stour and Orwell Walk provides an extension around the estuaries via Ipswich to Cattawade; while the 94km/59-mile Sandlings Walk takes a parallel inland route from Ipswich across the heaths to Southwold. Full of colour photos, maps and useful stage-by-stage route descriptions.
52 Favourite West Sussex Walks
Richard Williamson, £9.99, Summersdale, ISBN 978 1849532334
Former Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve manager Richard Williamson writes a weekly walking column for the West Sussex Gazette and Chichester Observer. Here he selects his favourite routes, taking in woods, waterside, parks, commons and the South Downs. Includes simple maps.
New Forest Walks: a Time Traveller’s Guide
Andrew Walmsley, £12.99, Sigma Leisure, ISBN 978 1850589112
Nothing to do with Dr Who, but instead a genuinely interesting guide to 16 short walks exploring aspects of the New Forest’s history. They range from Bronze Age barrows and commoners’ rights to former telegraph stations and gunpowder factories. The routes are meticulously researched and described, with both archive and modern route maps, plus colour photos.
Best Walks on Exmoor
Richard Webber, £12.99, Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978 0711232877
This is a helpful and compact digest of 30 walks on Exmoor, ranging from 1–2-mile strolls to day-long outings of 11–12 miles over the wilder moors and coast of North Devon. Each walk is accompanied by well-researched commentary and hand-drawn maps by locally raised writer Richard Webber.
Best Day Walks in Snowdonia
John Gillham, £12.99, Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978 0711232532
Although there are already plenty of walking guidebooks to Snowdonia, this new collection of 30 circular day walks provides a good general introduction for first-timers, with its broad range of locations and difficulty. There are straightforward walks across Conwy Mountain on the north coast and above Bala in the east, through to more rugged mountain routes on Tryfan and Cadair Idris. Popular routes on the Carneddau and the Cwm Llan Horseshoe on Snowdon are mixed with more out-of-the-way walks, and it’s all very neatly and clearly presented, with photos, maps and useful topographical sketches.
Scrambles in the Dark Peak
Tom Corker and Terry Sleaford, £12.95, Cicerone, ISBN 978 1852846749
The Peak District has plenty of good rock for scrambling, and this new guide presents 40 winter and summer routes. Most are located on Kinder Scout, Bleaklow and around the Chew Valley, and all are supported by OS map extracts.
Mary Queen of Scots Way
Paul Prescott, £10.99, Rucksack Readers, ISBN 978 1898481485
Paul Prescott of Callander Ramblers has devised a 172km/ 107-mile coast-to-coast walk across central Scotland that visits places associated with Mary, Queen of Scots. Presented with ring-bound maps and text.
Ashley’s Walks around Swansea & Gower
John Ashley, £9.99, TheBAY Magazine, ISBN 978 0957110403
Lavished with rich colour photos and maps, these 12 walks range from a short stroll around the Mumbles to longer outings across Rhossili Bay, North Gower marshes and Pwlldu. A handsome and well-informed guide to the area.
Lune Valley and Howgills
Dennis and Jan Kelsall, £12.95, Cicerone, ISBN 978 1852846688
This attractive, pocket-sized guidebook features 40 mapped and illustrated walks, ranging from easy three-mile riverside and coastal strolls around Lancaster and Morecambe Bay through to more demanding 11-mile hikes across the high moors.
Great Mountain Days in Scotland
Dan Bailey, £17.95, Cicerone, ISBN 978 1852846121
An enticing choice of 50 Scottish hillwalks that, at between 12 and 25 miles, are at the longer and tougher end of the scale. Many routes have scrambling options and are accompanied by the author’s stunning photos, route descriptions and maps.
All-Terrain Pushchair Walks North Hampshire
Jane F Ward, £8.99, Sigma Leisure, ISBN 978 1850589075
This carefully researched guide describes 30 countryside routes without serious obstacles. Routes are generally between two and five miles long and, although designed for pushchairs, this book will appeal to anyone seeking accessible and attractive routes in North Hampshire.