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The Scottish Islands: The Bestselling Guide to Every Scottish Island Hardcover – 2 Oct 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 2 Oct 2008
£159.13 £70.49
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 546 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (2 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847672779
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847672773
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 3.8 x 26.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Hamish Haswell-Smith, now retired from his own architectural practice, is a qualified yachtmaster who has sailed extensively among the Scottish islands. His sketches and paintings, some of which illustrate the book, have been exhibited in many top British and European galleries.

From the Back Cover

'As a reference source Haswell-Smith's book is invaluable . . . a monumental labour of love that communicates the author's own passion for island hopping and combines it delightfully with his further as painter and artist.'
Daily Telegraph

Fully revised and updated, this is the only book with detailed information of every Scottish island and, for island hoppers, the original definitive list of the 162 'Haswells'. Beautifully illustrated with the author's own maps, sketches and painting, this wonderful guide will take you everywhere, whether in dreams or afloat.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 14 Mar. 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is just superb - absolutely brilliant. It is an ABSOLUTE MUST for anyone interested in the best island/sailing area on the planet.
It is a steal even at this price. Nothing compares - not the Clyde cruising club, not even Martin Lawrence.
My only quibble is with Hamish's official island list; he's gone over the top with respect to island definition. ie: I think Skye is still an island and an island is an island if it's surrounded by water at high tide, never mind if it dries out at low water and there are brilliant islands which fall off his official headcount 'cos they're too small, like Staffa (but note his text covers Skye and Staffa admirably).
Maybe I'm an obsessive island list-ticker - a marine Munroist - a real sad git!!!??? I'm planning to put the real list on the web soon!!
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Format: Hardcover
A book that you will pick up time and time again. A genuine book with hours of reading. Ideal for pottering about the West Coast. Get a copy now!
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Format: Hardcover
This hardcover book is beautifully designed and marvellous value - less than £20 for hundreds of large pages of loving yet factual descriptions of the Scottish islands, complete with superb watercolours and maps.

We have visited many Scottish islands and wish we had bought this book years ago as a companion and pre-visit taster.

Buy it - you won't regret it. In fact, it will be a treasure of your library. It's the sort of bargain that seems to only be found on Amazon and its personal review system.
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By A Customer on 22 Oct. 1998
Format: Hardcover
This intriguing work is one of the most exhaustive Scottish studies I have ever seen. For anyone who loves the Scottish islands, this compassionate work is essential.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The newspaper reviewers who describe this as ideal for island hoping are indulging their journalistic licence. This is definitely not a pilot nor even a guide book. The "maps" of the islands, though attractive are illustrative drawings without contours.
There is not a single photograph in the entire 500 odd pages. Instead there are line drawings and water colors. These are very attractive but not devoid of artistic interpretation. This is a colorful book about the islands but hardly "the Rosetta Stone of island hoping" as declared on the cover.
The section on the one island I know well having lived there for a few years narrates all the old apocryphal myths with the occasional minor exaggeration rather than circumspection. Throw in a small amount of complete balderdash and one is left wondering how useful this book really is.
Never the less it is a monumental work, quite an achievement and attractively presented. You will learn the "stories" which are perpetuated about individual islands, which may or may not be true.
As for visiting any of the islands covered you will need to do your own up to date research and have your maps and charts or timetables to hand.
If I had browsed this book in a book shop I would not have considered buying it. It is interesting rather than useful. Having bought it online unseen I certainly don't object to owning it, which is just as well at the price.
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Format: Hardcover
Scotland is surrounded on its north and west coasts by an unsurpassed archipelago of islands, and this has to be the guide to beat all guides. You want to know the history? The geology? The flora and fauna? The secrets? This is the books. Beautifully put together and illustrated, this is the ultimate guide for island hoppers such as kayakers like myself. And at the price of £13.50 (even £30 is frankly a bargain), buy before they are all gone.
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Format: Hardcover
A magnificent book, well researched and illustrated, filled with information both practical and informative. The "bible" for those just interested in or actively trying to "collect" islands. (Trying to reach the highest point of every island - an activity becoming known as "doing the Haswell-Smiths" is as addictive as Munro bagging, but a lot more challenging; AFAIK no-one's yet managed do do them all.) This book is also an invaluable addition to the charts and pilotage books for anyone cruising in Scotland.

H H-S's definition of islands is very strict, with both Skye and Scalpay excluded from the "list" because of their bridges, even though it is quite possible to circumnavigate them with a mast up. This can generate some grand debates over a dram!

I did find one error (uncorrected since the first edition): 2.13 Luing is listed with a height of 94m and the accompanying map confirms this: Cnoc Dhomhnuill 94m. On page 72, however, the text reads "The island's highest point, Binnean Furachail ... is 87m ..." which is clearly wrong. Both of these heights are confirmed by the OS map. In context, however, 1 error in over 500 pages isn't bad!
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after it was recommended by a walking mailgroup at half price (incl postage). Having recently been to the Outer Hebrides and intending to visit many of the smaller islands over the next few years, I thought it would be useful and have not been disappointed.
It is a beautifully produced and sizeable book covering all Scottish islands. Each one has a good map and details of population, history, geology, wildlife and access, as well as a general description of the island and any interesting features. Everything you could possibly want to know.
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