Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Britain’s Best Walks : 200 Classic Walks - Review

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Readers with reasonable attantion spans may remember that Harper Collins sent me a couple of copies of this newly published book of walks for review and to see if I could raise a spot of charity cash too…  very nice of them , I thought, and so did LTD.

Soooo  we went off to Huddersfield to test out a couple of the walks and also to keep Dawn company in her role as house-sitter.

We did one and a half walks: The first, at Hardcastle Crags at Hebden Bridge, where we were distracted by a stray dog which required recovery to it’s owner and a one at Meltham which we completed without any interuptions of difficulty.

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Britain’s Best Walks is a compilation of Christopher Somerville’s contributions to The Times newspaper in his regular and popular column “A Good Walk” It is priced at £30. £30 for 200 walks seems like a reasonable deal to me…

We tried just two walks. You may consider this to be insufficient to form any kind of opinion, but, I have to point out that I have been wandering about the hills of Britain since I was eleven years old and I am now G^(*&’’0”  (sorry, something happened to my keyboard there..)  but anyway, its a long time. And during this long time, I’ve been all over the place and it seems that I am really quite familiar with a large number of the routes included in the book, specially those in the Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and the Lake District, but also with several others in other places. A couple of them coincide remarkably well with guided walks I lead for Durham County Council, so I am qualified to make judgements.

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But first, what do you get in the book?  I pinched the following bullet points from Harper Collins website (sheer laziness and it’s so easy to copy and paste)

Each of the featured walks contains:
• Detailed description as featured in The Times column
• Postcode and OS grid reference start point
• Instructions on how to get there
• Distance and grade so readers can suit walks to their ability, fitness and mood
• Simple step-by-step walk instructions
• Beautiful colour photograph for each walk
• Full colour, clear and up-to-date map
• Food and accommodation details for the hungry traveller

All of this is true, the writing is, as you would expect from The Times, quite inspiring and necessarilly brief, so , if you have a short attention span….

And the photography is superb too.

And the extra information about starting points and refreshment opportunities is useful.

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The book is a big book, though, and much too big to carry around a route – and you’d damage it anyway in doing so. So you need to record the route somewhere – I drew it on an OS map using the map in the book for reference and just navigated my way around without reference to the route description other than remembering something about posts with red markers. This was sufficient for me and quite simple to do and the only difficulty we had was on the Hebden Water walk at the top of a steep slope where the actual path on the ground doesn’t follow the line of the right of way very well and an impasse was reached on tricky ground (with a large and reluctant captured dog!) but close attention to the OS map sorted it out.

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However, the book is rather beautiful and the walks are high quality expeditions. Give it as a present. Take it on holiday but don’t take it on walks!

If you want to try to win a copy, it’s being raffled in aid of St Catherine’s Community Association in Crook Co Durham: Donations received will have the appropriate number of raffle tickets allocated to the draw

Money/cheques etc.( minimum £1)  should be made out to St Catherine’s Community Association and sent to St Catherine’s Community Centre, South Street, Crook, DL15 8NE. We’d need your name and address to send it to you if you won (!) We’ll pay the P&P

For a more reliable method of acquiring the book click this:Buy Britains Best Walks


Quinn said...

That looks like a beautiful book for perusing and planning from the comfort of a cozy chair, glass in hand. I hope your raffle brings in a bundle!

Dawn said...

A definite coffee table book, useful as a guide

Christopher Somerville said...

What a lovely review of my book - thank you! Yes, it's be a wrist-breaker on the hill, but I'm hoping it will stimulate folk to go out and roam about for themselves. You can download the walks on my website,

Mike Knipe said...

Christopher - I didn't expect a comment from the author - I'd have been even nicer if I'd known... Its a lovely book - my walking pal Dawn now has a copy... I should have kept one for myself, really.. dammit... Maybe somebody will get me a copy for Christmas...