Book Review 2018 – Part XIX

I like a good adventure book, whether it’s cycling, rowing, running or walking, and here we have another really good book about a long distance walk.  In this book Chris Townsend walks the watershed of Scotland.

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A watershed is a theoretical line where any rain falling on one side will end up in one sea, and rain falling on the other side will end up in the sea off the opposite coast. In theory, if you’re walking a watershed you will never cross a river or stream. The Great Divide in America is the most famous and is walked or cycled by thousands of people. Scotland’s is a bit more difficult to follow, and if it wasn’t for the laws allowing for access to all land, it wouldn’t be possible, or at least very difficult. As it was, the walk was difficult in places without paths.

The walk went through many areas that me and my wife cycled through in the summer of 2017, which always adds to a book. Chris also discusses land issues in Scotland, the right for access, conservation and the proposed re-introduction of Lynx or Wolves. He also writes about invasive species, as the Victorians were notorious for bringing back plants and animals that didn’t have natural predators, or pushed out natives plants, trees or animals. He is also not a fan of shooting as a sport, which I can go along with.

Chris is a very experienced walker with a number of books under his belt, along with many years of experience testing outdoors equipment for a living. This brings me to the only thing about the book that I didn’t like. He’s too experienced, too good, clued up. Some of the best adventure books that I’ve read are where the people involved are a bit clueless at the start, for example Cheryl Strayed (here). Despite this, I really enjoyed this book and will probably look out for his others.

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