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Monty Halls' Great Escape: Beachcomber Cottage Paperback – 5 Mar 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (5 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846076218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846076213
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.2 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From the Author

I had always wanted to know if the dream we all have of escaping the rat race holds true. Having been profoundly touched by Gavin Maxwell's book Ring of Bright Water as a child, I decided to move to a tiny bothy on the west cost of Scotland to see if reality matched the fantasy. I hasten to add that I'm certainly no survival expert, being somewhat notorious amongst my friends down south for being a blithering incompetent at DIY and cooking (and being on my own!). The book tells the story of the magical place I found, and the alchemy of my personal journey through the good times and the bad. It is mainly anecdotal, not really and DIY / cooking / wildlife guide - I hope it reads slightly more as a diary of the ups and downs of living the simple life (which turns out to be bloody complicated). I found a very special place in Applecross - the small fishing and crofting community where the bothy is based, and the memory of the last six months will stay with me forever. Hopefully this comes across in the book.

About the Author

A successful explorer, marine biologist and writer, Monty Halls has led numerous expeditions and projects throughout the world, including three circumnavigations of the earth seeking out the greatest encounters in the oceans. His television credits include presenting Channel 4's Journey to the Centre of the Earth (the science behind Jules Verne's novel), Discovery's Rebuilding the Past (an attempt to recreate an Iron Age settlement) and Five's Great Ocean Adventures, for which he was also the author of the accompanying book. Monty operates the adventure travel company, Full Circle Expeditions, and is also a leading motivational speaker.

Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as me and my wife are doing a two week trip along the west coast of Scotland in June and Applecross is considered one of the attractive sights to see. The book does initially offer some details on the beauty of the area but soon descends into an indepth report on a man called Monty which to be honest, I didn't really care about. I'm not saying I have issue with the guy, but 80% of the book is about him playing sport, him going diving, him doing a mountain run, him wanting to take pictures and on and on which didn't feel exclusive to the area and it just got a bit boring reading so much about him and little about Applecross. I understand of course the book isn't a travel guide but I guess I expected more of a feel for the place and I just got to learn about some English guy who went there and succeeded. If you have a love for all things Monty (the ex British serviceman who adventured to rural Scotland) then fine, but if you're buying this book to get a real feel for rural Scotland/Applecross (or even living off grid) you may feel disappointed.
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What an utter delight and joy I found this book. Living not too far from the Applecross area and a frequent visitor there, I actually know a lot of the places of which Monty writes. I have driven over the Pass of the Cattle many, many times and great fun it is too! I laughed out loud at some parts as, being English myself and having lived in Scotland for 14 years, I fully understand his perplexity and amusement at some of the Scottish people and their ways! I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. I am sure this book will be quite an eye opener for many who assume that Highlanders are just jokels with heather sticking out of their ears!
The book and the TV programme both reminded me why I love this beautiful place so much.
I simply can't imagine how on Earth Monty is going to return to living in a city.
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Monty Halls has written a beautiful account of his time living in a lonely bothy near to Applecross in Western Scotland. Inspired by Gavin Maxwell, this is a very uplifting book, so well crafted and a pleasure to read. I would recommend this to anyone interested in what it is like to live a simple life in this remote part of the UK.
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The literature equivalent of a warm fire and a bowl of tomato soup on a cold winter's day.

Interesting to read, great anecdotes, and ultimately, good for the soul.

Other people may find it twee and sentimental, but if you're the kind of person who enjoyed watching Peak Practice on a Sunday night, then you'll like this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book was more than I had hoped it would be. As a lover of the TV series I thought it would just recap the series but there is so much more in the book that the TV did not show and the the way it is written pulls you into the simpler life of living as a crofter in the 21st century.
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Format: Paperback
This book is warm, very funny and complements the TV series with lots of added snippets that you didn't get to see. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the West Coast of Scotland - it will make you want to go there straight away! Monty has a wonderful sense of humour and tries his hand at lots of new things which often don't go as expected. If you watched the series then you must get the book!
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Format: Paperback
This is a funny, and sometimes moving, look at Monty Halls' six months living off the land in Applecross, Western Scotland. He starts by doing up an old bothy, with the help of locals who were to become his friends. He gets some pigs and some chickens, and starts to grow his own vegetables.

Having just visited Skye, which is just across the water from Applecross, the book had a special meaning for me, and Skye is mentioned on numerous occasions throughout the book.

Monty's dog, Reuben, is a great and mischievious character too, and full of energy.

I loved Monty's account of running up the conical shaped mountain on Skye. It had me laughing out loud as he described his tearing pain.

This is a superb true story of a man living off the land with beautiful Scotland as a backdrop. It's an easy read, and comes highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I love a man with a sense of humour, especially when he doesn't mind poking fun at himself, and that is probably the main element that made me thoroughly enjoy reading this book.

Monty Hall describes himself variously as a "posh bloke", a Southerner, a Sassenach, a little boy out for an adventure and a hopeless DIYer, so he's probably not best suited to moving to the remotest corner of Scotland and taking on the ramshackle shell of an old cottage that needs totally renovating - all that's left are the outer walls, it hasn't even got a roof !! It's One Man and His Dog meets The Good Life meets The Wild Wild West (of Scotland !!) and the sense of adventure and well-earned self-satisfaction that Monty feels are palpable. With a lot of help from his new neighbours, Monty manages to live the traditional life of a crofter for 6 months, helping the "bothy" reemerge as a solid dwelling complete with vegetable garden and livestock. The description of the never-ending battle between man and the elements is exciting enough, but Monty also takes time out to introduce us to the spectacular scenery and wildlife of his unspoilt surroundings (complete with photos - his encounters with a magnificent stag on the beach and huge basking sharks are incredible), not to mention some of the more eccentric members of the local community !

The whole book is a great advertisement for Scotland - it certainly makes me want to go and discover the rugged beaches and remote heather-covered hillsides he describes - and I'm sure the accompanying TV series, which I haven't seen, only adds to this, showing the countryside and wildlife in all its glory. It's a real breath of fresh air.
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