The Magic of Skye (A Constable guide)

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07This book has become a classic more than 50 years. Apart from conventional guidebooks plus the tables of Scottish 3000-foot mountains, probably not one other other effort is more commonly located on the shelves of those that walk and climb within the Scottish Highlands. The late Walter Poucher became a talented photographer who produced many books regarding the hills and mountains of Great Britain. This book would have been a departure from his usual style. Instead of giving brief route descriptions, he recounts his adventures inside the mountains of Skye – by far the most rugged inside British Isles. There are also descriptions of coastal walks and also other scenic attractions, appropriate for days if the weather and the state of your respective legs prevents a vacation to the high tops. Many visitors to Skye end up returning all the time, spellbound because of the lure on the island. Perhaps such magic cannot ever be captured in words or pictures, but Poucher’s work is magnificent. His prose is usually ponderous and might seem dated – writing with nailed boots on – but there are a few bravura passages, and the man has endeared himself to generations of walkers and scramblers, for however the writing can be old-fashioned, they recognise inside a love for the spot which burns steadily within them. The only grounds for not awarding five stars is that it requires a conventional guidebook alongside it. (I recommend Ralph Storer’s Skye:Walking, Scrambling and Exploring; J. Wilson Parker’s Scrambles in Skye; as well as the Scottish Mountaineering Club’s District Guidebook: The Islands of Scotland.)

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