The Best Outdoor Books

The Best Outdoor Books

This year I have been lucky enough to discover some fabulous outdoor books. So I thought, with the gift giving season nearly upon us, that I would put them together here in a handy reference guide just in case you still have some presents to buy.

First, I’d like to share one of my recent discoveries. My mum visited a few weeks ago and bought with her a little gem of a book. “Murray’s Handbook for Travellers in Northamptonshire and Rutland” was published in 1878 and features information and suggested itineraries for visiting these areas.

This book has fascinated me and I plan to follow some of Mr Murray’s routes next year. I have a deep rooted interest in my local area and I enjoy learning about the places that I grew up, but I also love the author’s little observations. This book may be well over a hundred years old, but some things never change: “…the town of Wellingborough, overrun by shoemakers, is not pleasant” (Sorry to anyone from Wellingborough, I couldn’t resist). It will be interesting to refer to this book when we’re out and about; it contains so much information and history about the town and surrounding villages. I managed to find a reprint of his London Handbook (see Amazon widget below), but it’s worth checking out second hand book shops for other volumes.

So back to some more conventional choices!

My favourite book of the year was Go! by Tobias Mews. The reason that I loved it so much was the fact that the ethos behind it is very similar to my own. Plus, it was filled with useful advice and loads of ideas to help everyone get out and be more adventurous. Often, I find outdoor writers seem to lack the understanding that not everyone can just up and leave whenever they feel like it. This book, however, appreciates that people are busy and have limited time, so I found it much more applicable to real life.

I also greatly enjoyed The Swiss Army Knife Book. This comprehensive guide features 63 outdoor projects and teaches you how to make everything from tools, to cooking implements and shelters. This is a great book for anyone looking to take on some bushcraft projects with their children over the coming years.

A recent release is The Art of Fire: The Joy of Tinder, Spark and Flame by Daniel Hume. This is an enjoyable, if meaty book and tells the story of man’s relationship with fire. It is also choc full of tips to help you create and sustain the perfect fire. It’s a great book for campers and bushcraft fans alike.

If you prefer your books with a more humorous slant, then Father, Son and the Pennine Way: 5 days, 90 miles. What could possibly go wrong? is the one for you. It follows Mark Richards and his son’s walk along the Pennine Way in 2016. This isn’t a guide book, the walk merely provides the backdrop to what is really a tale of a father/son relationship. Often humorous, often inspiring, this is a great choice if, like me, you harbour thoughts of completing this challenging route (I won’t be taking my dad though!).

The book on my Christmas list is Anna McNuff’s The Pants of Perspective. I’ve wanted to read it for ages, so hopefully I’ll get round to it soon. It follows Anna’s 3ooo kilometre running adventure through New Zealand. I’m already quite familiar with the story, but it’ll be nice to curl up with an inspiring book on these dark, winter evenings. It might even give me a kick up the bum to get out and take on my own challenges.

My final choice is Wild Guide Scotland: Hidden Places, Great Adventures and the Good Life. I haven’t spent half as much time in Scotland as I want to, and so I love reading about it whenever possible. We will get back there over the coming years, and when we do I want to have a whole list of adventures ready to tick off. Whether you want the best wild swimming spots, wildlife havens or ancient history, this beautiful book has all the information you need to make the most of this beautiful country.

Do you have any outdoor books on your reading list?

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