Cairngorms bothy book

Bothies cover - 2 cairngormsAfter a longer than planned gestation period, the second of my guides to Scotland’s bothies – Bothies, Huts & Howffs in the Hills – Cairngorms National Park is now available.

Taking the same format as the first book in the series – Bothies, Huts & Howffs in the Hills – Perthshire & Angus – it is a comprehensive listing of open bothies, unlocked huts and howffs within the Cairngorms National Park. It includes popular shelters like Corrour and Ryvoan alongside less well known refuges like Coyles Cottage and the Garrocher Hut with its fine wooden privy! Chapters cover Lost Bothies, Royal Bothies and the famous Secret Howff.

The book is available as an ebook and paperback from Amazon.

If you are planning a trip into the mountains and glens of Angus or Perthshire, Bothies, Huts & Howffs in the Hills – Perthshire & Angus offers ideas on places to stay in the great outdoors.

 

Secret Scotland

Cover1Welcome to Scotland… Not to the Scotland of glossy tourist brochures, airbrushed landscape photographs, coach parties, visitor centres and woollen mill cafes, but to a nation of secret, treasured places, free of crowds and tartan trappings.

Here, we veer off the well-trod tourist trail and wander down backroads and byways to reveal the country’s unusual and offbeat attractions, quirky curiosities and hidden gems, secluded and less well-known spots that await discovery.

Of the 50 attractions listed in the book, most can be visited at any time of the year, day or night, with no booking required or admission charged.

So, whether you want to wish upon an ancient stone, spend the night in a Royal lodge or hermit’s bothy, drive an alpine road, climb a manmade hill, spot gnomes all at sea, descend into a pagan canyon or see where oil rigs go to die, pack a bag and enjoy the journey…

Available now in paperback from Amazon

Secret Scotland for a taste of Secret Scotland

Angus Coastal Trail

cover03 copyAfter devoting the summer of 2012 to the Angus Glens, I spent much of this year exploring the county’s shoreline, hiking the coastal path between Broughty Ferry and Montrose and discovering some real gems along the way. The fruits of these labours have now come to fruition in the publication of Angus Coastal Trail.

The linear route is 68km in length, although there are plenty of detours and distractions as the trail progresses north.

From the Firth of Tay, the mouth of Scotland’s longest river, sandy beaches, backed by a gently rolling grassy hinterland, give way to more rugged and dramatic scenery.

Beyond Arbroath, spectacular cliffs, interspersed with craggy coves, secret caves and unique geological features, rise from the insistent ebb and flow of the tide. Beyond the cliff top village of Auchmithie, the coastline reaches its highest point at Red Head, a towering sandstone promontory.

Carlingheugh Bay, near Arbroath

Carlingheugh Bay, near Arbroath

The terrain softens again, the forgotten hamlets of Ethie Haven and Corbie Knowe lying at the southern end of Lunan Bay, a sweep of golden sand. However, a more exposed and inhospitable stretch of shoreline leads round the coast to Scurdie Ness lighthouse, standing guard over the entrance to the county’s busiest port, Montrose.

The trail can either be walked in its entirety or the various sections can be undertaken as day walks.

Fully illustrated, Angus Coastal Trail includes clear mapping and a wealth of background history, geography and wildlife information, plus practical advice on accommodation, public transport and places to eat.

The book is currently available from Amazon for Kindle and Kindle apps. Click here. However a paperback is on its way soon…

Walking in the Angus Glens

Angus Glens coverThe summer of 2012 dispensed some of the most unpredictable – and wettest – weather I have encountered for a long time in Scotland. Despite this I managed to achieve a long term personal goal – to produce a book of walks covering the Angus Glens, my favourite part of the country.

Living in Dundee, the glens are on my doorsteps. I began walking there as a child, both with family and through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, and have an enduring passion for the area. Over the years I have explored the hills and glens in all seasons and never fail to be inspired by the varied scenery and rich heritage of the landscape.

Hill and valley walks abound and a clutch of mountains, including several Munros, provide more challenging excursions for those seeking high ground and some of the best views in eastern Scotland. While the Munros are well known, I hope this book will introduce walkers to many lesser but equally satisfying peaks.

Coire Fee and Glen Doll

Coire Fee and Glen Doll

After many days wandering the mountains and valleys with notepad and camera in hand and countless hours tapping away at the computer keyboard with a ready supply of coffee close by, the end result is now at hand – Walking in the Angus Glens was published by Cicerone in June. The book covers the five main glens – Isla, Prosen, Clova, Lethnot and Esk – and contains 30 routes ranging from mountain ascents to linear hikes following the ancient Mounth highways linking Angus and Aberdeenshire. Lots of info on the book, including a sample route, can be found here.

Highland Hermit Brought to Book

Our popular book Highland Hermit is now available in paperback form. It sold well in Kindle format but following a number of requests we have now published the title in traditional book form. It is available from Amazon priced at £4.99 plus shipping.

The book can also be ordered from CreateSpace by clicking here.

On the same topic, Ghosts of Barlinnie is also available in paperback form, again priced at £4.99 plus shipping, from Amazon and CreateSpace.

The content of both titles is exactly the same as the Kindle versions although all images are reproduced in black and white.

West Highland Way Round

Delighted to announce the publication of my latest title for Kindle and Kindle apps – West Highland Way Round.

The ebook describes a 99km circular walking trail through the Scottish Highlands, starting and finishing in Glen Nevis, near the UK’s outdoor capital, Fort William.

The route follows the existing West Highland Way between Fort William, Kinlochleven and King’s House before heading east to join the ancient Road to the Isles at Rannoch Station. From there it heads north to Corrour Station before roaming through wild, uninhabited glens. Read more…

Lochs and Reservoirs – little gems in the landscape

My latest ‘big project’ is a book of 30 loch and reservoir walks in Scotland for Sigma Press and along the way I have discovered some real gems, places I had never visited before but wish I had found much earlier. Here are some of my favourites to date with external links to sites offering more info…

Birnie & Gaddon Lochs, Collessie, Fife – It is hard to believe that Birnie & Gaddon Lochs were once part of an industrial site. For many years this was a quarry from which sand and gravel were extracted. When quarrying finished in the late 1980s, two small lochs were created and the area was replanted with native saplings. Now it is a haven for birds and wildlife. Click here for more info.

Harlaw Reservoir, near Edinburgh – One of the many reservoirs nestling in the folds of the Pentland Hills, there is a good path looping round Harlaw and a wee visitor centre at the start. Click here for more info on this easy to access spot close to the nation’s capital city.

Lochan Spling, Aberfoyle – Lochside trails abound in the Trossachs and a real gem to be found lurking amidst the trees of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park is Lochan Spling. Accessed from the popular tourist town of Aberfoyle, a track loops around the water and there is plenty of interest to see along the way, including some fascinating wildlife sculptures. Click here for more info.

Uath Lochans, Kincraig – Four small pools of tranquil water located deep in Inshriach Forest form the Uath Lochans, one of the most scenic spots in Strathspey. Carved out during the Ice Age, the captivating marshy pools lie in the shadow of Farleitter Crag, a dramatic escarpment of rough rock rising high above the canopy of ancient pine and tall fir trees. Click here for more info.

Gartmorn Dam, Alloa – Gartmorn Dam’s natural beauty belies its industrial past. The reservoir was created in 1713 as a source of power for water-driven pumps designed to combat flooding in local coalmines. At the time it was the largest artificial body of water in Scotland. Today, clues to this industrial past can be found around the reservoir. Click here for more info.

The book is due for completion by the end of the year and should hopefully hit the shops sometime in 2012. After all the walking it is now time to site down and do the write-ups. Will keep you posted!

Isle of Rona

Located to the north of Raasay, the Isle of Rona was once home to a thriving crofting community, then only sheep. Now, with two residents and a landscape returning to the wild, it makes an ideal getaway for those who savour solitude. Read my feature on this remote island in the current issue of the excellent Scotland Outdoors magazine (opens as a pdf file).

Scotland Outdoors – Rannoch Moor

Check out the Spring 2011 issue of the excellent Scotland Outdoors magazine (published March 7) for an article I wrote on Rannoch Moor. The piece is a portrait of this, a true area of wilderness.

Having written and filed the feature, I was inspired to explore the moor some more and I set off tomorrow to hike from Bridge of Orchy to Corrour. While crossing the moor itself is, due to the terrain, a virtually impossible task, I plan to follow the West Highland Way from Bridge of Orchy to Kings House, where I will spend my first night.

I will then follow the track east to Rannoch Station, skirting the edge of the moor, and pick up the old Road to the Isles for the final leg to Corrour via Loch Ossian. Fingers crossed for good weather and three days of excellent walking!