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From the Mull to the Cape: A Gentle Bike Ride on the Edge of Wilderness Paperback – 7 Jul 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (7 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184024674X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840246742
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard has been cycling for as long as he can remember, i.e. for 60 years or so. After trying his hand at careers as a geography teacher, van driver, economist and 'usability engineer' (and even now he's not sure what that was), he finally found that a knack for telling a good tale combined well with an urge to travel and embarked on a writing career. Better late than never.

Richard's latest travel project was 'Nothing Between Here and the Urals', a quest to discover whether his father was right in that claim, made on a Leicestershire hilltop in the 1960s. His quest took in East Anglia, Holland, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and finally Russia. To find out whether he found a higher hill on that latitude... you'll have to read the book... which will be published sometime in November 2014.

His other recent publication is 'Old Geezer's Dictionary of Irritants', a remarkable tour-de-force, defining over 400 annoying aspects of today's Britain. It was published in October 2014.

Richard also does free, illustrated talks on his travels to any group with a digital projector. They have included talks at literature festivals, universities, creative writing groups, WIs and other social groups.

Product Description


'This lively paperback... detailing the unique features and haunting beauty around him... telling it all with gentle humour.' -- The Scots Magazine, November 2008

Featured on "Excess Baggage": BBC Radio 4, Saturday 2nd August 08 -- Featured on BBC Radio 4

`A gently comic, acutely observed travel book, which also supplies boxed nuggets of information.'
-- The Good Book Guide, October 2008

`Armchair travel at its best.'
-- Caring 4 Sussex, October 2008

`Guise's account of his trip is certainly amusing and a good read... this book has certainly whetted my appetite for exploring.'
-- County Down Spectator & Ulster Standard Series, December 31, 2008

`an account of the breathtaking countryside and the characters he met'
-- Derby Evening Telegraph, July 23 2008

`humorously written... a pleasant and relaxing read.' -- Scottish Home & Country Magazine, October 2008


`Armchair travel at its best.'

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Hutchinson on 2 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
The subject matter of this book is the exploits of a retired bloke who sets himself the challenge of cycling from the Mull of Kintyre to Cape Wrath at the north western point of mainland Scotland.

Therefore, its easy to deduce that the book should appeal to touring cyclists and/or people interested in the geography, history and culture of the Highlands. An ideal book, therefore, for myself as i consider all these things at the top of my list of interests!

Unfortunately, the book falls significantly short on both counts. Lets deal with the cycling issues first. As mentioned by other reviewers, the distances covered each day are not huge by cycle touring standards. However, this isn't the main problem - indeed, other authors of similar adventures have covered even less miles (i'm thinking of Jim Curran in 'The middle aged mountaineer') and still managed to write a good book. My main gripe would be the splitting up of the route into three stages with breaks inbetween of six months back at home in Leicestershire! I'm sorry but this is not cycle touring - at least, not cycle touring worth writing about!

I'm also not convinced about the 'rule' which Richard attempts to enforce upon himself - to stick to the coast as much as possible. Surely this should have meant he covered the Outer Hebrides and thus included what is arguably the best cycling Scotland has to offer - Barra, The Uists, Harris and Lewis? He briefly went to Skye (although i realise this was mainly just to circumnavigate the Knoydart peninsula) so why not?

I'm not a cycling snob but if i'm going to read a book about an 'endurance adventure' then it needs to be just that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By An Teallach on 25 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Have just returned from a week in Poolewe, during which I read this book as it was on the bookshelf of the holiday cottage we stayed in. General feeling is that surely the market for metropolitan types poking fun at the quaint mores of the primitive natives must be decreasing. I found Gairloch to be an interesting and pleasant place and did not think that the local people's inability to plan it on the basis of a Home Counties village was a great inconvenience. Presumably there were reasons for this. West Highland villages and townships tend to spread out. That's how it is. If you want a tightly snug settlement pattern oriented on a cricket square, I'd suggest Surrey. As to the naming of First Coast and Second Coast, I have no ideas but, once again, some research might reveal more potent reasons than the the presumed stupidity of the indigenous inhabitants. The author stands foursquare within the tradition of outsiders finding amusement in local culture. Maybe time we moved beyond this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Walker on 20 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Books and blogs attract quite different expectations. Both involve text to be read we all accept the latter are likely to be more self-indulgent, a personal view, a diary written for external consumption. Above all, they will be a matter of taste and we would expect to "surf" through 20-30 blogs looking for one that appealed. So what happens when a book is written in a blog style? Because that's what you are getting here, a very personal view with lots of the author's personality coming through. As others have described it is a journey starting close to the Mull of Kintyre at the south west tip of Scotland and heading north, staying as close to the coast as roads permit, with the aim of reaching Cape Wrath, the north western corner of the Scottish mainland.
The "Search Inside" facility is available on the Amazon website and I recommend you use it. If you enjoy the style in the pages you read then that is pretty much what you will get for 250 pages. You have to accept the author is a retired middle-class English guy with a certain sense of humour and view of the world. If you tune it to that and think you would enjoy his "diary" as he heads north, then it's fine; if not, look elsewhere. I am just amazed by some of the other reviewers' comments - he didn't ride 200 miles in a day, he broke the journey into three parts. Well, check out the front cover: the sub-title is "A Gentle Bike Ride on the Edge of Wilderness" - did you think he was being ironic?
I do have some sympathy with some of the criticism: some of the comments about the places he stays in are a bit ungracious, and the rather lazy of lumping any hotel/restaurant staff who were born anywhere beyond Berlin as an "Eastie" is lazy - I'd actually like to have known their stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Argyll cyclist on 18 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
I was really looking forward to reading this book as it had the promise of being a cycle touring book about my own home patch. The first few chapters had my mouth drop open in horror as the author seemed to think it acceptable to continually patronise the locals by writing in some bizarre imitation of the Scots accent. This offensive theme seemed to be continued for as much of this book as I could stand reading. I'm really surprised that the publisher did not warn the author that this is the 21st century and not the 1950s and that this type of offence is both unacceptable and non-commercial.
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