Scottish Rock Volume 1 is hot off the presses. A 12 year labour of love (by author, Gary Latter) is a concept hard to relate to. We spend 12 months making a film, and that seems like a huge amount of time. The idea of spending 12 years is quite staggering.
First impressions? I confess to loving guidebooks, and this guidebook is veery much about my own stomping ground. But nevertheless, this is a book that truly whets the appetite; so many places I still haven't been too. So many great looking routes that I haven't tried. And I suppose that is the main job of a good guidebook: to open your eyes to new places and new adventures.
Climbing guidebooks in Scotland have a strange history. The rather exclusive and stuffy 'Scottish Mountaineering Club' is truly just a club, predominantly male, predominantly old, predominantly Scottish, but for the last three decades it have produced the definitive climbing guidebooks to Scotland. These are quite good, and certainly comprehensive in terms of coverage of routes. The complete set of guides to the country will set you back at least £150.00. The style of writing is quite quirky too. The tradition up here is for guidebooks to give you only a little information, so that your adventure remains 'intact'. None of the Rockfax style diagrams that illustrate every feature on the route.
Over the years I have often reached a crag scratching my head and wishing I had packed a dictionary. 'Start at a ubiquitious looking rowan tree' was a description for my route in Glen Coe. Even when I fathomed out what ubiquitous meant, I realised that what might at one time have been 'alone', might now have developed many neighbours since the guide was written.
That is enough of a digression. Back to Gary's book. It looks fantastic. If you are just an occasional visiting climber to Scotland then this is the one book to buy. Even if you own all the SMC guides, this is still worth getting hold of. Lots of new additions, and of course a second opinion on how to find the start of your chosen route...