Time for a book review.
I took a bit of a punt on this book. I have a couple of bookshelves full of books on walking and especially on walks in Wales/Brecon Beacons. This appeared to be “just another one” from a cursory glance but on further examination it looked a bit more interesting than the norm and so I found myself reaching for my wallet (I have a serious weakness for book buying and my house is testament to that vice being filled to the brim with them)
So, what’s the story? This book contains a series of walks (no really?) in Wales but all with a history angle or connection. The walks are spread throughout the Principality but especially North and South Wales for obvious reasons. I would consider at least half of them to be off the beaten track and lesser known than the usual “guidebook” fare. This in itself is refreshing as I cant count the number of books I have, all writing about the same walks or variants of the same.
Kevin Walker (obvious from an early age what his passion was to be!) manages to be both engaging and informative. The walks are laid out well with good map representations (non OS but never the less good and clear). The start of each walk/chapter has a series of useful information including a summary of the terrain, the distance, especial hazards, OS maps of the area and transport links etc. This is followed by narrative that mixes a description of the route with historical highlights and points of interest. The book almost reads like, well..erm a book, if you see what I mean. Even if you werent going to walk the routes, the detail, the pictures and the history are all really interesting.
I liked the book so much that I have spent the past 6 months doing half a dozen of the walks contained within it covers. It has opened my eyes to areas I thought were well trodden or at least not worth revisiting, especially in the Brecon Beacons. In fact Kevin himself says much the same and that was partly the reason for writing the book. My favourite in the book is the walk entitled “Walking with Legionnairies” which I did a few months ago and have included a write up on this blog (https://backpackbrewer.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/roman-roads-stone-circles-and-wild-water/)
The book is “pocket sized”, priced at £12.99 and made out of that vaguely satisfying shiny paper with a stiffened cover. I have read it several times and as described above used it as both a “good read” and as a basis for some interesting walks. I reckon there is enough in the book for even the casual reader and so I can recommend it highly.