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The Relative Hills of Britain: Mountains, Munros and Marilyns (A Cicerone guide) Paperback – 1 Jan 1992
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How many hills are there in Britain? Has anyone climbed them all? Where is there for hill walkers to go in the south of England? What is a hill anyway? The answers to these and other questions will be found in "The Relative Hills of Britain". This book dispenses with the common assumption that a hill must be at least 2000ft high to be worth climbing. Instead it concentrates on listing all the hills that are relatively high compared to the surrounding land, rather than compared to sea level. This approach leads to some interesting results: for example, the highest points in the Cotswolds and Chilterns, Campsies and Quantocks are all included, as well as the main summits on numerous Scottish islands, whereas well-known mountain summits such as Cairn Gorm, Bowfell and Carnedd Dafydd do not qualify. As well as being an invaluable reference work for all walkers, this book contains a fascinating collection of not too serious facts and figures about the Marilyns, as these relative hills have been called. The book is illustrated by a set of photographs and a large number of very clear maps, which make it easy to locate all the hills in each region.
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Sitting on the abrupt lump of The Wrekin with a golden sunset, looking out over a wide range of tilled and lived in countryside, the Malverns, Welsh borders, Wenlock Edge, Cotswolds, and even Chilterns in view, soaking in the lines of human history etched everywhere on the landscape, and breathing the air clean of smog, may not match a Highland peak, but it is better than sitting in Birmingham of a winter weekend and is a pleasure I would have missed out on if I didn't have Alan's book. It is my one regret that I moved back north without completing Section 42: South East England, but, thems the breaks. Now I am back I can concentrate on Corbetts, Grahams, and other interesting but lower hills and islands, all of them detailed in this book.
As well as the meat of the book, which is a region-by-region guide to the British hills with an all round 500ft drop *despite their total height*, there are interesting discussions on Remotest Hill, Easiest, Most Spectacular View, Most Boring, etc. And as the hills sometimes change height as the Ordnance Survey update their maps, there are regular updates on the book's website... The only possible complaint is that the pictures are taken by Alan himself, and are of the hillwalking enthusiast rather than the coffee table variety - but this is not a book for looking at - it is a book for using up the hills. And in this it works very well indeed.
Get a copy and change your life.