WALKS IN SCOTLAND¿S MOST SPECTACULAR SCENERY
Glen Coe and Lochaber describes 20 of the finest walks in an area boasting a remarkably varied landscape, shaped by a violent geological past and a fascinating but often tragic history. From the intricate hidden valleys and ridges of Bidean nam Bian high above the glacial trench of Glencoe, and the weathered rock prow of the Buachaille Etive Mor, to the vast open spaces of Rannoch Moor and the pastures and wooded slopes of Glen Nevis with its towering peaks and great waterfalls, these walks explore some of Scotlands finest and most spectacular scenery.
From the Introduction:
The walks described in this book explore the stumps of a vanished ancient mountain range which was once as high as the Himalayas. These have been folded, fractured, stretched, heated, parched, buried, torn apart, subjected to periods of violent volcanic activity and intense glacial erosion, and have generally endured a pretty torrid time.
Fortunately for us, this has resulted in one of the most geologically and scenically fascinating landscapes in the world. From the huge volcanic cliffs of Ben Nevis and the fertile schists and shattered quartzite of the Grey Corries and Mamores to the entertainingly weathered arete of the Aonach Eagach; from the hidden cliff-girt hanging valleys of Bidean nam Bian to the graceful granite ridges of Ben Starav above the wind-ruffled salt waters of Loch Etive; and from the splendour of Buachaille Etive M6r to the wild corries of Stob Ghabhar, the sheer scenic variety is remarkable.
In more recent times, the landscape was shaped by, and helped to shape, a long and rich yet often violent and tragic history. Evidence of human settlement and conflict accompany the walker through most of this book, even in the vast empty spaces of the once forested Rannoch Moor. After centuries of relative prosperity, the land emptied of people as huge numbers were forced to emigrate to the Lowlands or overseas colonial lands.
The underlying cause was overpopulation and impending starvation, originating in the undermining of the originally democratic clan system., and exacerbated enormously by the repercussions of the disastrous 1745-46 Jacobite rebellion. Many were forcibly evicted with great brutality for failure to meet extortionate rents, or to make way for sheep which, along with the red deer which rule most of the area covered by this book, continue to play a major role in shaping the landscape.
For walkers, it is hillwalking and scrambling at which the area excels, although many mountain approaches are as interesting as the mountains themselves. This is reflected in the choice of routes described, which range from the 6km (3.5 mile) ascent of the little Pap of Glencoe to the challenge of Annach Eagachs aretes and pinnacles and the demanding traverse of the Western Mamores. One low-level walk has been included: the crossing of Rannoch Moor, without which no walking guide to the area would be complete.
With so much scope, a guide must inevitably be selective, and some may not agree with my choice of routes. However, the aim of this book is not to be exhaustive, but rather to provide a framework for exploring, and to inspire further exploration while fostering an appreciation of the rich underlying geological, natural and historical tapestry which has made the landscape what it is today.
Researching this book has given me a new insight into an area I thought, perhaps conceitedly, that I knew; revealing details and depths I was previously only superficially aware of. I could happily spend weeks on end prowling its hidden corries and wooded ravines; sitting amongst the tumbled stones of old shielings and trying to imagine the views as their not so recently departed inhabitants saw them. Far from dulling my view, intensive exposure has, for me, amplified the areas delights; some of which I hope this book will allow me to share with you.Ruaridh Pringle
Ruaridh Pringle is an experienced hillwalker, mountaineer, photographer and writer. He is published regularly in the outdoor press, has won photographic and outdoor writing prizes, and publishes his own photographic prints.
Glen Coe, 16 miles from Fort William, is probably the most famous glen in Scotland owing to the notorious massacre of the Macdonald clan. It is an atmospheric spot, particularly foreboding when the mist comes down, and, as such, the glen provides many challenging walks and mountain climbs. This book describes 20 walks which the author hopes will provide a framework for further exploration of the area.
For each walk the details given include length, both in kilometres and miles; and the start and finish points together with an outline map of the route to be followed. A short paragraph describes the terrain with realistic comments such as "a demanding outing"; "a steep ascent, then easy and delightful walking"; "the inexperienced may necessi-tate a rope and an experienced colleague". An explanation of the Gaelic hill and place names encountered on the route is given as these are often historically and geographically very informative. Approximately three pages are then used to describe the walk which is further enhanced by the inclusion of colour photographs.
The walks included cover a mixture of Munros mountains over 3,000 feet and Corbetts, mountains between 2,400 to 2,999 feet. Walks to the summit of Ben Nevis, the Pap of Glencoe, the Aonach Eagach, and peaks of the Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag "The great" and "The little" shepherds of Etive are amongst the outings described. One low level walk across Rannoch Moor is also included.
Written by an experienced hillwalker and mountaineer this is an informative short guide to some of the walks around this area and it is also small enough to fit into the pocket of a rucksack for taking with you.Reference Reviews
Good maps, interesting and informative descriptions and Pringles excellent photographs.Climber