Reviews - Guidebook: Scottish Rock - Heason Events

Guidebook: Scottish Rock

8th Dec 2005

Scottish Rock Climbs
Scottish Mountaineering Club Climbers’ Guide
Andy Nisbet

It’s funny, you’d have thought that a guidebook should be a fairly easy thing to write, and to write well. After all, it is really just a compilation of various bits of information to help people find and climb various routes in any given area. You’d have thought that such a task would be straightforward. However, as new guides are published one of the principle things that they do is to make the old guides look rubbish! This is partly due to better printing and production processes, the introduction of decent colour topos as well as photos, but is also due to an increase in the level of professionalism on the part of the editors. This is particularly true in the case of this guide. The previous guide to Scottish rock climbs was the Constable book, edited by Kev Howett. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a terrible book. At the time it was published somebody probably wrote a glowing review for it dissing its predecessor, but it is not a patch on this one.

It features a similar plastic cover (which I have to say, in my experience, are not the most durable in the long term), but is tall and narrow in keeping with other books by the SMC. There is a yellow ribbon for keeping your place. The inside front cover is an inspiration to all guides: it is a clear and concise map of Scotland , showing major roads, and each of the 18 featured areas. These 18 areas cross reference with a table on the same page, listing the name of the area and the corresponding page number in the guide. I am not quite sure why this map is reproduced inside the back cover however. Personally I would have included some other quick reference feature there. Inside the areas covered are awesome:

Lowland Outcrops
The Cobbler
Highland Outcrops South
Glen Coe & Glen Etive
Ardgour & Ardnamurchan
Glen Nevis
Ben Nevis
Cairngorms North
Cairngorms South
Highland Outcrops Central
Applecross & Torridon
North-West Gneiss
Ullapool & Reiff
Far North
Lewis & Harris
Sea Stacks

1200 routes are described in these areas, using 64 colour photo diagrams, 25 colour maps and 60 action photos. At 478 pages, all but 4 are dedicated to the routes, a welcome change from guides that rattle on for the first 30 pages about the do’s and do not’s of climbing. Priced at £21 it is certainly not cheap, but considering its scope, a but of a bargain I think. Also perfectly shaped to fit in a Christmas stocking!


Reviewed by Matt Heason on behalf of planetFear