Our bestselling adventure books of 2020
- Tuesday 15 December 2020
Ranked one to ten, these are Vertebrate's adventure books that have won the most awards, have featured most in the press, have been most recommended by leading sportspeople and have been most loved by you this year. If you're still looking for Christmas gifts for an outdoor adventurer - whether they're into climbing, walking, running or swimming - then you can't go far wrong with these ...
1. Swimming Wild in the Lake District
Swimming Wild in the Lake District by Suzanna Cruickshank is an informative and inspiring book for both new and experienced wild swimmers, exploring the larger lakes in the beautiful Lake District National Park.
The book explores secluded wild swimming locations in the tourist hotspots of Windermere and Derwent Water and takes you to the tranquil hidden gems of Bassenthwaite, Crummock Water and Devoke Water, with the emphasis on taking time to enjoy the stunning surroundings.
The Climbing Bible by internationally renowned climbers and coaches Martin Mobråten and Stian Christophersen is a comprehensive guide to help you train effectively to become a better climber.
The authors have been climbing coaches for a number of years. Based on their own extensive experience and research, this book collates the best European training techniques into one book with information on how to specifically train for the technical, physical and mental performance factors in climbing – including endurance, power, motivation, fear of falling, and much more.
3. Hard Rock
Hard Rock is the best of British rock climbing.
Featuring over fifty crags and sixty-nine routes in England, Scotland and Wales, it epitomises all that is great about traditional climbing in Great Britain.
Ken Wilson’s first edition of Hard Rock was published in 1974 and quickly established itself as the definitive representation of British rock climbing. Ken’s vision for the book’s format – part guidebook, part literary celebration and part coffee table visual showcase – is one that has been much copied but never equalled.
The ability to climb cracks is at the core of a climber’s craft. Crack Climbing by Pete Whittaker provides a single point of reference for all crack climbing techniques, regardless of the grade you climb.
Pete is widely regarded as one of the best crack climbers in the world, having made dozens of cutting-edge first ascents and hard repeats, including the first ascent of Century Crack (5.14b) in Canyonlands, Utah. In this book, Pete has drawn on years of experience to demonstrate the many different techniques and to give you an understanding of when, why and how to use them. Develop these skills with confidence and your climbing standard will improve.
Scottish Island Bagging by Helen and Paul Webster, founders of Walkhighlands, is a guide to the magical islands of Scotland.
Focusing on the ninety-nine islands that have regular trips or means of access for visitors, plus fifty-five other islands which have no regular transport but are still of significant size or interest, the authors have described the best ways to experience each one. Of the islands featured, many are household names – Skye, Lewis, Bute – while some, such as the isolated St Kilda archipelago and the remote Sula Sgeir, will be unknown to all but a hardcore few.
Attempting to break long-distance running records used to be an underground endeavour, until the virus-stricken summer of 2020 came along. Only a few, such as the Bob Graham Round in the Lake District, had ever broken into mainstream consciousness. But an absence of running races thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in an unprecedented rise in the popularity of attempts at breaking these records.
In Broken, Ally Beaven takes an entertaining look at just why 2020 was so unusual for long-distance running. With his interest in Fastest Known Times (FKTs) piqued, Beaven immerses himself in the scene. His summer becomes one of spending hours in the hills feeding, cajoling and generally trying to keep safe the runners he is supporting, as well as following the dots of live trackers in the middle of the night and endlessly refreshing his Twitter feed as records tumble around the country.
Day Walks in the Cairngorms features 20 circular routes between 6.3 and 18.4 miles (10.2km and 29.6km) in length, spread across the Cairngorms National Park. Researched and written by local and experienced authors Helen and Paul Webster, founders of the Walkhighlands website, the walks range from gentle rambles to more challenging day walks, all through stunning and varied terrain.
8. Big Trails: Great Britain & Ireland
Big Trails: Great Britain & Ireland is an inspirational guide to the most iconic, spectacular and popular long-distance trails in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.
Dogs specialise in getting on with humans, and tales of faithful hounds in hostile environments form part of our cultural history. Award-winning writer Helen Mort sets out to understand the singular relationship between dogs, mountains and the people who love them. Along the way, she meets search and rescue dogs, interviews climbers and spends time on the hills with hounds. The book is also a personal memoir, telling the author’s own story of falling in love with a whippet called Bell during a transformative year in the Lake District.
Lake District Bouldering is the long-awaited guide to bouldering in the Lake District National Park. Written by Greg Chapman, one of the pioneers of bouldering in the Lakes, it features almost 3,000 individually numbered problems and dozens of variations and linkups at over 70 venues.