NEWS

NEW EDITION AUGUST 2017

Walks Moray & The Speyside Way
Author: Peter & Rosemary Koch-Osborne

Rewalked 2017 by Richard Hallewell & Becky Coope

We had a glorious spell of weather in late May for rewalking this guide.  It was a while since we had visited the area and it was good to become reacquainted with it.  There is great variety in Morayshire - the dramatic coastline with sandy beaches and small fishing villages contrasts with the fertile productive farmland and market towns slightly inland, then the empty moorland and scattered settlements in the south of the area covered.  Running through it all are the distinctive Speyside distilleries and associated grain plants with the seductive aroma of whisky production on the air, and the visible presence of other well-known Scottish companies such as Baxters of Speyside and Walkers of Aberlour.  
     The area is thriving, and the roads, particularly the main A96 which dissects the county on its way from Aberdeen to Inverness, are busy at most times.  However the walks are mostly quiet and, in keeping with the nature of the area, provide a great variety of experiences.  We were based for the week in an old distillery cottage outside Charlestown of Aberlour, a perfect location to cover the whole area.  
     The walks are mostly low level with memorable coastal walks from Cullen - home of the famed Cullen Skink soup - a delicious soup made with the local smoked haddock.  The only serious climb is the ascent of Ben Rinnes, which - with its distinctive summit torrs - is visible throughout most of the county.   Other highlights include the circuit of paths linking the villages of Craigellachie, Dufftown and Aberlour - much of which uses sections of the old railway line; the long trek up into the remote hills around the Linn of Avon to the south of the tiny village of Tomintoul (a bike is a good companion here - see bottom left); the ascent of the Bin of Cullen with its fine views over the coast;  the circuit around the historic village of Findhorn on the edge of the Findhorn Bay Nature Reserve and the waymarked walks through the wooded gorge of the River Findhorn at Randolph’s Leap (centre left).
     The area is well-served with places to shop, eat and visit should the weather not be good for walking - however the Moray Firth is also well known for it’s dry, gentle climate, so that shouldn’t be a problem!  If you haven’t been before, or for a while - Morayshire is an area well worth visiting for its fine walking and many other attractions, not least the fine Malt whisky!

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

 

NEW BOOK AUGUST 2017

Walks Isle of Man
Author: Richard Hallewell & Becky Coope

This year, we took our first publishing steps outside the UK – the Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency, which means that, while the Queen is its Head of State, it is outside the UK and has its own parliament and currency.  The island sits in the Irish Sea, is of a regular shape (around 32 miles/51km x 14 miles/22km), and has a population of 85,000.  It is generally known for its tail-less cats, TT racing, three-legged insignia and generous tax laws, but its walking is terrific and deserves to be better known.
    If people have not visited the island then the climb up Snaefell may be the only walk they have heard of, but this undemanding climb up a conical moorland hill (2037ft/621m) is only one aspect of an extremely varied walking environment.  The central moorland area drains to the sea through deep wooded glens bisecting prosperous farmland.  The flat northern part of the island is edged by dunes and beaches; in the south-west are high coastal cliffs.  There is a varied coastal path running right around the island (the Raad ny Foillan – 102 miles/164km - see centre left) and a mass of signposted rights of way and ‘greenways’ (essentially bridleways).  More generally, the island has a surprising variety of landscape, so visitors can easily spend a week there and find a distinctive corner of the island – and distinctive walking – every day.  Highlights include the cliff walks of Bradda Head and Spanish Head (watch out for the red-legged choughs on the cliffs), the circuit around Peel, Glen Maye and St Johns (site of the Tynwald Hill, where the island’s parliament meets in the open air once a year), the pleasant farmland behind Maughhold Head and the deep, wooded Dhoon Glen.  The island's industrial heritage is also well preserved and many of the walks pass sites of interest such as the Laxey Wheel (see left) and the famous railways that provide an alternative form of transport around the island.
    The island can be reached by ferry from Heysham, Liverpool, Belfast or Dublin, and there are also links with a number of British airports.  Car ferries operate to Douglas (the populous capital, with its famous promenade), but car hire is an obvious option on the island.  The roads can be busy in places (the island is only a third larger than Arran, but the population is 17 times larger), but you soon get used to the leisurely pace.
    I had not visited the island before researching the book, but I am greatly looking forward to returning.  The Isle of Man is a unique corner of the British Isles and its walking deserves to be better known.

 

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

 

NEW EDITION MARCH 2017

Walks Mallaig & Ardnamurchan
Author: John & Trina Wombell and Richard Hallewell

Re walked by Richard & Maggie Legate

A fairly mild Autumn and Winter gave us an opportunity to rewalk our guide to the remote area covered by Walks Mallaig and Ardnamurchan.  The area can only be reached directly by road on the A830 from Fort William to Mallaig, however the ferries from Corran south of Fort William to Ardgour, Fishnish on Mull to Lochaline, Tobermory on Mull to remote Kilchoan and Skye to Mallaig also provide the visitor with attractive alternative means of access.
     The area is known for its emptiness, rugged coastlines, sandy beaches and pockets of fine Atlantic oakwoods.  The population is generally small and scattered, with the main settlements at Mallaig, Arisaig, Strontian and Lochaline providing services for visitors.  
     We feature walks from each of these settlements as well as a number of routes on the more remote Ardnamurchan peninsula.  Highlights include the oakwood reserve at Ariundle in Strontian (see centre left), the wonderful Silver Walk and Castle Tioram near Acharacle, the coastal path from Arivegaig to Ockle, and Camusdarach beach near Arisaig - famed for being the setting for the 1980s film Local Hero.
     The guide also features a walk from Inverie village, with its renowned Old Forge Inn, on the Knoydart peninsula - a vast mountainous area only accessible by boat or on foot from the north - as well as a route on each of The Small Isles.  This group of islands, accessible by ferry from Mallaig and Arisaig, each has its own distinct personality.  In order to give the reader a taste of each island - we have included walks which can be done in between ferries on a day trip, such as the climb up the Sgurr of Eigg (see bottom left) For those who wish to stay longer, accommodation is available on each of the islands.
     We found few changes on our rewalk, but have included one new route.  Ghardail Walk, a waymarked walk on Kingairloch Estate replaces the walk up Ben Resipole.  Kingairloch, along with many other smaller settlements in the area, now has a seasonal restaurant serving meals and refreshments, and a number of routes laid out for walkers and cyclists on the estate.
     In all this is a fascinating area to visit with much to discover.  Careful planning on the internet before travelling can really pay off - or alternatively take the Local Hero approach and just let the serene pace of dictate your plans.

 

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

 

NEW EDITION JANUARY 2017

Walks The Western Lakes
Author: Richard Hallewell

Re walked by Richard & Maggie Legate

The walking in the Lake District is uniformly superb, but each corner of the area has its own character.  Walks The Western Lakes covers what is – for most visitors – the most remote part of the district: the string of dales leading westwards from the heart of the hills to the wide bays and mudflats by the Irish Sea.  It can be a long drive in, but it is worth the effort – not least because this very remoteness makes these the quietest of the dales.  At the head of Dunnerdale you feel a long way from the crowds of Keswick, Ambleside and Windermere.
    The main dales are (from north to south) Ennerdale, Wasdale, Eskdale and Dunnerdale.  Ennerdale (centre left) is heavily forested, but is flanked by craggy peaks (Hay Stacks, Pillar).  Wasdale is the most dramatic of them all, with Wast Water (England’s deepest lake, with a stunning scree slope on its eastern shore) at its heart and a fist of great peaks at its head (Scafell Pike, Great Gable).  Eskdale is gentler, with more farmland and a greater population, and with Muncaster Fell, at its western end, sloping gently to the sea at the little village of Ravenglass.  Dunnerdale (bottom left) is, perhaps, the prettiest: a narrow, winding strip of fields between low, empty fells, and with the peaks of the Old Man of Coniston visible to the east.
    The usual updates have been made to routes in the guide (new signs, bridges, etc), but otherwise there have been relatively few changes this time round.  The main alterations have been to two walks.  On the Blea Tarn walk (on the hills between Eskdale and Miterdale), the route around Blea Tarn and Siney Tarn has been altered to avoid marshy areas and to make the navigation simpler; and on the walk at the head of Dunnerdale, the path by the River Duddon on the easter side of Dunnerdale Forest has been removed, as tree-felling has made it impassable for the moment (it is an interesting path, so we will look at it again at the next rewalk).

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

 

NEW EDITION AUGUST 2016

Walks Ullswater
Author: Richard Hallewell

Re walked by Richard Hallewell & Becky Coope

A trip to the Lake District is always a joy, and a sunny spell in March in the hills around Ullswater is a particular pleasure.  The sky was clear, the paths dry and the views as stunning as ever.  Having said that, our visit coincided with the aftermath of some of the worst flooding the area has seen in recent years.  The damage to the village of Glenridding was considerable, and the old road bridge at Pooley Bridge had been washed away completely.  More generally, the water erosion on the hillsides was more extreme than I ever remember seeing.  Everything is now reopened, but it did mean that we were unable to rewalk all the walks in the book during that visit.  Specifically, the signposting of the walks around Glenridding will need to be looked at again, once all the rebuilding has been completed.

Beyond that, there were a few alterations to route descriptions, but otherwise very little has changed.  The Lake District is a busy area, of course (and for that reason it can pay to avoid the summer months, if possible), but there is a reason for that.  No part of Britain (that I know) has this density of superb paths and scenery in so small an area.  Ullswater is a particularly beautiful corner of one of the country’s finest walking areas.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

 

NEW EDITION AUGUST 2016

Walks Isle of Skye
Author: Paul Williams

Re walked by Richard Hallewell & Becky Coope

It is always a pleasure when the Skye rewalk comes around, and our visit in May was particularly enjoyable – not least because the sun chose to shine every day (which is not invariably the case on Skye!).
    The walking was terrific, as usual, but a number of changes were needed for the book.  Most of these were small details (upgraded paths, changes to signposts, stiles changed to gates, and general adjustments to descriptions), but some of them were more fundamental, to reflect more profound alterations on the ground (notably on the route at Ramasaig & Lorgill, which has been changed into a shorter circuit).  A couple of routes have been removed and replaced.  Two of the new routes – the short walk out to the lighthouse on Neist Point (see centre left) and a loop passing Fairy Pools and the foot of the Cuillins – are amongst the most popular walks on Skye.  For some reason we had not included them in previous editions, but this has now been rectified.  In addition, we have added the splendid circuit passing Torran (bottom left) and Fladda at the north end of Raasay.  This is reached via the famous ‘Calum’s Road’ – the tortuous single-track road built by crofter Calum MacLeod, which is worth the trip all on its own.
    In general, the walks were in good condition, and Skye remains what it has always been: one of the finest walking areas in Britain (when the sun shines!).

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

NEW BOOK JULY 2016

Walks Inveraray & South Argyll
Author: Richard Hallewell & Paul Williams

The latest book in our Scottish series completes the coverage of Argyll.  Walks Inveraray & South Argyll including Kintyre covers the stretch of the west coast from Ardfern in the north to the Mull of Kintyre in the south. This area lacks the high peaks of the north and west, but walkers will still find much of interest and some marvellous and varied routes.  Above all, this is a quiet area, with a small population and relatively few visitors, so you may often find that you have the paths to yourself.
    The area is essentially one of low hills and moorland, with a good bit of forestry (and walks through it) and isolated pockets of good farmland around Campbeltown and the north end of Knapdale.  You are never far from the sea, and while there are cliffs at the Mull of Kintyre the coastline is generally gentle, with some fine sand beaches at Machrihanish.  There are two islands included in the guide: the low, green island of Gigha, to the west of Kintyre, and the little tidal hillock of Davaar Island, at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch, which can be reached by a stony causeway.
    Apart from the beauty of the natural scenery, there are some man-made and historic attractions which also add to the walks.  Inveraray is one of Scotland’s most picturesque villages, while the beautiful Crinan Canal (see centre left) features on a number of the routes.  Just to the north of that is the low hill of Dunadd (bottom left)  – one time seat of the kings of the Scots of Dalriada – with Kilmartin Glen, with its famous array of pre- and early-historic relics, just beyond.
    The nature of the landscape means that the routes covered are relatively short (nothing above 10 miles/16km), but this is a very pleasing corner of the country with some fine walking.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

NEW EDITION JUNE 2016

Walks Orkney
Author: Felicity Martin

Re walked by Richard & Maggie Legate, Rob & Becky Coope and Richard Hallewell

The rewalk of our Orkney guide provided a bit of a logistical challenge.  It took the original author, Felicty Martin, 6 weeks to research the book, which includes 40 walks on the 16 islands which can be reached by road (across the Churchill Barriers) or public transport.
     A team of 5 of us set out in early May with a carefully planned itinery, boots and bikes.  Our base was perfect – the large Riff farmhouse in Rendall on the Mainland, which was centrally situated for all walks.  The weather too proved perfect, and after the sleet and wind on the first day we had fantastic clear sunny days for the rest of the week.
     Some of us had never visited Orkney before, and so didn’t really know what to expect.  With the exception of north Hoy, much of the walking is generally easy in nature, due to the low-lying character of the islands, and much of it tends to be along coastline, from sandy beaches to rugged cliffs.  But that does not mean that there was a lack of variety or challenge.  Days – especially if visiting the islands – can be long, but extremely rewarding.
     The Orkney Ferries were a superb feature, and journeys even to the outer islands seemed to pass quickly.  Bikes can travel free and they were necessary to reach walks on many of the islands we visited.  Many of the islands also had shops, cafes and museums, and where there were no facilities the locals were always very friendly, with offers of cups of tea quite frequent!
     It is hard to pick out highlights as there were so many, but the ancient historic sites – Ring of Brodgar, the cairn and broch at Midhowe – are particularly impressive.  Kirkwall (including the splendid St Magnus Cathedral) provides a handsome centre, while the more recent relics – such as the wartime buildings around Scapa Flow and the museum and Royal Naval Cemetery on Hoy – are often poignant.  There are many dramatic coastal features – notably the Old Man of Hoy, which is visited on a walk as well as passed close by on the ferry from Scrabster (see top left) – including geos and arches, such as the Vat of Kirbuster (see centre left) on Stronsay.   
     The wildlife experience was also outstanding, with amazing views of seabirds in flight close by as you walk along the coast.  Luckily, nesting season hadn’t quite got underway – in later May through to July some species, such as the Great skua (Bonxie), can be intimidating to walkers who get too close to their nest sites.
     Two of our groups were lucky enough to be able to fly out to Papa Westray and North Ronaldsay.  The small Islander plane flies from Kirkwall, where there is a busy modern airport.  This was another memorable experience – the tiny, 8-seater plane, reminiscent of a small sports car (see left), flying over blue seas and the fertile green islands below.  Our featured walks include full circuits of both these islands – just possible in between flights!  Having often seen the rare seaweed-eating sheep of North Ronaldsay on television, it was fantastic to see them in real life, from the rugged walk around the coast of the island.  The arrival of a sea haar (mist) almost prolonged our visit to the island, but it cleared just enough to allow our return flight to land.  If you wish to fly to any of the islands, be sure to book in advance – the planes soon fill up, with many local people using them as a means of getting to work.
     Creativity also seems to be very strong on Orkney, with many artists and craftspeople chosing to settle on the islands.  Many of the walks pass by galleries and craft shops, such as the wonderful Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, and smaller craft shops on Rousay and Shapinsay.
     All in all, a wonderful week’s walking.  If you haven’t been to Orkney before then we can certainly recommend it as a walking destination.  Our advice would be to do plenty of planning in advance if you wish to get out to the smaller islands – oh, and hope for good weather!

High sky above St Magnus Church on Egilsay (left).

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK MAY 2016

Walks Hawes & Wensleydale
Author: Richard Hallewell

Re walked by Richard & Maggie Legate

The guide to the walks in this beautiful Yorkshire Dale – essentially, walks in the area between Hawes in the west and Leyburn in the east – was completely rewalked in the Spring of this year.  There have been relatively few changes to the routes in this area (except for the felling of the trees in Cotterdale Wood, which necessitated a change of description), so the changes to the guide are largely tweaks to route descriptions to make them more easily followed.  The only serious difficulty in the rewalk was dealing with the aftermath of the dreadful winter flooding in the area.
    The Yorkshire Dales are so famous that it is scarcely worth mentioning that this is a superb walking area.  The hills are not high, but the broad valleys, with their patchwork of walled fields dotted with stone barns, provide some wonderful routes.  And, as with the Lakes, walkers will meet with some wonderful inns along the walks.  Highlights include the walk north from Hawes to the fine waterfall of Hardraw Force (see bottom left), the path from Aysgarth Falls to the imposing Bolton Castle, and the gentle walk along the wooded escarpment of Leyburn Shawl.

    
    For more details or to buy a copy click here.

NEW BOOK/REWALK APRIL 2016

Walks Pitlochry, Aberfeldy & North Perthshire
Author: Felicity Martin

Re walked by Richard & Maggie Legate

We completely rewalked the old North Perthshire guide last year.  As with the old South Perthshire (now Walks Crieff, Comrie & Kinross) and East Perthshire guide (now Walks Perth, Dunkeld & Blairgowrie) we have changed the title to make the area covered clearer to those less familiar with the Perthshire county boundaries.  If you already have a copy of Walks North Perthshire, the vast majority of the routes will be familiar.  Having said that, there have been a number of changes on the ground and these are reflected in the new edition.
    The area has much to offer and most of the routes are well-established and required only minor changes.  The splendid hill climbs are largely unaltered: the climbs up Ben Lawers, Schiehallion, Carn Liath and Ben Vrackie - however quite a few of the moorland walks have been affected by the current spate of hydro scheme building which is present throughout much of the Highlands.  What were once remote crossings such as Corrour to Rannoch Station have been altered by roads to carry construction traffic.  In time these scars will heal but walkers do have to be aware of traffic in previously quiet areas.
    The variety of wonderful river and lochside walks is hard to beat in this area, and to complement this we have added a new riverside walk from Aberfeldy to Grandtully - which can be linked with other walks in the book to make a longer excursion.  Aberfeldy, like most of the towns and villages in this area, is well served by an increasing array of coffee shops and restaurants so it is possible to have very pleasant day’s walking, supplemented by good food!
    For those seeking solitude, the crossing of Rannoch Moor (see bottom left) still gives a feeling of the vast emptiness of the Highlands and using the train or bus to make a round trip can make for a memorable expedition.
     The path network around the busy town of Pitlochry is one of the best anywhere in the UK and can provide visitors with more than enough variety to occupy them on a week’s visit and more.  From the ascent of Ben Vrackie to the circuit of Loch Faskally there is something for all levels of walking.
    
    For more details or to buy a copy click here.

NEW BOOK/REWALK FEBRUARY 2016

Walks Crieff, Comrie & Kinross
Author: Alistair Lawson

Re walked by Richard Hallewell

We completely rewalked the old South Perthshire guide last year.  As with the old East Perthshire guide (now Walks Perth, Dunkeld & Blairgowrie) we have changed the title to make the area covered clearer to those less familiar with the Perthshire county boundaries.  If you already have a copy of Walks South Perthshire, the vast majority of the routes will be familiar.  Having said that, there have been a great many changes on the ground and these are reflected in the new edition.
    The splendid hill routes are largely unaltered: the climbs up Ben Vorlich and Ben Chonzie, the hill crossings south of Loch Tay and Loch Earn, the paths through the Ochils and up Bishop Hill.  There are some changes in the details, but the routes remain the same.  Some of the shorter routes, however, have been more fundamentally altered.  Specifically, the description of the routes in the path network around Crieff needed updating, while the paths around Loch Leven have changed considerably since the last rewalk.  There is now a fine 13-mile path/cycle route circumnavigating Loch Leven (see centre left), and this is included in the new edition.  Also included is the circuit and hill climb up Ben Shee.  This is part of the path network around Glen Devon, in the Ochil Hills, which has become more varied and interesting as the broadleaved woodland regeneration has begun to mature.
    This is a splendid walking area, with an enormous variety of routes.  The low hill crossing between Comrie and Callander and the den walk around the falls in Glen Lednock (see bottom left) are personal favourites, but there is something for everyone.
    There is one final Perthshire rewalk to be completed.  A new edition of the old North Perthshire book will be appearing this Spring.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK JANUARY 2016

Walks Isle of Mull, Coll & Tiree
Author: Paul Williams

Re walked by Richard & Maggie Legate

This book was actually rewalked last summer, but office moves and other ructions have slowed up its appearance as ‘news’.  Our apologies for the delay, but it does mean that if you buy the book now it will be the new edition.
    This is one of Scotland’s classic walking areas, though less frequented than the busier Skye, Wester Ross, the Cairngorms and the Trossachs.  Mull has only one Munro – Ben More (3169ft/966m) – but a mass of smaller hills and some stunning cliff scenery, notably around Carsaig on the south coast of the island.  In the south-west there are also splendid beaches at Erraid and Tràigh Gheal, while near the northern end of the island is the handsome capital of Tobermory (and a fine short walk out to the lighthouse of Rubha nan Gall).  There are no major changes to the walks described in previous editions, apart from a reworking of the paths around Ben More.
    Mull is large enough (about 60 miles, around the coast, from Tobermory to Fionnphort via the ferry terminal at Craignure) to merit a long visit, but as the full title of the book – Walks Isle of Mull, Coll & Tiree (see centre left), including Iona and Ulva – will suggest, this book covers not so much a single island as a small archipelago.  The routes on Ulva have been slightly remodelled, to include the short waymarked walks from the ferry pier, passing the wonderful, low basalt cliffs on the way (see bottom left) and excluding the more difficult circuit of the island which involved a tidal section at the west end.  The routes on the beautiful little island of Iona – south and north to the ends of the island, passing the Abbey on the way – have been left as they were.  Likewise, the walks on Coll and Tiree have seen only minor adjustments.  These are low-lying walks, often along white sand beaches (one of which is shown on our header on the Home Page) and rarely out of sight of the sea.
    If you enjoy travelling by ferry and walking in relative solitude through stunning scenery, Mull and the surrounding islands are well worth a visit.
    
For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK JULY 2015

Walks Fife
Author: Owen Silver

Re walked by Bruce Anderson

In a way, guides like Walks Fife are what the Pocketwalks series is all about.  Anyone with an interest in walking already knows about areas like the Cairngorms, Wester Ross, Skye or the Trossachs, but fringe areas like the Ochils, Moray, Caithness – or Fife – tend to be ignored by the visitor.  In a way, this is understandable, but there is terrific walking in these areas for anyone who cares to explore – and the paths are often much quieter.  Fife has its industrial areas, but there are also some beautiful corners.  
    The two major attractions are the Lomond Hills and the Fife Coastal Path.  The coastal path now runs 117 miles/190km, from Newburgh on the Tay to Kincardine on the Forth.  The quality of the walking varies, but the best sections – around Aberdour; the path linking the East Neuk villages; around Fife Ness; west from Wormit along the Firth of Tay – are terrific.  As for the Lomond Hills, they are often sighted – beyond Loch Leven when driving the M90 between Edinburgh and Perth – but less often walked.  There is an extensive network of paths over the hills, and though the peaks are not high there is a fine variety of walking, and splendid views from the tops.  Plus, the picturesque little village of Falkland on the northern edge of the hills, with its Renaissance palace and Real Tennis court, is always worth a visit.
    Elsewhere, there is plenty of variety, and plenty of history: the historic village of Culross, industrial heritage around Loch Ore, the path from the little village of Ceres to the old tower house at Scotstarvit, plus the routes around the splendid old university town of St Andrews.  Amongst the usual minor adjustments and updates to the guide, a new route has been added with historic interest: Inchcolm Island.  It is a tiny island, so the walk is not long, but there is a particular pleasure in visiting islands, and this one involves a fine boat trip under the Forth Rail Bridge (see bottom left) and the remains of the handsome Inchcolm Abbey (see middle left) – as well as a fine array of bird life.
    

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK MAY 2015

Walks Isle of Arran
Author: Richard Hallewell

Re walked by Richard Legate

The areas covered by some of our mainland guides can appear arbitrary, but the island guides are more easily understood.  This guide covers the island of Arran, in the Firth of Clyde, plus little Holy Island, in Lamlash Bay.
     Arran is large enough (20 miles/32km by 10 miles/16km) to allow walkers to visit for a week and find new walking every day, and varied enough that they will be able to find something truly different each day.  This variety has led to the island being described as a ‘Scotland in miniature’, with a mountainous interior, low land around the coast, moorland and woodland.  The best known walk (and people will often visit the island purely to complete it) is the climb up Goatfell: a 2867ft/874m peak, surrounded by other peaks and ridges, which can be climbed directly from the ferry terminal in Brodick.  It is a terrific climb, and the views from the summit are as good as any in Scotland (see bottom left), but it would be a mistake to concentrate on this one walk to the exclusion of everything else the island has to offer.  There is a coastal path running right round the island, for example, and individual sections – notably the Cock of Arran, in the north, and the headlands between Brodick and Lamlash – provide fine walking.  Elsewhere, there is an excellent woodland walk to Glenashdale Falls, the path to the extraordinary standing stones at Machrie (see centre left), and the fine paths across the wooded slopes around Brodick Castle.
     The population of the island is small – around 5,000 – but all services are available.  Also, navigation around the island is simple: there are only three significant roads and a good bus service.
     The guide has been completely reworked and updated, but there have been no major changes.  There is currently significant forestry work being undertaken north of Sannox, but the changes to the existing routes are well signposted on the ground.
    

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK MAY 2015

Walks Edinburgh, Midlothian & West Lothian
Author: Richard Hallewell

Re walked by Richard Hallewell

This guide covers the splendid city of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, and the surrounding countryside.  Essentially, it is split in two: The lowland routes in the city and through the low land to the south of the Firth of Forth, and the cat’s cradle of paths through the Pentland Hills.
    The first half includes city parks – including the paths over the basalt plug of Arthur’s Seat, at the foot of the Royal Mile – longer routes by the Union Canal and the Water of Leith, and the terrific woodland/parkland path between South Queensferry (in the shadow of the Forth Bridges) and the River Almond/Cramond village.  Inland, there is a fine route along the wooded glen by the famous Rosslyn Chapel.  There have been only minor changes to any of these routes, though the extension of the John Muir Way has altered the line of the South Queensferry to River Almond walk.  For details of routes through the streets of Edinburgh, see Edinburgh on Foot.
    The Pentland Hills, a narrow range running south-west from the edge of the city, provide fabulous walking (see left), including the famous hilltop walk between Flotterstone and Nine Mile Burn and the fine low-level walk through the hills by the reservoirs and Green Cleugh – though the mass of connected paths means it is always easy to find a loop which suits your requirements.  The northern end of the range – around the ski slope at Hillend – can be busy, but as you move further south you are more likely to have the grass and heather moorland to yourself.  Again, there have been few changes to the paths in this area, and the contents of the new edition are much as they were before.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK MARCH 2015

Walks Malham & The Three Peaks
Author: Richard Hallewell

Re walked by Richard Hallewell

This book covers the south-western corner of the Yorkshire Dales: the area around Ingleton, Horton, Settle and Malham.  While the other two guides to the area are centred on a single dale – Wensleydale, Wharfedale – this guide is centred on the famous ’Three Peaks’ (Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent) and the network of paths around the stunning Malham Cove.  The Three Peaks are often undertaken as a single 23- to 26-mile route: whether for simple pleasure, as part of a challenge (the idea is to complete the walk in under 12 hours), or during the annual fell race.  In this guide they are undertaken one at a time!  The routes are clear, the paths well maintained and the views terrific.
    Malham Cove is one of the great natural wonders in the UK: a curved, perpendicular curtain of limestone, 260ft/80m high and 1,000ft/300m wide.  Once, it was part of a massive waterfall, but now only a small stream emerges from a cave at the foot of the wall and winds down the valley below.  Most people simply walk up the short path from the little village of Malham to look at the cove, but there are a number of fine, longer paths through the area, visiting neighbouring (and almost equally dramatic) Goredale Scar, Malham Tarn and the limestone pavement above the cove.  Limestone pavements – extensive areas of exposed, flat limestone cut into a crazy mosaic by deep incisions – are one of the features of the area, and are met with on a number of the routes.
    In fact, this is a terrific area for anyone with an interest in geology, with numerous cliffs, coves, caves, pavements and erratics (large boulders left littering the landscape after the retreat of the Ice Age glaciers), as well as narrow, rocky valleys and waterfalls.  More generally, it is just a spectacular walking area, and the beautiful little village of Settle provides an excellent base for operations.
    The guide has been completely rewalked and updated, though only minor alterations were needed.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK JANUARY 2015

Walks Inverness & Loch Ness
Authors: John & Trina Wombell

Re walked by Richard & Maggie Legate

This guide covers the city of Inverness and the hills, lochs and glens immediately to its south and west.  Inverness has long been the administrative capital of the Highlands; an importance which is due entirely to its position.  The city sits at the northern end of the Great Glen: the massive fault line which runs north-east to south-west through the northern half of Scotland, and which has long been the main line of communication between the two sides of the country.  Nowadays, that means that it carries the A82, but from earliest times travellers journeyed by – or on – the string of lochs which fill the glen (a journey made easier, around 200 years ago, by the building of the Caledonian Canal).  The major feature of the Great Glen is Loch Ness: at 23 miles/37km in length and 755ft/230m at its deepest point the largest body of fresh water in the UK.
    The bulk of the walks in this guide are in Inverness, by the canal, or by Loch Ness, with the remainder scattered amongst the surrounding hills and tributary glens (Glen Moriston, Glen Urquhart, Glen Affric), or on the low land west from Inverness, south of the Beauly Firth, towards the little town of Beauly.  Highlights include the views from the hill climb up Meall Fuar-mhonaidh, the extensive forest of Scots pine around Loch Affric, the canal-side walk south of Inverness and the old military road over the Corrieyairack Pass.
    The guide has been completely rewalked, but though descriptions have been updated few significant alterations were needed.  For more details of the guide or to buy a copy, click here.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

NEW BOOK SEPTEMBER 2014

Walks Islay, Jura & Colonsay
Authors: Paul Williams & Richard Hallewell

This month sees the publication of our guide to Islay, Jura and Colonsay.  Though they lie close together, the islands have different characters.  Islay - the largest and most populous - is very varied, with heather hills and moorland, fertile farmland, fine woodland, miles of magnificent sand beaches (photo top left - The Singing Sands) and tall cliffs (photo bottom left - The Soldier).  In addition, there are picturesque coastal villages, a wonderful range of bird life and the famous malt whisky distilleries.  The walking is varied and dramatic.  Jura, in contrast, is more mountainous, and comprised almost entirely of moorland hills - notably the famous Paps of Jura: a distinctive cluster of peaks visible from many places on the west coast - while Colonsay is like a smaller version of Islay, though without the extensive moorland.
   Most visitors to Islay will reach it by the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries from Kennacraig (near Tarbert, on Kintyre), while Colonsay is usually reached from Oban (there are occasional alternatives: check www.calmac.co.uk for details).  Jura is almost always reached via the narrow crossing from Islay.  There is accommodation on all three islands (more on Islay, as you would expect) or it is possible to spend a week on Islay and visit the other two islands on day trips.
   The walking is terrific.  The islands lack the scenic grandeur and scale of Skye or Mull - there are no Munros, for instance - but they make up for it in the variety and charm of the landscapes and there are many memorable routes: along the wide sands by Loch Gruinart; the track to the Gulf of Corryvreckan (see left) - one of the world's largest whirlpools - at the north end of Jura; or the walk from Colonsay to the old priory on Oronsay across the tidal Strand.  For the walker - or bird watcher, or general tourist - this is an area well worth visiting.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK SEPTEMBER 2014

Walks Fort William & District
Authors: John & Trina Wombell

Re walked by Bruce Anderson

This book covers a big area full large, dramatic features: lochs, sea lochs, glens and mountains.  The biggest of the latter is Ben Nevis - the biggest of them all - and if it is not the most exciting climb in Scotland, it is one which many people feel obliged to do.  Avoid the effort if you are unfit or ill-equipped - the views, though stunning, are rarely visible, and it is cold up top, even in the Summer.
    Other large features included in the guide are the Great Glen (this guide covers up to Invergarry; for the northern half look at Walks Inverness) and its southern extension, Loch Linnhe.  To the east is the stunning scenery of Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor; to the west the winding roads leading through moorland to Glenfinnan and Loch Hourn, with the Rough Bounds beyond.  
    For scale, variety and drama only Wester Ross and Skye can hope to match the landscape around Fort William.  As in those areas, we have avoided the routes better left to mountaineers and concentrated on paths through the mountains and up the lower hills (such as The Pap of Glen Coe - see left), but that should be enough for the casual walker: the walks and views (always assuming you manage to avoid the rain...) are outstanding.
    The guide has been completely rewalked, but few significant changes were needed.  The only major alterations were to the organised paths around Glenfinnan, where there have been changes to the car parks and signposting.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

REWALK JUNE 2014

Walks Caithness
Author: Richard Hallewell

Walks Caithness is one of our slowest selling books, but one of my personal favourites.  Walkers tend to be drawn away to the hills of neighbouring Sutherland; explorers heading north keep straight on to Orkney or Shetland.  If it weren't for John o' Groats and Castle of Mey there would be nothing to bring it to the mind of the general tourist.  But Caithness is a unique little corner of the country: an undulating blanket of heather moorland dotted with countless lochs and lochans, edged by a selvage of good quality grazing land, with a final fringe of beetling sandstone cliffs and enormous sand beaches.  Windswept and treeless, with a tiny population and only two significant towns – Thurso and Wick – it has, nonetheless, a charm all of its own.  The wide silvery skies, low-slanting Sun, vast empty silence (on those occasional windless days) and peculiar field walls of flagstones buried on edge, are all typical of the place and unmistakable.
    Besides these qualities, it is a splendid place for students of early archaeology, with a mass of burial cairns, stone rows and brochs.  Having entirely rewalked the book this Spring, we have included one new route – the short climb to Cairn of Get: a 5,000 year old burial cairn with an Iron Age fort nearby.  It is a short walk, but has the advantage that it allows us to mention the neighbouring Whaligoe Steps – not a walk at all, really, but an extraordinary place to visit: a flight of over 300 steps cut into a cliff to allow access to a tiny fishing harbour surrounded by cliffs.
    That apart, there are just the usual alterations and updates to keep the descriptions as accurate as possible, but there is one general alteration to the county which is worth mentioning.  Not having been to Caithness for some years I was surprised by the scale of the new wind farms.  There is, perhaps, some logic in harnessing wind power in a place with so much wind, but it would be difficult to argue that the partial industrialisation of so stunning a landscape has been an improvement.

For more details or to order a copy click here.

NEW BOOK/REWALK MAY 2014

Walks Aviemore including Glenmore & Speyside
Author: Richard Hallewell

The old Walks Speyside guide has been completely rewalked.  This is one of our earliest books (1999), and covers one of Scotland's most popular walking areas.  As with the East Perthshire guide, we felt that the old title no longer meant much to the casual visitor, so have brought the main walking centre - Aviemore - to the fore.  The walking is, of course, superb: the massive, rounded, Cairngorm Mountains; the long paths through the magnificent Caledonian pine forest around Loch Morlich; the more gentle hills of the Monadhliaths - the hill path from Aviemore to Carrbridge, via Sluggan Bridge, is a personal favourite (photo bottom left).  
    Few of the routes had changed to any degree.  The footbridge at Carnachuin, in upper Glen Feshie, was washed away in a flood and is yet to be replaced; there are some new signposts (and a new forest road) on the path from Drumguish to Glen Feshie; the forest walks at Glenmore and the little Uath Lochans have been altered, but otherwise most of the routes are much as before.  The one new route in the book is the path from Kingussie to Newtonmore via Loch Gynack: a pleasant, varied walk, staring through mixed woodland and ending over open moorland.
    Most serious walkers will have spent some time in this area.  It was worth revisiting these walks - after a few years exploring other areas - to be reminded just what a terrific walking area it is.
     For more details or to order a copy click here.

REWALK SPRING 2014

Walks Grasmere, Ambleside & Windermere
Author: Richard Hallewell

At the end of last year we rewalked one of our most popular guides.  Although the geographical area covered is tiny - the smallest of any of our guides - such is the density of good footpaths in the heart of the Lake District that this is a very strong selection of walks.  The hills are rugged; the lakes and tarns numerous and varied; the dales winding and beautiful.  And the whole area is criss-crossed by a web of footpaths which can be linked to make walks of any length.
    Usually, Lake District rewalks are simple affairs.  The routes have been established for so long that there are rarely any major changes.  This time around things were slightly different.  Bridges removed (Great Langdale) or added (Skelwith Bridge); paths altered (Tarn Howes to Coniston) or removed (Brundholme Wood); the ever shifting paths on the east side of Loughrigg - virtually every route needed an alteration of some kind to bring it up to date.  Well, the changes have been made and the updated guide is now available (now at £2.50, to bring it more into line with the other books in the series).
    This is a very popular area, of course, and very busy - it is some time since I braved walking around Ambleside in high Summer - but for sheer quality and variety of walking within a given area, the Lake District remains hard to beat.

For more details or to buy a copy click here.

NUMBERING THE SERIES

Shortly after we published the first Pocket Walks Guide – Walks Deeside, in 1994 – it dawned on us that it might be possible to produce similar guides for the whole of Scotland, and that the existence of such a series – providing seamless coverage, split into small areas – might prove useful to the general walker.  Since then we have gently progressed towards that goal – slowed by rewalks and by enjoyable diversions into England along the way – and with the completion of the two Wester Ross guides we feel that the north of the country is sufficiently well covered that we can begin to number the series, north to south.  

    At present we have 29 Scottish guides (with another due this year: watch this space), describing 802 walks.  When we are finished there will be 38-40 guides, describing over 1,000 walks from Shetland to the Solway.  It may take a little while to reach the last area, but from now on we shall be showing the (rough) boundaries of the anticipated books beside those of the books which have been completed.  At this juncture I would like to pause to thank all those of you who have bought books from the series in the past, and who have passed on comments on the routes.  Good walking to you all!  Here's hoping for a decent Summer, and I hope you will continue to find the new guides – and the completed series – useful.

NEW BOOK/REWALK MARCH 2014

Walks Perth, Dunkeld & Blairgowrie and East Perthshire
Author: Alistair Lawson

We completely rewalked the old Walks East Perthshire guide last Autumn.  There had been a mass of changes on the ground and virtually every walk needed an alteration of some kind – some needed to be changed a lot.  Not only have new signs been put up along many routes, but two have even been altered by landslides (River Ericht and Braan Path & The Hermitage, if you are working with the old book)!  In the end, we dropped a couple of routes and brought in some new ones.  Specifically, we have improved the description for the access to Kinnoull Hill (bottom left) from Perth (the bridge over Moncreiffe Island and the path beyond onto and along the wooded escarpment overlooking the Tay is one of Scotland's great short walks and needed to be described as a separate route), and extended the coverage of the path network around Dunkeld.  The Dunkeld network is one of the best I know of – it is possible to stay a week in Dunkeld and do a different walk from the village each day without feeling they are all starting to look the same – and deserved a couple of extra routes.
    While we were about it, we took the opportunity to change the title of the book.  We have finally concluded that the term 'East Perthshire' doesn't mean much to anyone outside the county, and have listed the main towns instead.  We shall do something similar with the other Perthshire books, and also with the Speyside book – an updated version of which will be coming out shortly.  Please note that if you already have the Walks East Perthshire book, virtually all of the walks in this book are the same – though now they have been updated and are more accurate.
    Finally, we have started to number the Scottish titles (see next entry), and this guide has the distinction of being the first guide in the series to be printed with its number: 22!
    The eastern edge of Perthshire is beautiful and varied.  There are no high hills, but there are fine moorland walks, riverside paths and even a bit of coast (by the reed beds around Errol).  Plus, for Shakespeare buffs, the guide includes walks to both Birnam Wood and Dunsinane.

For more details or to buy a copy please click here.