Book Review: Exploring the far north west of Scotland
(A walker's guide to the hills, glens and coastline of Wester Ross and Sutherland)
by Richard Gilbert, 144pp, £12.95 (Cordee, 3a De Montfort St, Leicester, LE1 7HD)
Reviewed by Perkin Warbeck
Gilbert of course will be more familiar to TAC readers as the librettist who penned such memorable lines as:
- My object all sublime I shall achieve in time / To make the punishment fit the crime / The punishment fit the crime
- They'd none of them be missed / I've got a little list, and
- Why... who are you? / Who asks this question?
Well okay, the last is not very famous but it was the only line my pal got to sing in The Mikado. In partnership with Arthur Sullivan, Gilbert has created a treasury of light opera second only to Mr Andrew Lloyd Webber. Now, in a move which will rock the Savoy to its foundations, he has chosen to turn his back on the greasepaint and write about hillwalking. Fair play to the big man, let's see if he's up to it...
Shapewise, the book is quite rucksack-friendly. It has 45 colour pictures which are distinctly Poucherian. Skies are blue, grass is the shade of green Tip O'Neill imagines Kilkenny to be. Unnamed figures lurk in the foreground like Fenwick and the Good Companions in Coire Lagan. In short, none of your Baxterisms. "When is this lunatic going to get round to actually reviewing the book?", I hear you ask.
Never. The book is exactly what you would expect. A series of prosaic descriptions of some of the best walking in Scotland. A sample of the first ten adjectives from a randomly chosen page should give the feel: private, wet, dangerous, boggy, easy, hummocky, excellent, pleasant, superb, relentless, ruined. You get the picture? Yes we see.
Not that this is a slag of the book. Next time I am camping in the pleasantly superb non-private council campsite at Ullapool, ETFNWOS will probably be in the rucksack. It's just that it's not going to be opened between now and then.
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