Monday 6 July 2020

Book Review: The Big Rounds by David Lintern

David Lintern's first book is an unusual guide to three hill running challenges in the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands, each named for the originator of the route. The best known is probably the Bob Graham Round which goes over 42 Lake District tops with a distance of 98.8km and an ascent of 8,160 metres. The first continuous run was way back in 1932. The Paddy Buckley Round goes over 47 Snowdonia tops and is 100.5km long with 8,700 metres of ascent. Although Paddy Buckley came up with the idea and prospected the route the first continuous run was by Wendy Dodds in 1982.  The Charlie Ramsey Round takes in a circuit of 24 summits around Glen Nevis and Loch Treig, including Ben Nevis. It's 92.8km long with 8,800 metres of ascent and was first run in one go in 1978.

The Big Rounds has details of the routes plus the practicalities involved, with suggestions for runners and walkers doing them over several days, but it's far more than a guidebook. There are stories of how each round came to be and fascinating interviews with many of those involved including Paddy Buckley and Charlie Ramsey plus Wendy Dodds, Nicky Spinks, Helene Whitaker, Jasmin Paris and more. And the book is packed with the author's mouth-watering photos.

Even in my long-gone hill running days I never attempted anything as challenging as these routes (the Lakes 4 3,000' peaks was my longest hill run). However I have done the Ramsey Round as a backpacking route. It took me four days - this was during my walk over the Munros and Tops and I was very fit. David Lintern suggests a six day itinerary, which sounds good. Reading his description of the route makes me want to go and do it again.

All three Rounds would make superb backpacking trips, whether done in single trips or a series.

The Big Rounds is inspiring and informative and a highly recommended addition for any hill lover's library.

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