Outdoor Focus Autumn 2017 - Page 12

BOOK REVIEWS / ROLY SMITH Circuit covers 58 miles. As the author says, the Cotswold region is “utterly distinctive.” But I do wish his villages wouldn’t “nestle” quite so much. by the numerous references to the notorious steel-bonneted reivers, who waged uncontrolled internecine warfare over this area for over 400 years. Modest ascents and descents make this an easygoing circuit which can be accomplished in five or six days either clockwise or anticlockwise from Melrose, although clockwise is recommended as it generally provides the best views. HEART OF THE COTSWOLDS Christopher Knowles Rucksack Readers, £14.99 (pb) W aterproof paper, clear 1:50,000 mapping, excellent photography and a knowledgeable text. The latest production from Jetta Megarry’s Edinburgh publishing house has everything you would want from a practical, rucksack- friendly guidebook. As the author says, the Cotswold region is “utterly distinctive.” The author has been organising walking holidays in the Cotswolds for over twenty years, so he should know his stuff. He has devised three new walking routes in this new guide to the delectable Cotswold country, whose honeystone oolitic limestones, according to JB Priestley, “knew the trick of keeping the lost sunlight of centuries glimmering about them.” The eight-day Grand Circuit, as described, covers 94 miles from Cheltenham via Broadway, Moreton, Bourton and Cirencester; while the 45-mile Winchcombe Circuit goes to Broadway, Moreton and Bourton, and the Cheltenham 12 Outdoor focus | autumn 2017 BORDERS ABBEYS WAY Neil Mackay Rucksack Readers, £12.99 (pb) T his is another “way” from Rucksack by another experienced author, who in this case used to be the Access Officer for the Scottish Borders Council, which developed the route which was opened in 2006. Modest ascents and descents make this an easygoing circuit Apart from the rather clumsy title (too many plurals!), the new route is an easy, 67-mile circuit of the Borders, visiting the romantic 12th century ruined abbeys of Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh, and also taking in the historic towns of Hawick and Selkirk and Sir Walter Scott’s Gothic baronial mansion of Abbotsford House. You are left in no doubt that this is indeed Border country WALKING THE HEBRIDEAN WAY Richard Barrett Cicerone, £14.95 (pb) T his is a tempting guide to the latest long-distance route in Scotland: the 155-mile Hebridean Way, which runs the length of the Outer Hebrides from Vatersay on the southernmost tip of Barra, through the Uists to Stornoway, in the north of Lewis. Purists will undoubtedly want to add the dramatic extra sixteen miles to the Stevenson lighthouse at the northernmost Butt of Lewis which, because of lack of funding, is still not officially part of the Hebridean Way. Further future options might include routes running up both the east and west coasts of Lewis.