Thursday 10 January 2019

Outdoor & Nature Books Review 2018

There were many excellent outdoor and nature books published last year, many of which I haven't got round to reading yet (and may never do so - there's only so much time). Here are brief reviews of the ones I have read (or started to read) and enjoyed most, in no particular order. Some were printed books, some e-books.

There's Always The Hills by Cameron McNeish

My long-time friend Cameron McNeish's 'autobiography of sorts' is entertaining and packed with stories of the hills and outdoors people. 

In The Land of White Death by Valerian Albanov

I have to admit I'd never heard of this book before. It was given to me as a birthday present by my partner after she was enthralled by a play based on it she saw at the Edinburgh Fringe. It's the gripping story of a disastrous and tragic Russian arctic expedition in the early twentieth century told by one of the only two survivors.

The Lynx And Us by David Hetherington

This is an important and beautiful book. The author makes an excellent case for reintroducing lynx into the Scottish Highlands. The book is full of lovely and dramatic photographs of lynx by Laurent Geslin.

Bothy Tales by John D.Burns

Entertaining stories of bothies and adventures by the author of The Last Hillwalker Full of wry humour and over-the-top escapades with a touch of gentle sadness. I read it in camps on the GR5 and felt it an ideal book to have with me.

High and Low by Keith Foskett

Long distance hiker Keith Foskett's latest book tells how he dealt with depression whilte walking the length of Scotland. It's an honest account of a challenging time for the author. It's not a depressing read though. There is much humour and the overall feel is life-affirming and positive. I wrote the foreword and was very pleased to do so. 

The Nature of Autumn & The Nature of Winter by Jim Crumley

Two books by a great nature writer with his usual mix of personal recollection and detailed descriptions. Makes the seasons come alive.

On the Trail with Boots McFarland by Geolyn Carvin

Witty and amusing cartoons about long-distance hiking by a long-distance hiker. Every walker should recognise themselves somewhere!.

Trekking the GR5 Trail Through the French Alps by Paddy Dillon

My guide on the GR5. I probably read most of it several times. Informative and very useful.

Scaling the Heights: Measuring Scotland's Mountains by The Munro Society

Full of fascinating details about the Munros and measuring mountains. 

Northwest by Alex Nail

A sumptuous book packed with magnificent photographs this can be looked through again and again. The words are good too, with some interesting adventures in the NW Highlands described. I wrote the Introduction and I feel honoured to have done so.

Mrs Moreau's Warbler: How Birds Got Their Names by Stephen Moss

The fascinating and intriguing story of why birds have the names they do. Some are really surprising! A mix of natural history, history, etymology and literature all tied together entertainingly and informatively.

Snow The Biography by Giles Whittel

Everything you could want to know about snow: the science, the avalanches, the stories. Informative and enjoyable.

Our Place: Can We Save Britain's Wildlife Before It Is Too Late?  by Mark Cocker

A passionate and important book that covers the story of our conservation bodies and laws, what has gone wrong (and for nature to be in the state it is much has), and what can and should be done. Sobering, anguished and serious it should make anyone think about the future of wildlife in Britain.

The Secret Life of the Mountain Hare by Andy Howard

The author, a wildlife photographer, says that mountain hares became an 'engulfing passion' and it shows in his wonderful pictures. Every aspect of hares lives is shown and described. Lovely!

Scotland A Rewilding Journey by Susan Wright and Peter Cairns

Another important book packed with tremendouts photographs Scotland A Rewilding Journey covers every aspect of rewilding and argues well why it is essential that this takes place. 

A History of Scotland's Landscapes by Fiona Watson

This was a Christmas present and I've only dipped into it so far, but enough to know that I'm going to enjoy reading it and also learn a great deal. I'm looking forward to it.


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