Every outdoor adventurer has that one book, maybe two, that kick-started their passion and desire for exploration. Maybe it was something by one of the usual suspects, like Laurie Lee, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Dervla Murphy or Jack Kerouac, or maybe it was something more recent.
We’ve certainly been spoilt in the last five years or so with the amount of good outdoor and adventure books out there. A host of great authors have popped up, from the wild adventurers like Alastair Humphreys and Anna McNuff to the philosophers like Robert Macfarlane and Robert Moor. It seems to be a real burgeoning field, and we’re super glad that it is.
And they keep on coming. We’ve pulled together a list of some of our favourite releases from the last year or so, the outdoor books that we think would make excellent gifts for a family member or friend. Who knows, one of these might inspire them to undertake their own epic adventure – and perhaps to write about it as well. So without further adieu, here are our top 10 best outdoor and adventure books of 2018.
The Salt Path
Raynor Winn – Penguin Books, £8.99
Things went from bad to worse for Raynor Winn when her husband became diagnosed with a serious illness only five days after they were both made homeless due to a bad investment. The course of action became immediately clear though: they would walk the length of the 630-mile South West Coast Path and plan out their future along the way.
The Mountains Are Calling
Jonny Muir – Sandstone Press, £19.99
An ode to Scotland’s high places, and the almost spiritual transcendence that running up and over them can bring. At least to the author Jonny Muir anyway. A regular contributor to this website, Muir explores the history and culture of the sport in Scotland and the personalities involved in it over the years plus he describes his own bold attempt to complete a continuous loop of 23 of Scotland’s Munro’s within 24 hours – the legendary Ramsay’s Round.
The Land Beyond: On Foot Through the Middle East
Leon McCarron – Bloomsbury, £17.99 (hardback)
Leon McCarron recounts his journey on foot through Israel and Palestine, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula, a tale that vividly portrays the diverse landscapes and proliferation of cultures within a region that’s all too often judged for its politics and not for its people.
Arabia: A Journey Through The Heart of the Middle East
Levison Wood – Hodder & Stoughton, £25 (hardback)
Another account of a foot journey through the Middle East, in this case by British Army officer turned long-distance wanderer Levison Wood (the guy off the telly). In keeping with the same style from his past big walks, he immerses himself in the cultures around him and addresses the changes that have occurred over the last few years in each of the 13 countries he crosses.