Thursday, 14 June 2012

Day walks in Snowdonia: Review

The latest volume in Vertebrate Publishing's Day Walks series,sees seasoned writer and photographer Tom Hutton putting  Eryri under the spotlight and offering twenty circular routes which,the publisher claims, are suitable for walkers of all abilities.

First off, I must say I like the pocket size format. Roughly the size of one of the Climbers Club's slimmer guidebooks. This is very much a book you can take with you into the hills as opposed to a coffee table tome which might well be fine for planning a trip but useless out in the field.

Tom follows a detailed introduction covering all bases,with a four part series of walks divided between northern, central and the less frequented south Snowdonia area. The fourth so called 'bonus' section offers a couple of classic easy scrambles in the north of the park.

Each walk opens with brief resume of the route followed by a list of the key high points. A more detailed description is offered before the directions are given which are broken down into sections. Obviously,walkers using the guide would be expected to supplement the guidebook with a map and compass/gps. If a thick hill fog descends on the walker en-route then even the most detailed walking guide will be found wanting!

The guide uses 125.000 OS maps to detail each route. For those using the appropriate OS map, each route can be easily copied from guidebook to map, thereby ensuring that even in poor conditions,the experienced walker should have a good idea at what stage they are on the walk.

Even for grizzled mountain veterans,Tom's guide offers some interesting variations on old favourites which may have been walked in part before,or as a variant.

The guide is liberally sprinkled with the author's evocative photographs and will certainly stimulate some great adventures I'm sure. An excellent little book for the visitor to north Wales who is perhaps less familiar with this beautiful area than their more regular haunts. Given the obvious labour of love that Day Walks in Snowdonia has been for Tom, I'll even forgive him as the current chair of BMC Cymru for calling Yr Wyddfa-Snowdon- the highest mountain in England and Wales !

John Appleby

Day Walks in Snowdonia is available from Vertebrate Publishing