/ Highland Scrambles South

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BBear on 01 Aug 2017
I’ve been trying to buy SMC’s Highland Scrambles South guidebook online and have been told that it has been withdrawn from sale due to routes being affected by rockfall . Hopefully a fix is on the way , I was really looking forward to getting hold of a copy ! Anyone have any more info on this ?
Dave Hewitt - on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to BBear:

I know a bit about this but probably shouldn't say much - it's for someone who was part of the publication process to comment in more detail. But basically it appears that one of the eastern MRTs raised objections post-publication, leading to the publisher deciding to pulp the remaining copies - hence the withdrawal from sale. There were, I think, 1000 copies printed of which 400 had flown the nest when the decision was made. (I have one!) There are certainly still copies available - eg there were four in the Cotswold Outdoor bit of Dobbies at Stirling yesterday. As to when or even if there will be a revised edition, I can't say.
OMR - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to BBear:

Don't know exact timescale, but the intention was to get out a revised edition as soon as possible - this year I think.
pasbury on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

The interest of collectors will be piqued!
BBear on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Thanks for the info , that's an unfortunate situation , I can see how recent rockfall on certain routes would give cause for concern . Meanwhile I'll keep hunting for that rare first edition !

OMR , that's good news , hopefully it will be back in print again soon ,

Cheers
Simon Caldwell - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to BBear:

Interesting. I'm surprised they haven't contacted people who bought it direct from Cordee to issue whatever warning is appropriate. Will any sort of supplement/errata be made available for those with the earlier edition I wonder?
George Allan - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I can understand your reticence but it is important that someone states which route(s) are considered risky (particularly as I was about to sample one or two I hadn't done!!)
Cog - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to George Allan:

They are all risky George, take your time and you'll be fine.

See you in November.
robertmichaellovell - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to BBear:
Hi there,

The original concern was raised after a couple of fairly serious incidents in the Northern Corries; the two routes in question were Pigmy Ridge and Fingers Ridge (specifically loose rock on both routes). Since withdrawing the book from sale we have been working in collaboration with Mountaineering Scotland and with the authors to make a series of edits, based on their input. We've taken nothing out, only added more information in, which will help users of the guide make more informed decisions.

It's actually given us the opportunity to reference a couple of routes where bird restrictions sometimes affect access (you can find details of these on the SMC Guidebooks Facebook page), and include a lovely sketch of Crowberry Tower in the introduction too.

Amendments are in the final stage of production then it will be off to the printers with the updated proofs.

Rob
SMT Publications
Post edited at 13:56
BBear on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to robertmichaeladams:

Many thanks for replying Rob , hope to see it back on the shelves soon then ,
Cheers
ads.ukclimbing.com
George Allan - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to robertmichaeladams:

Thanks- v.helpful. The top buttress of Pigmy Ridge has long been iffy and I fear the whole 'stacked blocks' section below the fingers on FR is likely to collapse at some point.

George
George Allan - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to Cog:

True, Cog, but some more than others!

George
Jamie B - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to robertmichaeladams:
Did the mishap on Ptarmigam Ridge on Lurcher's not also contribute to the feeling of unease about the book? I'd never really thought of this as a summer scrambling venue, but the photo in the guide did have a certain "come hither" quality which may or may not have been a good thing...

I'd have to say that generally the guide has a lot of venues which are off the mainstream, and some of these will inevitably be loose, vague and dirty. I've walked away from one of these recently as I wasn't prepared to expose clients to that level of risk. I think some more mention of whether harder scrambles can be belayed would be sensible (heathery slabs generally can't), and also felt that the number of helmets worn amongst the photos was disappointingly small.

The guide is a valuable resource but I'm (personally) not sure if it gets across just how much more adventurous and serious some of the outings are compared to the trade routes that people are used to.
Post edited at 19:57
robertmichaellovell - on 02 Aug 2017
In reply to Jamie B:

Hi Jamie,

Lurchers is subject to amendments yes, highlighting that it is a crag for experienced scramblers.

When the new copy hits the shelves you'll see a much stronger reference to safety considerations and the use of guides or instructors for the more inexperienced hill-goer. With those changes mind I think the balance between inspiring people to go to new places (which this book definitely has done to me!), and exercising caution in unfamiliar territory, is appropriate.

Whatever we put in the book can only ever be a guide. As you know, there are too many variables at play in the mountains for it to be used in isolation. The scrambler will need to use his or her judgement when out on the hill, as you did.

Rob


Simon Caldwell - on 03 Aug 2017
In reply to Jamie B:

My experience of the Northern guide is that it's similar in that some of the routes are more serious than you'd normally expect when scrambling. But that's hardly unexpected - it's a natural assumption surely that any route that is off the beaten track and rarely done will have the potential for varying degrees of epic? That's certainly the approach I take for pretty much anything in Scotland (both climbs and scrambles) which isn't a recognised classic, and will pick a grade and equipment accordingly.

Having said that I guess the new book covers most off the "honeypot" areas in the Highlands so is probably more likely to be bought by those without so much experience. But I'm sure there'll be the normal "scrambling is dangerous and can kill" section in the introduction, what more can you say without going over the top in your warnings? At some point we need to start treating people as adults capable of making their own decisions.
Chirs - on 03 Aug 2017
In reply to Jamie B:

Having got a copy of the book, I'm very pleased of its publication, as there are a lot of areas and routes covered which I'd never have considered without it.
I'm not sure the argument of such venues necessarily being looser or less safe than the trade routes adds up; e.g. the routes affected by recent rockfall (Pygmy and Fingers Ridges) are hardly undiscovered.
While I've yet to use the new guidebook on the hill, I've done many of the offbeat routes from Iain's previous Highland Scrambles North guidebook, and never had any issues with unexpected loose rock or lack of seriousness conveyed in the route descriptions.
From the perspective of an independent scrambler, I think the SMC's series of scramblers' guidebooks are spot-on, including the helmet-less photos of the easier routes; this is how most independent scramblers go about their chosen pastime.
Whilst I'm hopeful the amendments will be beneficial, it would be a shame to get to a point where whenever rockfall occurs in the future, the relevant guidebooks have to be pulled from sale and have new passages inserted encouraging people towards the use of guides or instructors.
Rob Parsons on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to robertmichaellovell:

> ... We've taken nothing out, only added more information in, which will help users of the guide make more informed decisions.

> Amendments are in the final stage of production then it will be off to the printers with the updated proofs.

Thanks.

Will the amendments be made available in some form for owners of the original edition?
robertmichaellovell - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Hi Rob,

Yes I'll take a look at this, there will only be a couple of updates to approaches, safety advice and seasonal bird restrictions; changes to emphasis rather than detail. The other changes were format based so won't be sent out in an update.

Look out for the update by following the SMC guidebooks on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/SMCGuidebooks/

Rob

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