LFTOer Book Review: Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

Book Title   Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Volumes One and Two
Book Author  Tom Prentice
Book Publisher Mica Walkers Guide (distributed by Cordee)
ISBN   978 -0-9560367-1-1 & 978-0-9560367-0-4
Price   �11.95 each
Reviewer   John Turner

These two "pocket" sized walking guides cover the vast and beautiful area of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

Volume 1 covering 60 walks in the western areas (including the Loch Lomond area itself), and volume 2 covering another 60 walks in the areas to the east.

The pair of guides are covered within a single review. I know the area well and I have completed some of the walks covered in the guides and I purposely walked two routes out of each volume as part of the review.

The size of these "pocket" guides is about 5.25 x 3.5 inches (180 x 120 mm), small enough to fit into most outdoor jacket pockets and trouser cargo pockets.

The downside of this "pocket sized" book, is that the page, text and map detail is quite small, and some might strain to read it - especially in poorer light.

The text could benefit from being larger, bolder or a different or heavier font.

There are basic map type illustrations for each walk, but again the size of the maps may make difficult reading for some.

The maps do not contain contour information, shaded colours do give some assistance for interpretation.

Each walk includes details of which Ordnance Survey and Harvey's map to use, in addition to a detailed descriptive text describing the route of each walk.

The descriptive text used in conjunction with the shaded maps gives a reasonable impression of the route, and what the walker will find along the way.

The guide instructions do advise the use of supplemental OS or other maps, but I would like to reinforce the advice that routes should be planned and walked using OS or Harvey maps - or other online printable mapping facilities.

Besides the easier and shorter routes, the guides do include some routes on Munros, Corbetts and more difficult mountain terrain.

And besides the odd comment in the descriptive text - there is no warning or advice relating to mountain hazards and dangers, competent navigation skills, weather and winter conditions or mountain experience.

Descriptions of walks include six-figure grid reference for start/finish, and a statement of distance and estimated time to complete each walk.

There is no information relating to total height gain of the walks, or what walking speed or fitness has been used to explain how the given durations of the walks were established (I'm assuming Naismith's Rule).

A basic description of terrain and grade (difficulty) is also given. A full explanation of grading is provided towards the front of the guide.

Difficulty and length of walks vary between "easy" (mostly low level waymarked routes on level terrain) to "strenuous" (ascent of high hills or routes on pathless hills).

The walks offer routes from 2-3 miles up to 10-12 miles over different types of terrain.

Each guide also provides general information about the different 'gateway' areas, information on facilities and attractions for each area and transport and how to get there.

The guides include a section of photographs and description of the flora and fauna of the area, and also includes plenty of photographs to support each walk and whet your appetite.

A basic explanation of Gaelic and Scots terms is also provided.

Overall these are exceptionally good guides, containing accurate and valuble information and options of walks to suit all.

I'd recommend anyone visiting the Loch Lomond and Trossach National Park area to consider looking at and buying these guides.

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