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Hell of a Journey: On Foot Through the Scottish Highlands in Winter

Hell of a Journey: On Foot Through the Scottish Highlands in Winter [Kindle Edition]

Mike Cawthorne
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'In lucid expansive prose, he describes his remarkable 'hell of a journey' through the Highlands, battling blizzards and rainstorms.' --The Herald

'Written with an enthusiastic attention to detail... The style is refreshingly honest and extraordinarily open...' --Scotland on Sunday

'Written with wry humour and illustrated with stunning photographs, his book is an inspiring adventure.' --The Scotsman

Product Description

Hell of a Journey' describes what is arguably the last great journey to be undertaken in Britain: the entire Scottish Highlands on foot in one winter. On one level it is a vivid and evocative account of a remarkable trek - never attempted before - on another it celebrates the uniqueness of the Highlands, the scenery and ecology of 'the last wilderness in Europe'. The challenge Mike Cawthorne set himself was to climb all 135 of Scotland's 1,000-metre peaks, which stretch in an unbroken chain through the heart of the Highlands, from Sutherland to the Eastern Cairngorms, down to Loch Lomond, and west to Glencoe. His route traversed the most spectacular landscape in Scotland, linking every portion of wilderness, and was completed in the midst of the harshest winter conditions imaginable. Acclaimed on its first publication in 2000, this edition contains an epilogue in which Mike Cawthorne reflects on his trek and wonders what has changed since he carried it out. He warns that 'wild land in Scotland has never been under greater threat'. Hell of a Journey is a reminder of what we could so easily lose forever.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3603 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn (8 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,651 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, Desolate, Sublime 16 Aug 2008
Inspired by the personal demons of boredom and existential disenchantment, Mike Cawthorne sets out to climb all of Scotland's Munros in a single, grueling, four month odyssey, made in the middle of winter. Battling the wild gyrations of the weather, the journey is highly organized, with food and supply caches buried strategically along his course. The detailed descriptions of landscape, hand-drawn maps and bleak photographs give a crystal-clear sense of the sheer vastness and monumental scope of the Scottish Highlands. Some days are sublime, distilled magic, bottled and delivered straight to the page; they feel almost mystical or spiritual and as we read, we feel the tearing of the unseen membrane which separates him from his surroundings. Still, there are many setbacks, and there are days of wrenching loneliness, desperation, near-failure, with no company save the creak of his boots in the snow. For Cawthorne, each day is unique, and somehow remarkable, and each day burns a distinct hole in the fabric of his memory. When the journey is over, we feel a tinge of anticlimax, of sadness, a craving for the grim, austere wilderness which he left behind. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 30 July 2000
By A Customer
Although not much of a mountain walker myself I really enjoyed "Hell of a Journey". It's well written and inventive. Beyond just describing this hellish battle with the elements, Mike Cawthorne peppers his narrative with anecdotes and conversations drawn from many encounters en route. At times it reads like a thriller, something I didn't expect. A great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grit & determination personified 7 Jan 2013
By pedro
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An entertaining read, & just what it says on the tin! Really have to admire Mikes sheer cussedness to keep going through thick & thin....recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and bleak 31 Dec 2012
I've read a decent chunk of books on the subject, and think this book simply has some of the best descriptions of the Scottish wilds I have ever read. The power in this book is it's ability to convey the beauty in bleak desolation of Scottish winter. It's interesting and amazing that Mike chose a sort of route-of-most-resistance through the wildest land. And it shows - the pages are overflowing with the isolation. A book I return to time and time again. One of the best in the genre, surely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A journey to follow 15 Mar 2009
Talk to any hill walkers who have walked in all the main mountain areas of the UK, and they are liable to go misty eyed about Scotland. This book, written by someone who clearly loves the Scottish Highlands manages to communicate that misty eyedness very well. It is also, an amazing journey to undertake. Recently, Cawthorne has been 'outdone' by Steve Perry who backpacked his way around all the Munros in winter (a truly amazing achievement!), but this is not far behind.
Personally, I particularly like his evocative passion for the far Northwest Highlands: Sutherland and Assynt are very, very special places, that once visited, stay with you forever. Cawthorne, manages to put that into words very well.
If you're not a walker, or do not know Scotland, then this could become boring: for non mountain lovers, one hill looks very much like another. But as this book is most likely to be read by people with an interest in the outdoors, it is definitely one to recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hell of a good read 22 Feb 2009
By Fin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a must for anyone who loves the wild places and mountains of Scotland. As a solo long distance walker and climber I found the book hard to put down. It is a joy to read. Mike Cawthorne manages to bring the landscape to life with his colourful and descriptive writing style. For me it is a gem to cherish and reread.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hell of a Journey 1 Aug 2013
By Allen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just the book to cool you down in the heat of summer. Vivid descriptions of icy storms on mountain sides and shivering in a sleeping bag in the depths of winter in deepest Scotland.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A right riveting read 1 Aug 2004
As a reader of many hillwalking guide books I was interested to see how Mike would approach this. Would it turn out to be a book for would be walkers setting out on their own big adventure?
I was very impressed. From the first pages I was in turn enthralled and delighted by the author's account of his journey: he has a way of relating his story that completely draws the reader into the adventure, such that I could hardly put it down. A book to appeal to walkers and readers everywhere.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars new route ideas for scrambers in the highlands
I love the highlands. Books like these fill the soul inbetween all too rare visits. Picked up a lot of new route ideas.
Published 1 month ago by Sydneysider
3.0 out of 5 stars Best read by walking enthusiasts
Its hard going in places. Not a book for those like me who just wanted an easy read. Those who take part in walking activity would enjoy it because they can relate to it.
Published 2 months ago by Ordin Harryman
5.0 out of 5 stars A rewarding read
A fine account of a winter wilderness epic in the uk. A easy read that's informative and at times really takes you to the mountains of Scotland. Read more
Published 3 months ago by David Bliss
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but not exceptional.
After a lifetime of climbing ( Iceland, Alps, Dolomites and Lakeland I ' compleated' the Munros in 2008. This was my greatest experience of all. I adore the mountains of Scotland. Read more
Published 5 months ago by richard john cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern day adventure
A great adventure for Mike Cawthorne. Gladly read from the comfort of the armchair. Inspired to get out the chair and find my own adventure. Watch this space!
Published 5 months ago by john english-rowland
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible
Bought this book and started reading and couldn't put it down,the way it is written and the description used is brilliant
Published 5 months ago by kevin gent
4.0 out of 5 stars An impossible challenge
Mike Cawthorne drags himself through the highest and wildest parts of Scotland in the middle of a harsh winter. A he'll of an achievement and a good read.
Published 9 months ago by andbob50
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much of a slog!
I was enjoying the beginning of this and it is very well written. However, at about half way I'd had enough and gave up - essentially it's "climb hill, sleep in bothy, get stuck in... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Parp
5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all
In 1986, with one companion, Cawthorne had climbed all 284 of Scotland’s Munros (peaks above 3,000 feet) in one continuous journey. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Quercus
4.0 out of 5 stars Rambler Story
I loved rambling when I was younger but I can not see the enjoyment in these journys.But I enjoyed the book
Published 12 months ago by Roy Bridgett
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