Books & Maps

Guidebook: The Great Glen Way by Jacquetta Megarry

Every long distance route needs a good guidebook and in the case of the Great Glen Way, Dunblane-based Rucksack Readers have come up with the goods - a clear, concise, well illustrated and easy to use publication complete with its own excellent mapping.

The books begins with a brief section on Scotland's main long distance routes before offering extensive advice on planning a hike along the Great Glen Way. Outdoor author Jacquetta Megarry presents the information through clear and easy to understand text, offering advice on how long the walk will take, travel to the area, the best time of year to do the way and other activities that can be combined with it.

As one would expect from a dependable guidebook, there is useful into on what equipment and clothing is recommended for the way, accommodation and camping along with more general info on issues such as foot care, food and drink. There are special notes for novices, with equipment checklists, which will also provide very useful to overseas visitors.

The second chapter deals with the countryside the way runs through, the area's history and the flora and fauna. There's plenty to read on Loch Ness, the Great Glen and the Caledonian Canal, a feat of engineering that accompanies the way walker for most of the route. It's all good, inspiring stuff, well illustrated with plenty of excellent full colour photos.

With introductions complete, the walker then meets the Great Glen Way itself, beginning in Fort William. The book breaks the 73 mile route down into five sections, but stresses early on that this does not imply everyone should aim to do it in five days. A list of possible overnight stops for a six day hike is helpfully given.

The route is outlined in concise detail, along with relevant information such as brief resumes of the terrain covered, grade, the availability of refreshments and short 'side trips' that can be made. Points of interest and particular views are highlighted and historical notes provided. Usefully Gaelic pronunciations are also given. Again, each section is very well illustrated and a quick count reveals the book has a total of 60 photos.

Key to the book's undoubted appeal to walkers is the fold-out mapping covering the whole route. It's clear and uncluttered, detailed and very easy to follow. Each of the five sections correspond with a part of the map and the latter folds up into the book itself and can be used as a handy bookmark. The book itself is spiral bound along the top, making it robust and easy to use and, at A5 size, is easily slipped into a rucksack pocket. An added bonus is that it is printed on waterproof paper, very thoughtful given Scotland's rather inclement weather!

Published by Rucksack Readers, the Great Glen Way is priced at £9.99 and is available for good outdoor and book shops or can be ordered direct. Log on to for more info. Part of the profit from sales of the book will go directly towards maintaining the Great Glen Way. ISBN 1-898481-07-5.

Map: Harvey Great Glen Way

Specialists mapmakers Harvey, of Doune, have published the official map for the route, covering the entire length of the Great Glen Way on one special 1:40,000 scale Long Distance Route sheet. Like all of Harvey's maps, it is waterproof and provides more info for walkers and mountain bikers than the Ordnance Survey do.

The mapping is broken down into a set of four panels covering the way from Fort William in the south to Inverness. There's also an enlarged section for Fort William, showing the route through the town. In addition to showing the Great Glen Way, the Great Glen Cycle Route is marked on the map.

Published in association with Highland Council, the sheet includes a brief summary of the way's layout and development and a short history of the area and the Caledonian Canal. There is also text on matters such as accommodation, the ranger service and places of interest along the route, plus contact telephone numbers and useful websites. The legend is provided in French and German, as well as English.

The map is available priced £8.95 from outdoor and bookshops or direct from the company. Log on to for more info. ISBN 1-85137-384-5.

Book: The Mountain Skills Training Handbook by Pete Hill and Stuart Johnston

An indispensable new guide to summer and winter mountaineering techniques published by David & Charles. The Mountain Skills Training Handbook has been penned by experts Pete Hill and Stuart Johnston and has received the backing of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors. The techniques, methods, helpful tips and observations illustrated in the sturdy volume, bound in durable plastic covers, are all based on the authors' own experiences of delivering quality instruction at the highest level. Pete, who runs Highlander Mountaineering in Glenlivet, has climbed extensively throughout Europe, Africa, Nepal and India and is an associate instructor at Glenmore Lodge, Scotland's national mountain training centre. Stuart, who is based in Perth, also runs a successful mountain instruction and guiding business and his experience and expertise ranges from mountaineering to mountain rescue. A very useful addition to the outdoor library. £18.99.

Map: The Cateran Trail

Opened in September, 2000 by SNP leader John Swinney, the Cateran Trail is a 63 mile circuit, starting and finishing in Blairgowrie. It runs through the glens of Perthshire and Angus and can be walked in four to five days. We'll have a full, illustrated feature on Scotland's newest long distance walk in January. In the meantime, however, a map has been published to accompany the trail. Based on the Ordnance Survey grid it marks out the complete route on one single sheet. Produced by Nicolson Maps, it is available priced £5.25 from local outlets or by mail from The Cateran Trail Company, Boat Brae, Blairgowrie, PH10 7BH.

Book: 25 Walks - Skye and Kintail by Hamish Brown

Well known author and walker Hamish Brown is the writer behind this new guide published by the Mercat Press in Edinburgh. The walks range in length from three to 12 miles and include the Old Man of Storr, the Five Sisters of Kintail and a wander round the prehistoric remains of Rubh an Dunain. Each walk is prefaced with an information block and there are maps, snippets of fact, folklore and fiction plus info on places of local interest. It costs £8.99 from your local bookshop.

Guidebooks: The Speyside Way and The West Highland Way

Dunblane-based publishers Rucksack Readers have just published guides to two of Scotland's long distance trails, the West Highland Way and the Speyside Way. They feature a detailed 1:100,000 scale strip map of the complete route and are printed on waterproof paper. Information includes special notes for novices, equipment checklists, details of accommodation, travel, food and drink and stuff about local visitor attractions and trips that can be made from the way. Both retail at £9.99. A guide to the Great Glen Way, which is due to open next year, is in the pipeline. Visit the publisher's website at

Book: The Munros

The Scottish Mountaineering Club have reissued their Hillwalker's Guide to the Munros to include the recent additions and deletions to the list, and have added some wonderful new photographs. Edited by Donald Bennet, the book includes the popular brief route guides to the summit of every Munro which have made past editions a bible for walkers. The maps are there too, this time in colour, along with almost 300 colour photos spanning all four seasons. £18.00.

Book: A High and Lonely Place by Jim Crumley

In the nine years since it was first published, A High and Lonely Place has become a classic of Scottish nature writing and of the literature of our mountains. It has also become a much quoted source of inspiration to those who champion the cause of our wild places in general and the Cairngorms in particular. Crumley, who has almost 20 books to his name, marries a poet's instincts to an uncompromising passion for the arctic character of the Cairngorms. He proposes a radical solution to safeguard the mountains from a threatening array of forces raging against them. A High and Lonely Place has just been re-published by Whittles Publishing at £15.99. A full review will be posted shortly.

Guidebooks: Walk Europe and National Parks Europe

We are almost willing to guarantee that these two new titles from Stirling-based Endat's Activity Series will have you hunting out your passport and E111. Packed with information and scores of superb photos, a quick flick through either title will fuel the wanderlust in even the most armchair-bound of explorers.

Walk Europe has information on a mind-boggling array of trails and paths all over Europe, from the well walked heights of the Alps to less popular countries like Estonia and Croatia which are, as yet, largely undiscovered by we western tourists. Routes range from high mountains ascents, to quiet coastal explorations. The aim of the guide is to fuel the imagination and provide holiday ideas for all ages and abilities, from solo travellers to families, and it does just that. Practical information to help you on your way includes maps and useful contact addresses and, to whet the appetite, every page is littered with great pictures. Scottish entries include the West Highland Way, Speyside Way, Southern Upland Way and the more recent St Cuthbert's Way in the Borders. If there's a spark of overseas adventure glowing in the dark recesses of your mind, we'd recommend Walk Europe as the ideal kindling to set that fire burning.

National Parks Europe follows the same format, but rather than concentrate on specific routes, it offers a general picture of some of the many delightful walker-friendly regions awaiting the adventurer across Europe. The UK is well represented again, and Scotland's entries include Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, the Cairngorms and Skye. The information is present in a clear and concise way and is extremely informative and, again, well illustrated. On the Continent, areas you may already know about are detailed, along with many you've probably never heard about but which are just waiting to be discovered. You never know, your 2001 summer trip may be lurking within this book's many pages. Both titles are available, priced £12.99 from all good book shops, or visit the publisher's website at for more information.