At a glance
Mark Richards, Great Mountain Days in the Lake District
Published by Cicerone
Paperback, 256 pages
Great Mountain Days in the Lake District is probably nothing new in terms of a guide book to the Lakes. It explores in detail 50 classic routes in the Lakes but it does, however, encourage the walker onto more unusual routes and most importantly of all, allows the less experienced to test out new and more adventurous routes. The book has 50 circular routes which allow the more adventurous walker to explore new areas as well as including the more essential parts of the region such as Scafell Pike.
In terms of a guide book it is extremely detailed and Mark's enthusiasm for his favourite landscape is evident page by page from his excellent photographic contributions as well as his bird's view pictorial route diagrams which hint at the author's AW roots.
Included in the publication are advice sections for the novice and alternative route choices for the more challenging day out. In essence the 50 graded routes are all four-season walks and although there is mild scrambling on some of the suggested itineraries (e.g. Striding Edge) there should be nothing to frighten anyone away from the choices made. What lends a certain air of uniqueness are the less obvious day walks, such as Black Combe and the use of Harvey mapping isn't always the immediate choice these days. Mark has tended to turn away from more famous horseshoes in favour of circuits that aren't immediately obvious at the planning stage (Skiddaw from Bassenthwaite as example).
Sample page - click to enlarge
On first viewing it looks very good, nicely produced, with clear photos and maps (a mixture of Harveys and line drawn). Seems to be a good mix of routes, some I've done, some I haven't and a few different takes on familiar areas. Look forward to spending more time going through it but, so far, it looks like a book that I'm sure Mark is proud to have produced. Phil Winter, OFC Member
Geographically this work is excellent. From a pure landscape point of view the guide offers the traditional routes and walks, but where it excels is with the titbits of information that interests many of us with a keen awareness for Lakeland, its life, history and culture. Throughout the book, swarthes of green text (is that an AW influence?) offer alternative routes as well as useful and interesting information about the place being explored. These sections are not only useful, but they'll make you sound exceedingly knowledgeable when you're out on the walk or discussing the day over a pint. For instance people will stare with admiration the next time you discuss which fell is called 'mountain lake of the hunting ground' - I'll let you read to find out which!
Finally, and this is a consideration for all walkers with a conscience, part of the cover price is being passed on by Cicerone to the footpath charity Fix the Fells and so when you are out and about your erosive actions are being repaired at some cost to you - that may lay some minds to rest! With some emphasis on this project the book carries a double page look at the project.
It will also be noted that even the OFC and Andrew Leaney get a mention and that is seen as a pleasant surprise. Of course, this latter element will in no way influence an excellent decision to highly recommend the book. It is a quality publication throughout and one which I will be using when planning new routes in the future. I think for the walker trying to extend their repertoire this is an excellent choice and one to be recommended.
COMPETITION To win a signed copy of Great Mountain Days in the Lake District answer the following question:
Q: What map system is included in the book?
Send your answer via the contact section at the base of this page by putting 'Great Mountain Days' in the message subject. Alternatively e-mail the answer to
stating your full name and address. Competition closing date is midnight on Saturday 28th June 2008. The winner will be drawn at random from all of the correct entries and will be notified shortly thereafter.