Books: Lake District Walks & More Lake District Walks (Pathfinder Guides)

Lake District Walks (cover) More Lake District Walks (cover)

I have found the pathfinder guides to be generally very good at providing interesting and varied walks in the various areas of Britain (I own and have used nine of them). These two books covering the lake district provide a good introduction to some very enjoyable walks in that beautiful region. The first book (Lake District Walks) is the best and will provide an excellent introduction to those not overly familiar with the area. The second (More Lake District Walks) is starting to push the boundaries of the area a little and I personally didn’t find the suggested walks as compelling – having said that, the Newlands Horseshoe is one of my favourite Lakeland walks, and the second book also includes Scafell Pike – the highest mountain in England – which is obviously a Lakeland classic.

The route descriptions are generally pretty reliable, and having extracts of ordnance survey maps rather than line drawings makes the walks (usually) easier to follow. There are however a couple of minor niggles – sometimes the route descriptions leave a bit to be desired – in some places there’s plenty of detail, but in others where a bit more detail would be nice, none is provided; the descriptions of how to get to the start points of the walks could also be improved.

Overall though, both books provide a good selection of routes with generally clear directions and can be recommended. Just make sure that you still carry a full map and compass (and know how to use them).

Books: Country Walks Around London

Country Walks Around London (cover)

Country Walks Around London by Geoff Garvey and Leigh Hatts

I spent two years living in London while studying at London Business School. Stuck out in the ‘burbs of Metroland (Willesden Green) it was good to escape to the countryside for the occasional walk. One of the things I found remarkable about London was that, despite the number of people living in the Greater London area, it was still possible to get away from the crowds while remaining within the M25 boundary. This book helped guide me to some excellent walks, all serviced (at the time at least) by public transport – useful since I didn’t have a car.

Now sadly out of print, but still available used from Amazon resellers (and presumably other second-hand book stores) I can strongly recommend this book. While the maps are a little basic, the descriptions are (or at least were) excellent; the authors have clearly walked the routes, and they have chosen some good ones. Just remember that the book was published in 1998 so conditions on the ground may have changed since then.