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Boulder Britain Guidebook // Niall Grimes // Book Review

Boulder Britain1

If you’re someone who likes to try out new places to boulder and climb, then Boulder Britain – The essential guide to British Bouldering might be just the thing you’re looking for.  This compact tome packs a massive punch, somehow covering the whole of the UK in little more than the size of a standard guidebook – it’s impressive.

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Covering all areas of the UK this book is split into the following sections:

Scotland, Northumberland
The Lakes
Yorkshire
North West
The Peak
Wales
The Midlands
South West

 

Niall delivers a series of excellently witty introductions to each area that you can dip into and out of at your leisure.  On first use I went in for the purely practical aspects – crag, map, problem information.  It was only when I delved a little deeper that I discovered the heartwarming descriptions, clearly written with attention, deep knowledge and a love of the diversity of bouldering on offer in the UK.

“The bouldering in the North West doesn’t appear on many scorecards.  Let’s have a look at what’s on offer to understand why.  Grotty, loose, dark, midge-ridden holes in the ground that allow rough scrambling,; horrific finger-rippers on sandstone sumps overlooking 2000AD hellscapes of combustion and pipeage; remote gritstone at the end of a long uphill slog; small limestone huffs tha often contain…..”  You get the idea – I’ll leave you to find out the rest.

The layout of the book is surprisingly well organised too – something to shout about given the chaotic and disorganised nature of some of the climbing guidebooks to which I’ve been subjected.  For every individual venue Niall covers climbing, approach and conditions, each of which combine perfectly to give a rounded view of the venue and when might be an appropriate time to visit.  This is particularly helpful, as are the photographs, which help not just to contextualise, but also to give a large motivational boost as you flick through the pages.  The great panoramic shots give you a feel for what you’re looking for on the approach and clear line-drawn maps show different approaches and relevant landmarks, as well as useful information, including campsites.

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In terms of the bouldering problem information, where you gain in breadth of venues, you lose a little of the depth of information at each venue.  This has to be the case otherwise the publication would be too hefty to lift!  The information is really clear and what I like is that there is a good spread of grades covered, meaning you could go to a venue, start easy and gradually progress up the grades.

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Key Features of Boulder Britain Guidebook

  • Comprehensive overview of UK bouldering venues
  • Clear Maps and Directions
  • Good Approach Information
  • Grade spread covered well
  • Helpful Photos
  • Comprehensive Condition Information
  • Easy-to-understand Key
  • Well Written
  • Funny

We really enjoyed this book and if you’d like to invest in a copy, you can buy it by clicking here.

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