Go North - a Highland Scrambles North guidebook review
At Girls on Hills we love heading to new, far-out places to run different trails and link-up scrambles, so the release of this new guidebook is super exciting - inspiration for lots of potential mountain running adventures in a part of Scotland that, for us, isn't too far away for a weekend hit!
We asked our Operations Manager, Hannah, a summer Mountain Leader, Rock Climbing Instructor and keen scrambler, to take a look at the guidebook and see what she thinks.
Sunset on Suilven, with the scrambly eastern ridge in the distance
What Hannah says...
At first glance this new guidebook from the Scottish Mountaineering Press (SMC) is certainly very appealing to the eye, with an artistic cover and clean layout throughout. The cover painting of Liathach by Christopher Smith-Duque is captivating and makes me dream of running and scrambling along the ridge before I have even opened the book - a good start!
The guide strikes a perfect balance with a fresh look (compared to the previous guide) whilst including all the relevant supporting information and a vast selection of routes. Detailed are a whopping 199 routes all across the wildest section of our wee island, including the entire west coast from Glenfinnan to Durness, but also Rum, the outer Hebrides, and Caithness.
Raeanne on the Rum Cuillin
Personally, I appreciate a good key, and this book meticulously breaks elements down into easily digestible chunks of information. The layout is extremely user friendly. The decision to use a colour coding to separate scrambles from easy climbing is helpful when selecting the right objective for the day.
The extensive introduction includes both pertinent logistical and safety information in a concise fashion, but also additional interesting background into the fascinating mountaineering history, geology and wildlife of the Northern/Western Highlands. My particular highlight was the geology section, particularly for the detailed map (love a good map!) but also for what to expect when it comes to scrambling on different rock types.
Being on the chunky side, it's not really something i'd carry with me on the hill, but these days it's easy to take a few photos and leave the hardcopy at home.
Keri and Christina on a Liathach Traverse
Lizzie on The Horns, An Teallach
The use of a rack/rope is discussed, which I think is appropriate. Interestingly though, the use of a helmet seems to be a topic that is bypassed. I think this is a point that warrants careful consideration, given that for some folk, this guidebook could be their first foray into mountaineering from a hillwalking background.
Jess on the Forcan Ridge, Glen Shiel
Overall, I found this a thorough and comprehensive guidebook with plenty of good images which have whet my appetite for adventures in areas i've not yet explored. Here are a few link up ideas I would like to try as a part of a future skyrunning trip 'Up North'!
Some link-up ideas i'd like to try:
1) Loch Lochy Hills Link Up: Route 1 -> 3 (options of extending to add the Munro’s) 2) Applecross & Coulin Link Up: Route 50 -> 48* -> 46 (rough ground, slow going adventure!) 3) Applecross & Coulin Link Up: Route 55 -> 56** -> 53 (summiting Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl)
4) Beinn Eighe Link Up: Route 82 -> 79 -> 81 (big mountain feel adventure) 5) Gairloch Link Up: Route 91 -> 88 -> 87 (inclement weather alternative to link up 2/evening hit) 6) Rum Link up: Route 161->178 (a traverse of the Rum Cuillin with a bonus start!)
The walk-in to Stac Pollaidh.
Lots of good reasons to 'Go North!'