Lucky, lucky me to get my hands on a copy of the long awaited Scottish Rock guide – it's truly inspirational. An initial flick through the content had my palms sweating, and the pictures had me salivating from cover to cover.
The first thing that strikes you about this guide book is that it's like a parody of Scotland itself – It's massive, there's absolutely loads to do, and there are little gems all over the place. I'm afraid I'm a true Sassenach when it comes to Scottish rock climbing. Like the skipper in Black Adder, I set forth with great intentions and (where he fails to get further than the Isle of Wight) I always seem to end up in Reiff or Northumberland (sorry)! But no longer!
Take a closer look, and you can't help but marvel at the diversity of the climbing contained in one book. I had heard that the granite of Arran was awesome, but I'd never seen pictures like this. I'd paddled round Mull, but had no idea there was such a wealth of climbing, and all this before you even get to the Coe. From then on, it's like a feast of classic rock climbing, and you'll be amazed how often you find yourself thinking “of course – it even covers . . .” From roadside attraction to the remote corries of the Southern Cairngorms, the variety is quite staggering. And yes – the classics are all in there – from moderate to E10 without a trace of snobbery.
Furthermore, they are all beautifully photographed and presented in a guide that rides the crest of the “modern guidebook” wave. I, like everyone else I'm sure, will be hot footing it to Erraid with the family – in search of that white sand and turquoise sea under a bright blue sky. If only it was always like that.
The introductions, directions and maps are clear and informative. The photo diagrams are superb in both quality and detail, and simple icons tell you what you want to know at a glance.
I have to congratulate the effort that Gary Latter (and his team – even the acknowledgements are worth a read) put into this book, and they all deserve a special mention. The passion shines through the pages, and you can't help but get excited about Scottish Rock.
For now, this really is the only book you need for heading north of the border! I for one, simply can't wait for the next opportunity (and volume 2, of course)!
Thanks Gary – but about those midges . . .?
Scottish Rock is actually Scottish Rock Volume 1 (South). The book covers the following areas:
2 Arrochar Area
3 Mull & Iona
4 GlenCoe & Glen Etive
5 Ardgour & Ardnamurchan
6 Ben Nevis & Glen Nevis
7 Central Highlands
9 Easter Ross
From the Foreword by Hamish MacInnes ... “Volume 1 covers a proliferation of Scottish crags up to the natural demarcation of the Great Glen. They are easier to access than most in Volume 2 and present infinite variety... The list seems endless and if you succeed in doing half of them you'll be a much better climber and know a lot more about Scotland – have a good decade!”
The book is full colour, with superb colour photo topos. It's 140x200mm in size, which is just a smidge smaller than Rockfax guides, but quite a bit bigger than the usual CC style guide. It weighs in at a large 480 pages, all packed with essential information covering over 1600 routes. Splitting the guides in to volume 1 and 2 was an extremely good idea – meaning more info and areas can be covered.
The guide has excellent colour maps and photo topos – with a selection of symbols and colour coding to make life easier. The design is modern and the layout is superb and logical. One slight tweak that could improve usability is keeping all route descriptions on the same page as their corresponding topo photograph – for speed and clarity. However this really is a minor niggle, and the route descriptions can usually be found with the turn of a single page.
Almost coffee table in its photo quality and covering thousands of routes – Scottish Rock is a must have for any visiting or local climber. Superb, well done Gary and Pesda Press - bring on Volume 2.
A native Scot, Gary Latter has climbed extensively throughout Scotland for almost three decades, pioneering hundreds of new routes of every standard throughout the Highlands and Islands, including major new routes and early repeats in all the major climbing areas throughout the country. During the dozen or so years researching and compiling these guides, he has personally visited and climbed on almost all the crags and cliffs documented, amassing an extensive collection of photographs along the way.
His favourite places in Scotland are the islands and the north west – anywhere with the possibility of finding new unclimbed rock, secluded beaches, and hopefully some decent weather and nae midges! Amongst these, Mingulay, Pabbay and the small tidal island of Erraid, off Mull, are some of the most memorable venues.
He lives with his wife in rural Perthshire, running his own business, Scottish Rock, instructing and guiding rock climbing and scrambling throughout the Highlands and Islands.
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