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back to Book Reviews

Walking in Eden (Third Edition)
by Ron Scholes

ISBN 978-1-85058-978-5
Published by Sigma Leisure

This is the Third Edition of a book first published in 1997 and written by Honorary Member, Ron Scholes. Its full title is: Walking in Eden: Circular and Linear Routes in the Eden Valley. Detailed in its 223 pages are 45 walks of varying distances ranging from I mile to14½ miles.

Ron Scholes is a prodigious walker and is well-known for devising long-distance routes often taking weeks to complete. In this book, the walks are more manageable, being mainly, whole-day or half-day excursions into the landscape of the Eden Valley and the surrounding hills. The Eden begins its 75-mile journey in the wilds of Mallerstang and flows into the Irish Sea at the Solway Firth, west of Carlisle.

Six distinct areas have been identified as the locations for the walks in a variety of different landscapes: Mallerstang, the Howgill Fells, the Westmorland Plateau, the Eden Valley and Appleby, the high Pennines and, finally, Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall country.

Each walk has a detailed route description supplemented with a very clear hand-drawn map in Ron’s distinctive style. But, as Ron points out, they are certainly not substitutes for Ordnance Survey maps, the 1:25000 series being recommended for the invaluable detail they include for the walker. Essential information is summarised at the start of the chapter and gives the reader an overview of the route to be followed, the distance and total ascent and an indication of the terrain, to be encountered during the walk.

However, this book is so much more than a walking guide. What comes through in his writing is Ron’s love of the landscape in all its infinite variety with its diverse flora and fauna and woven into the narrative are the stories of the people who have made this valley their own over the past two millennia.

And Ron is not afraid to recount his own adventures whilst walking his routes, even when the unexpected happens: ‘A word of warning: a certain author, who shall be nameless, attempted to take a photograph of the falls (Rutter Force) from a different angle. No sooner had his feet touched the unknown, but very slimy surface of the causeway, than he achieved a perfect halfbase-over-apex somersault. He was last seen lying in the water keeping his camera dry with an outstretched arm.’ Walking in Eden p. 100

It’s a pleasure to be in Ron Scholes’ company as he explores the lovely countryside to the east of Wainwright’s beloved Lake District. And whether you are an armchair rambler, or have this book tucked into your rucksack as you stride out on one of Ron’s walks, your knowledge of the area will be enhanced through its pages. And if you have never walked in this area, you will probably be inspired to pull on your walking boots and get out there!

Derek Cockell – Member No. 13