Top outdoors books for a great summer read
I have chosen some of my favourite new books as great outdoors summer reads. Take a look at the pdf of my Sunday Mail column or read the copy below.
A summer of good reads
Eight great new books with an outdoors theme to inspire and intrigue you.
Downhill From Here: Running from John O’Groats to Land’s End
Edinburgh-born writer and film-maker Gavin Boyter is approaching his middle 40s and wondering what his life was all about. A Scot living in London, single and with no kids, he was living for the job and the dwindling hope of a career in film.
He had been a runner all his life and started to think about what an ordinary runner might be capable of. He decides to run from John O’Groats to Land’s End and make a film of it – and also write a book.
Gavin was neither the first nor the quickest to achieve this feat but Downhill from Here is his real triumph, written with wit and personal depth.
Cycling Climbs of Scotland: A Road Cyclist’s Guide
Publishes May 4, £8.99, www.amazon.co.uk
Simon Warren, the author of bestselling 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, has turned his attentions to the hills and valleys of Scotland.
He has picked dozens of the best cycling hill climbs from those on weather-beaten islands to others on snow-covered mountains, and all amid superb scenery.
The book could be a tick list challenge for keen road riders or a guide to where to tackle the toughest climbs in different regions of Scotland.
Walking the Song
Legendary Scottish climber, walker, traveller and author Hamish Brown writes a personal account of his many journeys and adventures over six decades.
From his “dancing days of spring” to his still active life, walking the Song is more than an autobiography with numerous great stories written as short articles.
Running Hard: The Story of a Rivalry
£17.99 hardback www.sandstonepress.com
For one brilliant season in 1983 the sport of fell running was dominated by the two talents of John Wild and Kenny Stuart. Wild was an incomer to the sport from road running and track, while Stuart was born to the fells, but an outcast because of his move from amateur to professional and back again.
Together they destroyed the record book, only determining who was top by a few seconds in the last race of the season. Running Hard is the story of that season, and an intimate look at the two men by the author, Steve Chilton, himself a keen runner and qualified athletics coach.
A Mountain Before Breakfast
£9.99 at munromoonwalker.com
Writer and walker Alan Rowan first completed the Munros at night and write about this feat in Moonwalker. Next he set his sights on a new mountain list, the Corbetts.
Cue more midnight dashes across the country and more tales of madness and mayhem. There are car crashes and roads that don’t exist; wild pigs and staring goats; the temporary loss of both feet; supermodel posties, giant chickens and snake-infested hillsides, to mention a few funny and inspiring tales.
Scottish Lighthouse Pioneers, Travels with the Stevensons in Orkney and Shetland
In the 19th century, the Stevenson engineers pioneered a series of amazing lighthouses around the coasts of Scotland. The author of the book, Paul A Lynn, reveals the fascinating story of the Stevensons both as engineers and as family members.
The book will appeal to lighthouse enthusiasts, lovers of the Scottish islands, anyone with an interest in maritime history and all those who enjoy a human story.
Publishes May 17, £9.99, see Amazon.
The Excursionist is a novel by JD Sumner and tells the story of newly single Jack Kaganagh, who wants to visit 100 countries and join the Travelers’ Century Club before a landmark birthday. But Jack is not that well suited to travel.
The book is a satirical and darkly comic story that addresses some big questions in life and may well inspire people to jump on a plane and jet off somewhere new.
Rowing for my Life: Two Oceans, Two Lives, One Journey
£19.91 (hardback) see Amazon.
Author Kathleen Saville, who holds two Guinness World Records for her achievements, tells the courageous story of accomplishing the near impossible and rowing with her late husband, Curt Saville, across the Atlantic Ocean and then across the Pacific in a 25ft homemade rowboat.
These feats shaped her and jump-started her life, but they also exposed the fault lines in her marriage. Later, when her husband died in a hiking accident, she was able to draw on the inner strength she had developed during her rowing challenges.