Most people with any interest at all in Scottish mountains over the past couple of decades will have come across the books of Ralph Storer. He has an admirable ability to reinterpret and reinvent our mountains for each successive generation of walkers, and many of us have cut our Munro-bagging teeth on the back of Ralph Storer's guides and, thanks to him, discovered many of the wilder corners of the best small country in the world that might otherwise have remained unknown to us.
In recent years he has been perhaps best known for his series of area guides which together make up "The Ultimate Guide to the Munros". So what, exactly, is "Baffies' Easy Munro Guide?" Baffies is the Entertainments Convenor of the Go-Take-A-Hike Mountaineering Club, a man who is allergic to exertion, prone to lassitude, suffers from altitude sickness above 600m, blisters easily and bleeds readily. This first guide in what will become a series covers the area traditionally known in guides to Scottish mountains as the Southern Highlands, and describes in detail easy walking routes up over 25 Munros. The author assures readers that the routes chosen require no rock climbing, no scrambling, no tightrope walking, no technical expertise whatsoever: simply the ability to put one foot in front of the other...and repeat.
But while the premise of the book has a humorous side, and while it is easy to see that Ralph Storer really enjoyed writing as Baffies (which comes from the Scots for "slippers"), what you find within the covers of this slim volume is a truly outstanding guide book. Each walk is well mapped, and the descriptions and excellent colour photographs mesh together to provide clear and easy to follow guidance. There are also the obligatory sections on subjects such as access, weather and safety.
In embarking on his series of Baffies' guides, Ralph Storer has in many ways come full circle. This reviewer's first encounters with Scottish mountains were guided by a 1991 reprint of a book by Ralph Storer first published in 1987. It is arguable that an important market for Baffies' guides comprises people like me: whose advancing years and receding fitness mean that the scale of challenges have to be measured. These guides will also, however, prove ideal for those just starting out in the hills, and those walking with families who want the assurance they will not come face to face with an "airy" ridge at some point in their day.