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There is real joy to be had from the realisation that the book you hold in your hands is set to become the new definitive work of reference on the subject it covers. This feeling is especially keen when the subject in question is one that is very close to your heart. This reviewer should start by confessing to owning a considerable number of books about Scottish mountains. People have been writing them for decades, and there are some real classics out there, both in terms of stories about climbing and enduring works of reference.
In terms of that indefinable something that really brings the mountains to life, Chris Townsend's "Scotland" is little short of a masterpiece. The author's acknowledgment notes, almost apologetically, that the book was "over six years in the writing": and the reader can only imagine how much time and hard work went into producing a book that runs to a huge 557 pages of text, maps, and fine mountain photography. The end result is most certainly not a rucksack guide to be referred to during an ascent: but it should be considered an essential companion for anyone spending time in Scotland's mountainous areas, which for the purposes of this book extend to include the Southern Uplands, Harris and South Uist as well as everything you'd expect to see covered. Whether you are thinking of exploring Scotland's mountains for the first time or have been doing so for thirty years, this is a book we'd highly recommend.
Chris Townsend starts with a 50+ page primer on Scotland's mountains that covers everything from weather and accommodation to geology, caring for the mountain environment and, of course, mountain safety. He then moves on to cover individual areas in detail, with maps, detailed descriptions of individual mountain ranges, and recommended walks, scrambles, climbs and in some cases ski tours. Long distance paths within or crossing areas are covered, and the effect of each section is firstly to inspire you to explore, then give you specific suggestions about how you might do so. Each section rounds off with coverage of access, bases, maps and guides. Meanwhile this superb book concludes with appendixes on Gaelic and Scots mountain words; an extensive bibliography; and the current lists of Munros and Corbetts.