Scotland’s Mountain Ridges
Scrambling, Mountaineering and Climbing – the best routes for summer and winter
A rich mix of summer scrambles, technical rock and challenging winter climbs on Scotland’s ridges. Covers the popular classics and obscure gems, from the remote Cairngorms to the splendour of the Cuillin. With inspirational photographs, the book is both a celebration of the landscape and a practical route guide.
Ridges are epic. Graceful carved walkways slung between summits, twisted spines of stone – these can be the most beautiful of mountain landforms. With elegant lines and giddy exposure, ridge climbs emit a powerful siren call, drawing us out onto the rocks. Life on the edge has a special quality, born of the contrast of empty space all around, and intricate detail in close-up. The crests are strangely irresistible.
Scotland’s ridges are among the finest mountaineering lines in the country, every one a unique adventure. The variety of these routes reflects the breadth of the mountain experience: a rich mix of summer scrambles, technical rock and challenging winter climbs. This book covers both the popular classics and some obscure gems, aiming to celebrate these thrilling climbs as much as to document them. Along the way it explores landscapes of magnificent diversity, ranging from the remote desolation of the Cairngorms to the seaside splendour of the Cuillin, the great trench of Glencoe to the surreal exhibitionism of the far north. The chosen selection spans the grade range, with routes to suit all levels of ability. Whether an earthbound hillwalker or an accomplished climber, Scotland’s ridges cannot fail to stir your imagination.
FeaturesAuthor Dan Bailey
Cover Paperback - Laminated
Published 28 Mar 2006
Dimensions 24.0 x 17.0 x 1.5cm
Adventure Travel Magazine, May/ June 2006
'A definitive guide to one of Scotland's most appealing graphical features, this will inspire anyone with a yearning for verticality. Steering away from being just another munro baggers handbook, this is definately not a walking guide, focusing rather on winter mountaineering and summer climbing and scrambling routes, it encompasses all the best Scotland has to offer the prospective ridge tamer. Each of the 48 routes included in the guide is graded for difficulty, and features a navigable detailed route description. The in depth information, route maps and topos are what will be useful on the ground, but it's the photography that will get you out the door with your bootlaces still undone. Why bother with Europe when you eye's are opened to these gems.'
Scottish Mountaineer, May 2006
One quality that any author would wish for their book is that people would want to pick it up, and that once in the potential reader's grasp, there would be a desire to turn from page one to page two and so on: Dan Bailey's book has this quality. i lost count of the number of people - climbers, walkers, strollers, couch potatoes - that felt the need to pick this book up and leaf through its pages, muttering favourable comments, interspersed with oohs and aahs!
Why? Perhaps because, like a number of Cicerone's guides, it is very well presented? It surely is! Or that it is visually stimulating? Certainly its pages are stuffed with evocative and inspirational colour pictures that force the fingers to turn to the next page. Or maybe its that there is something in the subject, in the steeply twisting Scottish ridges that compels our eyes, then our arms and legs, to want more.
This guide is for mountaineer's rather than walker's, with a distinctly 'uphill' bias! For example, the A'Chir ridge on Arran, though described traditionally first, is given an alternative start up Pagoda ridge, a Severe rock climb. This approach including rock climbs, and some ice climbs, continues throughout the book. It gives a sense of progression from walks to scrambles to climbs, with the best way up to the ridge and along to its summits dictating the route, an approach which this climber thoroughly approves of!
In short, this is a fantastic little book, which selects the best of Scotland's ridges, the best ways and days of enjoying them. Whether an enthusiastic young walker looking to move onto steeper ground, or a more experienced climber wanting to re-visit the scene of former triumphs, this book will prove stimulating to both and deserves a place in the bookshelf.
Cameron McNeish/tgo July 06
It was the late W.H. Murray who once suggested that to earn the freedom of mountains one must be able to climb on both rock and snow. "Those who hold Bach to be the greatest composer do not for that reason refuse to hear Beethoven," he wrote.
"Likewise, the hillwalker should not deny himself the pleasure of rock climbing, nor the cragsman of snow climbing."
There is much wisdom in Murray's comment but it's a wisdom that tends to buck the current trend of specialisation. Few of today's climbers would admit to being a mere hillwalker and many hillwalkers would never consider harnessing up with a rope to climb a rock face.
But perhaps the golden age of peak bagging is in decline, perhaps today's hillgoers are searching for a broader experience of our mountains. If that is the case then Dan Bailey's book on Scotland's Mountain Ridges has appeared at exactly the right time.
This isn't really a book about ridge walking in the Mamores or Fannichs sense - this is predominantly a book of climbs and scrambles.
All the favourites are here: the Dhubhs on Skye, Curved Ridge on the Buachaille, Ledge Route on the Ben, the A'Chir ridge on Arran, the traverse of Suilven, all mixed in with some fairly serious climbs: the Cioch Nose of A'Chaorachain, January Jigsaw on the great Rannoch Wall of the Buachaille Etive Mor, Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis, the Great Ridge Direct of Ardgour's Garbh Bheinn and Mitre Ridge of Beinn a' Bhuird. These latter routes could never be described as scrambles, neither could some of the winter ridges that Dan recommends, like the Aonach Eagach or the Mullach an Rathain pinnacles of Liathach. In that sense this book smashes through the demarcation line that has long-existed between walking guides and climbing guides to offer a bit of both - users should take care they are not biting off more that they can cope with when choosing a route.
Lavishly illustrated, each route description is accompanied by maps and topos and a lot of good advice on accommodation and travel.
For those who are willing to take their eyes off the summits occasionally this book offers a feast of mountain delights and is a suitable testimony to the wealth o ridge wandering and climbing to be found on Scotland's hills.
Irish Mountain Log, Summer 2006
'For newcomers to Scotland, this book will reveal a whole new world waiting to be explored. For old hands, it will serve to remind them of just how much the Highlands have to offer.
There is no doubt that this book will prove of most value to mountaineers. Highly recommended.'
Walking Wales magazine / Issue 2 2006
'When this new book from Cicerone landed on my desk my heart leapt. Its large format pages are filled with colour photographs and OS maps. It can not fail to inspire anyone with a mountain spirit.
For the ageing rock climber easing up on their grades but keen on classic climbs, this book will see you into retirement and beyond - for up and coming scramblers or adventureous walkers it will open up a vast new horizon of mountain experiences. A superb book.'
The Scots magazine / March 2007
'I have always thought that if mountains were not meant to be climbed they wouldn't have grown ridges, what can be more natural than wanting to scale them? Included, as you would expect, are classic traverses of Aonach Eagagh, An Teallach, Liathach, the Black Cullin Ridge, along with lesser-know gems - Marathon Ridge on Ben Lair and Northeast Ridge of Sgurr Ghiubhsachain.
Dan Bailey is a man who knows and loves his hills. To those who claim his book will merely encourage yet more feet on to our fragile mountains, he has this to say "If more people were inspired to visit the Highlands then perhaps their protection might move farther up the nation's agenda."
And speaking as someone who rarely reads guidebooks, Scotland's Mountain Ridges certainly inspired me.'