The books published by Cicerone Press have long been firm favourites with anyone who loves hills, mountains and remote places, both in Scotland and far beyond it. With Cicerone, you know exactly what you are going to get, right? High quality and well researched walking routes presented beautifully in a form that can usually be slid into a fleece pocket. We recently commented very positively on the first of their books that broke away with their traditional, fairly plain covers. And then "The Hebrides: 50 Walking and Backpacking Routes by Peter Edwards" dropped through the letterbox with an uncharacteristically loud thump.
This is the first, or at least the first we have seen, of an entirely different approach by Cicerone to a walking book. The things that Cicerone always did best continue to be very well done indeed. The fifty walks set out here have been meticulously researched and well written. And the presentation is as clear and attractive as ever. Actually, it is better than ever. The main reason for this is one of scale. "The Hebrides: 50 Walking and Backpacking Routes by Peter Edwards" is a Cicerone guide on steroids. Gone is the "fit in a pocket" approach. This book is much larger, very much larger. Think large novel or sub-coffee table in size and you are getting there.
What this means in practice is more and bigger (excellent) photographs, longer descriptions and bigger and (as a result) clearer maps. The fifty walks that are included extend from the northern tip of Lewis in the north, to Islay in the south, and to St Kilda in the west. The walks featured are on popular and well known islands such as Skye and Mull, as well as on smaller and less well known ones such as Canna, Muck, Colonsay and Tiree. Also included are walks on islands that take more effort to reach than simply hopping on a CalMac ferry, such as Scarba, The Garvellachs, Ulva and St Kilda. The result is a book with something for everyone, and however well you know the Hebrides you'll find places here that are new and interesting. At one level this is a book that will inspire people to don their boots and turn their faces to the west. At another, the scaling up in size means that it is also a pleasure to read in its own right while firmly ensconced in an armchair, perhaps with a glass of whisky at your side.