The 2003 Edition of this guide comes in an attractive weather-resistant cover, conveniently sized for slipping in and out of your pocket. The illustrations have gone up market, all in colour and quite alluring. The route description is accompanied by strip sections of the 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey map, excellent for problem-solving in the immediate locality. Do go armed with the map, too, in order to keep in touch with the wider picture.
Terry Marsh tidied up the details of Wainwright's route, particularly where the Old Master was content to wander along the road for a while or to stroll across private property. This guide covers some interesting alternative sections, especially at the Lake District end, where Terry Marsh tempts the more ambitious walker to leave gentle Grisedale for the lofty summit of St Sunday Crag or to scramble on Helvellyn's Striding Edge.
Terry Marsh has walked in many far-flung parts of the world as well as all over Britain, but from him you will learn the value of living in the present, of pottering, dangling your feet in streams, visiting village pubs and churches and exploring historically interesting sites. He has an eye for the wild life, and he writes in consciously crafted poetic prose. You will notice this in the first few lines of his Introduction, where he dips imaginatively into the life and times of a green beetle, a spider and a nesting wren. This Introduction includes a survey of the route, a useful feature particular for walkers from abroad or those less familiar with the geography of Northern England. Using this Introduction and the appropriate maps you will quickly have an overview.
The guide is divided into 3 sections:
the route description West to East with Marsh's commentary on geology, history, natural history and features of industrial and sociological interest
- the route East to West with page cross references to points of interest in section (i).
a handbook and accommodation guide. The accommodation list is unusually detailed, and was updated in March 2002. The handbook has all the information and more, that you need for planning your adventure. There's a list not only of doctors but also of dentists!
Terry Marsh is a sensitive soul. He thrills at the sight of a Lake District golden eagle; he grieves at leaving the Swale behind after walking the length of its dale; he spots a "convention" of ladybirds on Carlton Moor. His route-finding is nonetheless precise, so this is your choice of guide if you enjoy the company of a skilful writer with a deep appreciation of the countryside you are passing through.
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