Sunday, 11 November 2012

Book Review - Pub Walks: Walks to Cumbria's Best Pubs

In my experience, small pocket walking books are generally rubbish.  They are often too small with tiny drawn maps - poor relations to proper Ordnance Survey ones - not properly researched, in black and white with no photographs and most are simply lifted from other larger books.

So I must say I came to the latest in Northern Eye Books' Top 10 Walks series with little enthusiasm.  This would be another one bad pocket walking books... wouldn't it?  Well, I started to begin hoping the old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover" wasn't true - as the cover provided a tantalising introduction to the potential of the book.  If I could find that pub, I'll be ready and waiting to go on a walk!

Opening the book up, and I found extended covers - both at the front and the back - which can be used as book markers to hide away the pages of the book not pertinent to the walk.  A touch with I liked.

The author of this little book is Vivienne Crow - and if anyone can pick ten of the best walks to Lake District  pubs, then Vivienne is a great person to carry that out, what with her in-depth knowledge of the National Park.  Looking at the map showing the location of the pubs, there's a good spread across the Lake District; some to the north, some to the west, and, of course a cluster in the honey pot areas around Grasmere, Ambleside and Coniston.  Nothing around the Ullswater area though - does that mean there are either no top pubs around there...?

So what of inside the book?  Black and White?  Walks lifted from other books?  Line drawn maps?

Well, no... no... and no.

The book is beautifully designed with a two column per page layout affording an easy read of the detailed walking routes.  Having done several of these walks - or variations on them - I can attest to the detail in the route descriptions.  Interspersing each of the main walking route is additional notes and comments in italics - these give more info about features to look out for and historical information - and it's rather like Vivienne is walking along with you, chatting to you as you go.  The maps are proper Ordnance Survey Explorer ones, and are shaped so that only the walking route and the immediate surrounding areas are shown in the book.  The walking route is depicted with bold rustic orange lines which are impossible to miss.

Photography in the book is simply stunning - and there are six sources of images credited in the book; one of which is the impressive Stewart Smith - always a favourite of ours.

I also liked the details about each of the pubs featured in the book.  Ok, so the real ales provided can change, as can food serving times, but it is refreshing to not have to return to the net to find out this info,

So, overall, Pub Walks: Walks to Cumbria's Best Pubs is a pocket walking book which has changed my views on pocket walking books.  Colourful; bold yet well designed; littered with interesting images; proper OS mapping and original routes.

In short, a book every Lakeland walker should find a place for on their bookcase - especially at £4.99.

Pub Walks: Walks to Cumbria's Best Pubs by Vivienne Crow, published by Northern Eye Books.
Walks Around Britain rating 9/10

Order it now online from Amazon here.