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The Life and Times of the Black Pig

A biography of Ben Macdui

Hardback (192pp)
  • Hardback £14.95
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OWG Best Outdoor Book 2007


Ben Macdui – or Binn-na-Muick-duidh, the Hill of the Black Pig, in Gaelic – is Britain’s second highest mountain but its visitors are few in comparison with the 100,000 or so who trudge up the Pony Path on Ben Nevis every year. For Ronald Turnbull, however, Ben Macdui is a true mountain, preserving ‘the fundamental mountain mysteries’. He has explored it from every angle and in The Life and Times of the Black Pig takes you to the summit by 17 different routes. On the way you’ll be beguiled by stories of dancing tailors and ravening wolves, contumacious climbers and cattle-thieves, a deluded earl and granite fudge. Ignore the funicular railway and enjoy 20,000 years of Ben Macdui.

Ronald Turnbull is the author of The Riddle of Sphinx Rock (a cultural biography of Great Gable) and The Life and Times of the Black Pig (a biography of Ben Macdui) – both published by Millrace Outdoor – as well as The Book of the Bivvy (on tentless travel) and walking guides to the Cairngorms and Ben Nevis and Glen Coe for Cicerone Press.

Turnbull was born in St Andrews, just across the Forth from Muir’s Dunbar. He now lives in Dumfriesshire, mid-way between the Lake District and the Highlands. He also walks in warm, Spanish-speaking corners of Europe. He has won the Outdoor Writers’ and Photographers’ Guild award for excellence five times (in various categories) and in 1994 gained the Fell Running Association’s long-distance trophy for a run over all the hills of southern Scotland. His full ‘cartload’ of books, as well as his recent walks in California and the Appalachians, is described on his website

  • Title: The Life and Times of the Black Pig
  • Sub-title: A biography of Ben Macdui
  • Author: Ronald Turnbull
  • Imprint: Millrace Outdoor
  • ISBN: 9781902173252
  • Rights:
  • Publication date: 2007
  • Edition: First
    • Title: Chris Bonington Mountaineer
    • Sub-title: Thirty Years of Climbing on the World's Great Peaks
    • Author: Chris Bonington
    • Imprint: Bâton Wicks
    • ISBN: 978-1-898573-87-6
    • Rights: Worldwide (exc. North America)
    • Publication date: June 1995. This edition, Oct 1996.
    • Edition: Second
    • Format: Paperback
    • Size: 350mm x 235mm
    • Extent: 192 pages; B&W and colour images
    • Weight: 1,070g
    • Retail price: £20
    • - See more at:
  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 170mm x 120mm
  • Extent: 192pp, B&W text and illustrations
  • Weight: 320g
  • Retail price: £14.95

'Mr Turnbull is carving out a niche for himself writing the biographies of mountains—his first was a hymn to Great Gable. His work also serves as a guide, listing routes that’ll help you appreciate his subject at its best. Here, he tells the life and times of Britain’s second highest peak, Ben Macdui. He says it has been criminally overlooked since a certain B Nevis claimed the crown, but claims Macdui is far more interesting than the other fella. Tales include Queen Victoria’s climb of Ben Macdui (she did it in disguise) and an Irishman who cycled up it by accident. Colin Brash provides some gloriously moody illustrations.'
Country Walking, Feb 2008

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