It is arguable that Scotland did less badly that the rest of the UK during the sweeping cuts to the railway network in the second half of the last century, and especially in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. Having said that, in some parts of the country you don't have to go very far to find obvious evidence, often in the form of disused abutments or a road bridge over nothing, that there used to be more railway lines than there are now.
"Walking Scotland's Lost Railways: Track Beds Rediscovered" by Robin Howie and John McGregor is a lovely book that helps bring many of these disused railways back to life. Not as railways, obviously, but as routes to be followed by walkers. The book is beautifully produced and highly illustrated with modern colour and period B&W photographs. Plus maps. A book like this cries out for high quality maps, and those on view here certainly don't disappoint. You probably need detailed Ordnance Survey maps to actually trace some of the old railway track beds on the ground, but the large, clear and colourful maps in the book give you everything you need to plan your walk. They are also very nicely tied into the practical instructions given in the illustrated text. These are very much intended to guide your footsteps on the ground, with clear descriptions and directions that highlight issues like river bridges that no longer exist or ways around housing estates that have been built across old lines. The result is a book that is attractive enough and readable enough to inspire: while also being down-to-earth enough to act as a (slightly physically unwieldy) pocket guide. We suspect that many readers will be guided by copies of the relevant pages from the book - which also avoids the risk of ruining it in rain.
The book is divided into three geographical areas. "The Borders" gives you the most miles of track bed and extends into South Lanarkshire and Dumfries & Galloway. "Fife, Clackmannan and Kinross" gives a striking variety of walks, from the post-industrial to the sublimely coastal: most notably a number of walks that together take in most of the coastline of eastern Fife. Meanwhile, "South-Central Highlands" covers old railways in Perthshire (and especially Highland Perthshire) and what we've never actually seen called Highland Stirlingshire, but could have been. As an example of the coverage, in this final part, a number of shorter walks have ben strung together to allow you to walk from Dunblane through Callander and Lochearnhead to Crianlarich: with branches to Killin and from Balquhidder back through Crieff to Perth.
This is a book we'd wholeheartedly recommend, and which we expect to be making practical use of ourselves.