Back in the spring the SMC published Inner Hebrides and Arran, a comprehensive guidebook covering the climbing from Canna in the north to Arran in the south. Islands described range from the well-established venues of Rum and Eigg, to newly developed cliffs on Canna, Muck, Coll, Tiree, Islay, Jura and Cara. Authored by local experts Colin Moody and Graham Little, the book includes descriptions for over 2500 routes, many of which have not appeared in print before.
The guide has been produced in A5 format, which allows for larger photographs than the current SMC guidebook series, and a two-column layout for easier reading. The production team led by Tom Prentice and Susan Jensen have done an outstanding job in laying out the book, which is well illustrated with attractive maps, exceptionally clear crag photo diagrams and inspiring action photographs. This complements the carefully researched text, and the complete package just makes you want to book the next ferry, grab your rock boots and chalk bag, and head out climbing!
From a winter perspective Arran is the main interest, and the crags are described and illustrated in a clear and informative way. Winter climbing on Arran was a blank on my personal map until April last year when Stuart MacFarlane persuaded me over to try a new route on Beinn Nuis. Our trip was a memorable and fulfilling experience, and made me better appreciate the outstanding winter contributions made by Alistair Walker, Dave Saddler, Scott Muir and Graham Little himself over the last couple of decades. I was particularly struck looking up at the The Riddle in Core Dangean. Steep and uncompromising it is a compelling winter line but it looked far more challenging that its given grade of V,6. Like most of the harder winter routes on Arran, I suspect that it is unrepeated.
Well done to Colin and Graham for writing such an informative and inspiring guidebook, and hats off once again to the SMC for publishing a handsome volume to this lesser known part of our remarkable Islands.