Cicerone – The UK’s County Tops

Front cover

There’s something quite intriguing about people’s lust to climb up to highest points. Whether it be Mallory uttering the famous answer to the question “Why do you want to climb Everest?” with “Because it’s there”, or the thousands who climb Snowdon each year, people seem to want to reach the peak to say they’ve done it.

So Jonny Muir’s new book about how to get to the highest point in 91 of the UK’s counties seems to have struck a chord.

It starts with the following words:

It would make a perplexing quiz question. What do the tundra plateau of the Cairngorms, a back garden on the southeast fringe of London and a military firing zone in the Pennines have in common? Answer: they are the locations of three of the UK’s historic ‘county tops’.

No hill list is quite like this one. No other is as diverse or, frankly, as wonderfully ridiculous.

And so I was hooked.

Each county features at least a double-page spread of information on the highest point, and in most cases a map and walking guide of how to get there. As usual with Cicerone, the maps are OS (and thus excellent), and the information is laid out in a simple to read block format.

I live within walking distance of Leith Hill, Surrey’s highest point, but had never been there. (I don’t count myself amongst the ‘Because it’s there’ brigade) I set off with the book one day and, starting from the area which the map covers, trotted up the hill to see how accurate the book was. Well, it was spot on.

So, what more can I say? If bagging Munros or just great views are your thing then this book would make a great bedside read. And at £11.96 it won’t break the bank.

SUMMARY: Cicerone’s excellent County Tops is a good read, and very informative if you actually want to visit each site. I have no plans to visit many of the sites, but still found it very interesting. The maps and descriptions are great, and the layout very easy to read.

 Price: £11.49
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