British Hills and Mountains, by J. H. Bell, E. F. Bozman and J. Fairfax-Blakeborough. 8 vo.; pp vii +115, with 99 plates, three in color, index and maps. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons (London: B. T. Batsford, Ltd.), 1940. Price $3.00.
This is a most useful picture-book of the mountains of the British Isles, a well-written and informative guide by mountaineers for the climber and walker. It is divided into two main sections: the mountains and hills of Scotland, by Doctor Bell; and those of England and Wales by E. F. Bozman, in which latter section J. Fairfax-Blakeborough describes the Pennines.
Ben Nevis (4406 ft.), the highest British mountain, possesses on its N.E. side the grandest cirque of precipices in Britain, and the winter view is deceptively Alpine. The Grampians, Cairngorms and the peaks of Skye afford evident fascination to pedestrians as well as climbers. “The finest rock-climbing expedition in Britain is the traverse of all these peaks [the 33 summits of the main Cuillin ridge of Skye] in one way, an undertaking which involves more than 10,000 ft. of ascent.” The range is 7.5 miles long and exceedingly narrow and difficult in parts.
Scafell Pike (3210 ft.) is the loftiest point of the Lake District and the principal English mountain, in a region which arouses one to excitement comparable to the thrill of the great Swiss centers, and one has but to look at the illustration of climbing on the Innominate Crack of Great Gable to be certain of its outstanding quality. “The climbs on Scafell compare favorably on a smaller scale with the Chamonix aiguilles.”
Snowdon (3560 ft.) overtops Scafell, and the mountains of Wales give a feeling of grandeur and desolation. The loftiest peaks of the British Isles are near the west coast, backed by lesser ranges. Adverse weather can make them as dangerous as the Alps, and their mystery in varying atmospheric conditions will continually attract.