Anyone who's ever done any walking in Scotland (and, indeed, just about anywhere in the world) will have come across Cicerone Guides for walkers. Meanwhile, that same audience will almost certainly have encountered the writing of Ronald Turnbull, whether in one or more of his many books about walking in Scotland or the Lake District (or further afield), or in magazines such as Lakeland Walker, TGO and Trail.
You'd expect the combination of Ronald Turnbull as author and Cicerone as publisher to come up with something pretty special when they turn their attention to Highland Perthshire, and we approached this book with high hopes. We were not disappointed. This is an outstanding little book, though whether "little" is a wholly appropriate description of a volume offering over 300 pages is open to debate.
A number of things have combined very auspiciously to make this such a good book. One of them is the choice of area. "Highland Perthshire" covers a large chunk of the middle of Scotland, yet it does so almost by stealth. As a result, the 80 walks detailed within the book extend from the southern side of the Cairngorms to include most of what is traditionally known as the Southern Highlands. Highland Perthshire is in many ways a sleeping giant, and more than a few readers will find the double page map showing the wide spread of the included walks something of a surprise.
The 80 walks are divided into ten geographical areas, from "Bridge of Orchy" in the north west, to "Perth and Dunkeld" in the south east. The walks themselves range from low level forest and riverside walks which never exceed 600m in altitude, to full blown mountain walks (including the ascents of 42 Munros and 22 Corbetts). Some are very remote, including those around Ben Alder, while some are much less so, including one that takes in Dunkeld and Birnam Hill, and another (the only non-Highland Perthshire walk within the book) that ranges from Perth city centre to the remarkable viewpoint of Kinnoull Hill. The section on each walk comes with outline facts, a set of detailed instructions, and excellent full colour mapping; and many are also illustrated with the author's inspiring and highly evocative photographs.