Got a birthday coming up? This IS the one to get or ask for!!
(Pic - Presda Press)
What have we got? A beautifully presented book, printed on high quality paper, with excellent photos. The reports are a good combination of factual reporting of each trip, nicely mixed with enough local colour and information to add value and interest to each one.
Each trip is accompanied by a decent outline map and the writers have also given clear information on average tidal flows & direction, tide times relative to the local tidal port, and even contact info for the relevant Coasties as well as weather forecast times. That alone makes the book a worthwhile purchase and could save having to research all that data from charts and pilots. (The book doesn't replace the relevant charts and pilots though, so you might want to refer to them anyway.)
The various trips are graded according to severity, and distances and likely timings are included as well.
What else? Interspersed through it are little snippets of info - a story of being caught in a gale; info about seals and otters; gannets and surf landings. Makes what would otherwise just be another guidebook (albeit a very good one) into a much more interesting read.
The Appendicies contain some good stuff, including some planning tools, and a usefull glossary of Gaelic words.
The routes run clockwise from the Mull of Galloway right round to St Abbs Head, taking in some well-known classics like the Garvellachs and some perhaps more challenging routes like Cape Wrath.
It's by no means an exhaustive summary of every possible sea trip and there are still lots of "hidden jewels" waiting to be discovered (or for others to find, if you have your own "special, secret" places). The authors have included general info on suitable camping places on the longer trips - personally I'd have prefered this not to be inlcuded, but it is helpful I suppose.
Any negatives? Well, it's such a lovely book that I may have to buy another copy as a "working copy" . Some of the routes are potentially exposed and although the authors do draw attention to that, it's perhaps worth remembering, especially if the area is new to you.
Mike Buckley - February 2005