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on 23 September 2015
I also have the Snowdon and Lakes books. This is not a similar book - although it is in the same range of ‘big days out’. A bit misleading. The distances are huge and the author sometimes recommends some of them done as overnighters. Unlike the others, the maps cannot be used for walking due to the scale. In August there are not enough daylight hours to do some of the hikes within the time recommended. The northern Cairngorm walk would require you to start and finish in the dark. June only?
Whilst doing some of these hikes I felt that the author may be showing off his ability.
The ones I did were not suitable as ‘day’ hikes for people who don’t know the area.
Maybe good for overnight trips or training for SAS selection.
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 December 2014
The title `Great Mountain Days In Scotland' and the subtitle '50 classic hillwalking challenges' states with exactitude what the author expects his book to be about and where the action takes place. On reading I was delighted at how narrative unerringly captures the unique and special flavour of Scotland's mountains, and I empathized with the author's obvious devotion to the country. In selecting the 50 `challenges' it is clear Dan Bailey knows Scotland intimately and he has a great affinity for the mountains.

The `Introduction' explains how Scottish hillwalking offers some of the greatest mountain days to be found anywhere, yet they combine being rugged and remote with the advantage of being conveniently compact. Dan Bailey has brought together details of 50 `quality' walks from all over Scotland with 23 in the northwest highlands, 14 in Lochaber, central and southern highlands, 6 in the Cairngorms, 1 in Galloway and 6 in the islands from Arran to Lewis. An overall map of Scotland gives the location of walks, and `Great Mountain Days In Scotland' is enhanced by numerous excellent colour photographs for each `challenge' plus others to support text.

As a rock-climber I have visited most areas in Scotland where a lot of my hillwalking was a necessity to get to the crags and I did little that could be called classic hillwalking. However I feel qualified to review `Great Mountain Days In Scotland' as I have done a few of the routes identified by Dan Bailey and also I have done sections of others. For example I walked over Ben More and Stob Binnein but did not extend it to Cruach Ardrain etc., and I have walked the Ben Lawers group but left the Tarmachen ridge to another day, and I bagged Ben Hope without Ben Loyal. I admire Dan Bailey for his guts and determination but there is no way that after traversing AnTeallach I would have continued to Beinn Dearg Mor, but on the other hand I recall a most satisfying traverse of the Cuillin ridge in one go which must eclipse his challenges on Skye (this is deliberate and it is described in Dan Bailey's `Scotland's Mountain Ridges').

This is not too surprising considering so many of the 50 routes incorporate overnight stays with Dan Bailey including 2-day expeditions and notes on accommodation which in turn gives details of bothies, howffs etc. as well as presenting details of start/finish, distance, time, terrain etc. (and some uncommon approaches as mountain bike or kayak). He gives preference to tackling long rigorous expeditions (ranging from 20 - 46 kilometres and up to 4,200 metres of ascent) and perhaps that is why there is no place for Scottish favourites like Schiehallion or Stac Pollaidh, yet there are full accounts of the nearby (in Scottish terms) massive circuit of Ben Alder and Geal-Charn, and the isolated double peak round of Suilven and Canisp. After covering the usual preliminaries for a guidebook including access, weather, hazards etc. he draws attention to possible short cuts and alternative routes which are indicated on clear 1:100,000 scale maps. Readers need not slavishly follow the exact routes described by Dan Bailey - `Great Mountain Days In Scotland' is really about identifying opportunities - it is a mixture of inspiration and celebration - and it deserves a 5-star rating.
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on 17 January 2013
Finally, a Scottish hillwalking guidebook that does far more than the clichéd Corbett and Munro trade routes. GMDS is a book with real ambition and imagination, and the author's love for his subject jumps off every pithy, well-written and lavishly photographed page. Here is a treasure trove of epic hillwalking testpieces, from all over Scotland. Practically all the best hills are covered, and if you did all 50 of these routes instead of working slavishly through your Munro tick list you'd end up with an amazing knowledge of the Scottish hills. These are proper challenges, generally taking in multiple summits and plenty of remote and hard terrain far from the well-trodden paths. There might be some scrambling; you could find yourself approaching the hills by bike or even sea kayak; you might treat the routes as winter mountaineering `expeditions' (I use the term advisedly); you could very well end up taking a full weekend over them and sleeping in a bothy or bivvy bag. Brilliant stuff! If that all sounds like a great adventure then you're in good hands here.

The route selection is a mix of the must-do big names and connoisseur's gems. Classic well-known trips like the Cairngorms 4000-ers stand shoulder to shoulder with stuff you'd probably never thought of (I hadn't) like the nifty link-up of the Beinn Odhars with the Rois Bheinn range in Moidart - all done in a single testing linear excursion that's accessible by train. That's one I'll look forward to trying. Some of the 50 routes herein take you places other walking guides wouldn't dare, linking what most people would consider to be two or even three separate day trips into a single mega round. These are massive days - ranging from 20km to over 40km - but as Dan Bailey himself asks in the intro, `why climb one peak when you can do several?'. Take walk 28 as just one example (albeit a toughie even by this book's standards). This is a circuit of the whole Glen Coe skyline: Aonach Eagach end to end, the Big Buachaille, the Wee Buachaille, and the whole Bidean nam Bian range. It's quoted as 41km and 4200m ascent, plus of course the scrambling on Aonach Eagach. This'd be four separate days out, if you believed the Munro guides. But Dan Bailey does the lot in a single chapter. Sound mad? Well you'd have to be a fell runner or a very tough walker to fit that little lot into a single day out, but luckily the author hasn't been prescriptive about timings and in fact he positively encourages you to spend nights out on the hill. It's all part of the fun, he says. Every chapter includes notes on the best camp spots or nearby bothies. Dan also makes a concession to the less ambitious by detailing the most obvious short cuts in the info section of each walk, in case the weather craps out or things ever start looking a bit too much. Other useful chapter-by-chapter route info includes public transport, accommodation, the type of terrain encountered and any major considerations you should bear in mind if there's snow on the ground (does that scrambling ridge become a graded winter climb? Where are the renowned avalanche black spots?). It's all detailed, authoritative stuff.

The scope of GMDS is huge, and it's probably fair to say that the author expects his readers to have a bit of hillwalking ambition too; to get the best out of Scotland's amazing mountains you've got to be willing to push yourself a bit, he seems to be saying. Then again you could just as easily spend many happy evenings in the armchair poring over the hundreds of stunning evocative photos and planning your next big adventure, or reminiscing about epics enjoyed in your past. This is a must-have book for all lovers of the Scottish mountains. I suspect it's probably got the makings of a classic.
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on 3 October 2016
It's well put together and the photography is great. Myself and my partner have now attempted a few of the walks. We are both in our twenties, fairly fit and have plenty of hiking experience. I find that the book has some good ideas for walks, but the actual walk descriptions can slightly underplay the difficulty of the terrain and, probably more importantly, the amount of time suggested for any of the walks we have done have been hugely underestimated. For example - this weekend we tried the suggested route for Beinn Eighe (walk 11), given as 10.5 hours. The approach alone took over 5 hours through endless bog, never mind that there are 5 peaks to reach after this. We had already decided we would split the walk over two days, but had we tried it in one day we likely would have been coming down in the dark, or even benighted. The coire and the mountains themselves were amazing. The walks in these books are definitely 'Challenges', but in my opinion they are borderline impossible to complete in the times given, unless you are running. My advice to anyone would be to add at least 2 or 3 hours on to any suggested time in the book, make sure you've researched the route, have other maps on hand and be well prepared to split many of these walks over 2 days, whether suggested by the books route or not.
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2012
This was my Christmas book from my wife. I read it on Christmas Day in Halifax and with a cold. This book cut through all that and had me wanting to go and chase round its routes.

This is another excellent production by Dan Bailey and Cicerone. It describes 50 long and challenging routes in Scotland that walkers who know Scotland will want to do. If you don't yet know Scottish walking then this is a good introduction to the terrain, but you'll need to be fit to do the routes, and you'll need some decent route finding finding ability and mountain sense about weather and conditions. These are not comfortable or short walks- they're for people who are committed to their walking.

The key for me about this book is that its choice and balance of walks is excellent, and that the descriptions of routes are clear and accurate. The routes are not merely described, but he knows the routes and mountains well enough to give some flavour and texture to the bare facts of times and distances. I can see myself being able to achieve some outstanding objectives of mine more easily as a result of this book.

If you like the Scottish Mountains this book will have you wanting to get up there again. It's a useful addition to Scottish mountain literature, and if you like walking these hills then this book is the current star.

It will sit well alongside previous classics such as Hamish's Mountain Walk (Non-Fiction) Scotlands 100 Best WalksThe Munros: Scottish Mountaineering Club Hillwalkers' Guide The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland: A Guide for Mountain Walkers The Big Walks: Challenging Mountain Walks and Scrambles in the British Isles (Teach Yourself) Exploring the Far North West of Scotland: A Walker's Guide to the Hills, Glens and Coastline of Wester Ross and Sutherland Dan Bailey seems to be becoming the Richard Gilbert of our days. These old books are good, but I have to say the improved production of the newer guides is an improvement on what has gone before.

The inspiration to climb the mountains remains, and Dan Bailey's writing encourages it further. Highly recommended to others.
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on 13 June 2015
Do not buy this awful book. The routes are just way too long for the average mortal. Take Arran for example - it has one route and that is a rather hefty round of Glen Rosa - total distance 15.5 miles with guide book time of 10 hours. Other books split the walks down into much smaller and more manageable mountain days. The book is also lauded for suggesting different approach styles - but if you don't kayak so what! The pictures are good but if you realistically want to plan mountain days in Scotland really forget this book.
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on 22 October 2016
this was bought as a present so cannot give it true rating
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on 4 October 2012
bailey's latest confirms my impression that he is now the u.k.'s number 1 hillwalking writer. as the years go by, i find i refer less and less to my "guidebooks" and more and more to memory, as repeated experiences grow mountains of scottish hill terrain in the minds eye. the books i still find myself occasionally perusing - ralph storer's " 100 best routes " ( cos its good ) and mcneish's "the munros" ( cos all the munros are there ) are now firmly supplanted by bailey's "great mountain days " and its predecessor "scotland's mountain ridges". not only does bailey supersede storer's little gem, he has helped reverse the recent trend i had become vaguely conscious of, whereby i had gotten into ( an admittedly enjoyable ) comfort zone of repeating favourite old routes from memory. bailey's creative and uncontrived linking of routes that i had often hitherto regarded as separate days has this year got me thinking. allied to often superb photography and lucid mapping, i have been recently inspired to "curse the author" in much the same way as i often did with storer's book nearly 25 years ago. this book is a good motivatory tool. most of us need that from time to time.
if you were to own one book on scottish hillwalking then this should be it!
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on 13 November 2016
Fabulous book, bought for a present . The photos are great but time will tell whether the info is as good as expected? Had to buy a second copy for someone else who had spied it!
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on 5 September 2012
Finally a book of real mountain challenges covering Scotland.
Instead of your regular Scottish mountain guide books which always give the same old routes up each individual mountain, I find this one gives so much more. The challenges cover multiple summit days, multiple summit overnight challenges, and long days to remote mountains. Like Dan Bailey's previous guides it's fresh, he's once again found the challenges no one else thinks of.
The fantastic cover shot basically shows you what type of days to expect from this book and having done 3 of the challenges so far myself I can say they're top drawer.
I found the maps and descriptions very simple, informative and excellent for planning. The whole book is full of Dan Bailey's photography with plenty of cracking pics on each challenge that really do inspire you through the planning stages.
Get this book and you'll definitely visit wild places you haven't stepped in before.
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