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BOOKS: Walking guides to the northern Munros and Torridon, Fisherfield, Fannichs and An Teallach reviewed

By John Davidson

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Walking The Munros, Volume 2.
Walking The Munros, Volume 2.

Walking the Munros, Volume 2 – Northern Highlands and the Cairngorms by Steve Kew

This detailed guide to the Munros, those Scottish mountains over 3000ft, contains routes over 143 of the summits in the north of the country. It includes many of the classic hills, such as An Teallach, the Torridon triptych and all of the Cairngorms.

As with all walking guides to the hills, this is aimed at the summer hill walker. A basic route map and details of the suggested walk are given, along with information like the distance, expected time, ascent and difficulty level. It also offers suggestions of places to stay nearby, including hostels, B&Bs and campsites.

The guide is well researched, with further information given about the unique nature of the Cairngorms and Skye, which each offer their own significant challenge. There is also a guide to punctuation of Gaelic hill names along with a note about their translation.

As you would expect, there are plenty of inspiring photographs of the hills throughout the book, making it a pleasure to flick through. In keeping with other Cicerone guides, it is designed with a waterproof jacket and is small enough to carry in a real waterproof jacket pocket, although for me these guides are best used as planning devices.

There is a list of all 282 Munros in alphabetical order and in height order, for those looking to tick off the full list.

This is another great little guide from Cicerone, packed with interesting routes, suggestions and snippets of history and folklore, all gathered in a collectible and attractive book.

£14.95. Published by Cicerone, www.cicerone.co.uk

Walking in Torridon, Fisherfield, the Fannichs and An Teallach.
Walking in Torridon, Fisherfield, the Fannichs and An Teallach.

Walking in Torridon, Fisherfield, Fannichs and An Teallach by Chris Townsend

There are a few advantages to an area guide as opposed to a list of hills. For a start, it allows a more in-depth look at the place, its history and culture, and from a planning point of view it also offers a wider range of walks.

This Cicerone guide covers quite a large geographical area and, while it is still heavily focused on being a hill walker’s guide, it does offer some suggestions for relatively lower level walks.

Chris Townsend shares his intimate knowledge of the Scottish hills with the reader by including a variety of options for the same summits. A perfect example here is the Torridon mountains, Liathach, Beinn Alligin and Beinn Eighe.

For Liathach, he first gives the easiest walking route to each of the two Munro summits, individually. That is followed by the classic traverse route taking in the two Munros. Each one is given the full detailed treatment of this excellent guide, rather than simply being mentioned as an alternative suggestion.

It’s the same with Beinn Alligin, giving readers who maybe don’t want to tackle the scramble over the Horns of Alligin the route that avoids them, followed by the full circuit in all its glory. And for Beinn Eighe there’s a popular circuit of its two Munros as well as the traverse to Kinlochewe including – or avoiding – the notorious Black Carls.

The text throughout is littered with references and tips gleaned from a lifetime of exploring the hills. These 50 routes in this book provide adventure aplenty in some of the most spectacular settings on the mainland and, if you’re anything like me, will have you thinking about some hills you’d never before thought of climbing.

£16.95. Published by Cicerone, www.cicerone.co.uk

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