Portugal - Guidebook Review

by David and Carrie Atchison-Jones - 290 pages, £19.95. More information -

Portugal- Sport Onsight and Bouldering Guidebook cover, 25 kb

Jingo Wobble productions (David Atchison Jones – a.k.a. Jingo, and his wife Carrie – a.k.a. Wobbly) appear to be on a bit of a roll of late. After many years of producing infrequent and oddly-esoteric guides (The Crag Climber's Guide to the UK and the same to Europe to name the two) we have seen a steady stream of full-colour, action-packed, highly-detailed volumes recently. A couple of years back, the new edition of The Crag Climber's Guide to Europe got my thumbs-up, despite some folks moaning about the plethora of symbols, colour-coded tables and burgeoning amount of information. Once you got the hang of the layout, the book was surprisingly easy to use, and the amount of information it provided was truly staggering. In the past couple of years JW have produced a new version of The Crag Climbers guide to the UK with half the guide (the 'dry' half) listing all the cliffs in the area, and the other half (the 'wet' half) listing all the climbing walls – a neat idea and doubtless very useful to the travelling climber. They have also produced Climbing Dyno-mite - a guide to learning how boulder, to climb indoors, and even moving onto climbing outside!  Then there is also a new guide to the central area of France, Bourgogne - Onsight - à Vue, in the usual info-packed, full-colour format.

Following hot on the heels of this outpouring is this latest book, covering the rock climbing and bouldering available in Portugal, and it blows the gaff on another great destination for the peripatetic rock jock. David AJ admits that Portugal may not have enough major cliffs to ever be a mainstream venue, but there is plenty of climbing here; the climate is benign, the locals are friendly and living there is pretty cheap. Almost half of the book features bouldering venues and doubtless this will prove popular as 'the Bouldering Revolution' continues apace. The hand-drawn topos that are used throughout the guide are massively detailed labours of love and must have taken many hours in front of the PC to assemble. I don't know why DAJ hasn't gone down the logical road offered by digital photography; though doubtless he has his reasons!

The new guide features even more symbols/tables/colours than the last one I used, and I am not sure if it isn't getting just a little overdone – you need good eyesight and/or a magnifying glass to decipher them all! Alternately of course you can ignore all the little symbols and just use it as a regular guidebook.

And a little moan, the fact that DAJ had been on one or more of his research trips with 'Ben and Jerry – ace boulderers' means they feature in plenty of the pics (no problems with that) but the final double page spread of 'me and my mates on holiday' is a bit cheesy! Despite this incredibly minor gripe, this book is a monumental work, it describes a whole new area in great detail, it is filled with loads of inspirational pictures and once again gets my thumbs up. Right let's get a flight booked.

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