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on 6 September 2013
This struck me as being a bit like a chat in a pub: engaging and entertaining but with the need to take some of it with a pinch of salt (for example the dangers of Mickle Fell were subject to journalistic hyperbole).
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on 4 September 2009
I was hooked even before he arrives in Scotland where I live. Hostile cows, the person with whom you would least like to share a YH room, and the "explanation" for total lack of rationale. Admittedly as an ex-touring cyclist , I couldn't be more of a target audience : I loved his points system for road kill, which as a bored cyclist inspired me to poetry (but only because stoats rhymes with John o'Groats). Does Amazon quote a Garmin GPS system as most often purchased with this book because of the terror Muir inspires when he gets lost? You'll have to read the book to find out.
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on 2 July 2010
I have read 2 books recently on hill walking this one and a fictional tale of the West Highland Way, both have inspired me to get out there and do more trekking up and down the peaks of our lovely Island.
I have read Josie Dew's travel books in the past and if you're a fan of hers you'll love this book,however I prefer Heights of Madness though as its all on your doorstep and do able,whatever county you live in just go out and get on the roof of it this country is beautiful... Really good book witty,honest and well written and caused a few giggling fits especially Mr Twit who Jonny stumbles across on his travels Myself and my colleagues think we know him either that or there's 1 in every town...
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on 5 April 2010
A light and engaging read that made me realise how little I know about the parts of the UK away from the usual destinations for climbers. Jonny Muir climbed the highest peak in each of the old counties of the UK the hard way, with nothing but a bike to take him the 5000 or so miles he had to travel. He kept his sense of humour throughout with a sharp eye for the absurd,the eccentric and the quirky people and places he encountered on the way, while also revealing glimpses of his personal life as he pedals. I'll certainly look out for his next adventure!
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on 29 November 2011
There are many books out there claiming epic journeys of hill walking in continuous journeys or connecting them by cycling - as well as the accounts of long distance walks throughout the UK, such as Two Degrees West: An English Journey. I reckon I have read a large proportion of them and, unfortunately, quite a few fall into the trap of recounting how the author climbed a hill and then climbed another one. This inevitably gets repetitive and unexciting - this book is one of those.
He clearly must of seen Paul Clements' account of doing all the county tops of Ireland in his book The Height of Nonsense - or else it would be an extraordinary coincidence that the book titles are so similar. Clements' book is wry, witty and insightful and this book does not match that.
Then there is the claim that it is done in a continuous journey. When Hamish Brown says his journey is continuous it is literally so. For example Hamish's Mountain Walk (Non-Fiction) He didn't do what Muir does and disappear off to Edinburgh for a week, using motorised transport. Maybe not as bad as John Merrill's claim in Turn Right at Land's End to have walked the entire coast of the UK in a single journey and then have a month long break (and, at least, he had valid medical reason for doing so)
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on 13 January 2011
Often suspicious of this type of travel book in that they can be dull. But Jonny Muir's writing skill, (he's a trained journalist), his wry observations and his readiness to share his inner thoughts make you warm to the man. But it's not really a walking book or a cycling book. In fact I don't think he evens mention what type of bike he was riding and his knowledge of cycle maintenance is clearly lacking. It's really about the psychological side of adventuring - the mental anguish and the exhilarating highs and just buggering on and doing it - and it's this that make it so enjoyable. It's no coincidence the book he carrys with him is Apsley Cherry-Garrard 'The Worst Journey in the World'

By the time he'd got to the Midlands, I was urging him on to the finish and wanting to know whether it was all going to work out with girlfriend Fi. I can't imagine many people ever wanting to repeat the trip - but if you're that way inclined look out for Jonny's Cicerone guide to The Uk's County Tops - due out later this year.
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on 20 August 2013
I have read many a 'going on a tough adventure' story over the years and had become bored of the genre. There are only so many sentences on trying to find a B&B one can read before the eyelids become heavy. However, I stumbled across Jonny's blog which shares the title of this book and enjoyed it enough to investigate his writing further.

Heights of Madness is a cracking read and at 99p the Kindle edition is a steal.

Jonny is a skilled writer painting vivid pictures of the peaks upon his journey, spiced up with a welcome smattering of personal insight, a little local history and amusing anecdote. The journey kicks along avoiding many of the pitfalls and cliches of this genre. I effortlessly breezed through the book in a few hours and found myself really rooting for Jonny and his quest. Buy this book if you have ever turned a pedal, or unfurled an OS map in anger, you will laugh out loud at Jonny's antics and learn things you never thought you might want to know about our little island home.
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on 26 April 2011
I really enjoyed Heights of Madness. Jonny Muir's success in reaching the highest points in each of 92 counties in Britain in 92 days is an impressive achievement, even if - as he admits - it was somewhat mad, and nearly lost him a lifelong partner! The book is an easy and pleasant read, and extremely funny a lot of the time. As well as being entertaining it improved my geography quite a bit too. Some of the climbs Jonny describes are really impressive, but the highest points in one or two counties are actually quite low. I was pleased that I had actually done two of the climbs that he describes. The book is a pleasant mix of travel, humour and human relationships, and I would thoroughly commend it as a good, easy and anjoyable read.
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on 10 November 2013
It's the first time I've written a review (usually can't be bothered!) but this deserves one! It's brilliantly written, human, emotional, witty, self-deprecating and with unfailingly accurate details (I know many of the places in the book well & live in talybont on usk - how he has captured the feel of the village in one overnight stay I'll never know!)

Jonny Muir captures the highs & lows of his experience perfectly - hope you write another soon!!

From Nigel (a keen walker & cyclist who has thought about but never done such an epic undertaking!)
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on 19 November 2013
i thoroughly enjoyed the book. loved the trials and tribulations of the authors efforts to visit the highpoints of every county in uk
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