Walking in the Southern Uplands – Book Review

Many walkers in Scotland will be familiar with the range of Cicerone walking guides, and this recent book is a great addition to the family.

There’s a wealth of walking ideas with 44 routes covering the whole of the Southern Uplands, from Ailsa Craig to North Berwick Law to the Cheviots.  This is a great book to help plan a day out from the Central Belt, or to give suggestions for a weekend away in southern Scotland.

The book is also an entertaining read, full of interesting facts and anecdotes about the geology and the history of these Borderlands and the people who once lived here.  They may be empty hills now but these were once populated areas, echoing with the voices of drovers, reivers, soldiers, shepherds and poets.

The guide follows the usual Cicerone layout with clear details of the walk at the start, a general overview and then the route description.  The maps are useful enough for giving a general direction while on the walk, but no substitute for having a proper map with you.  That means that you really do need to check the route on a map before you go and make sure you’re aware of the path to follow, because some of these routes cover long hill days out, including some very challenging expeditions into remote country.  From my own experience of using the book, I would urge everyone to use the approximate timing of the walk as very initial guidance at first, until you are able to compare the timings with your own pace and the amount of rest stops you need to take.

The only very minor criticism of the book is that there are only 9 walks out of 44 which are under 7 miles.  While a few of the routes do have shorter variants, they aren’t necessarily that short.  The book may have found a wider audience if it catered for those who aren’t always looking for a major day out.

Published by Cicerone Press



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