10 Inspirational Outdoor and Adventure Books 2018 - Outdoors Magic

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10 Inspirational Outdoor and Adventure Books 2018

Tales of daring-do, of adventures and misadventures, and explorations of cultures, landscapes and histories. Here are 10 outdoor and adventure books guaranteed to inspire...

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.


Edited by Helen Mort, Claire Carter, Heather Dawe and Camilla Barnard – Vertebrate, £17.99

An anthology of poems, prose and artwork that celebrates women in outdoor adventure. This is no ‘fastest to the top’ or ‘first to circumnavigate’ book (though many of the women featured have records to their names), instead its inspiring contributors delve into the ways in which they connect themselves with the landscapes they cross, climb and absorb.

The Pants Of Perspective

Anna McNuff – Amazon, £9.99

What happens when a ‘have-a-go’ runner decides to take on a herculean-length run from one end of New Zealand to the other. This is a book that proves that you don’t need to be a professional or some kind of cold, win-at-all-costs person to achieve incredible things. A tale full of bum-chafing and cake eating.

The Travel Writer’s Field Guide

Phoebe Smith and Daniel Neilson – Craghoppers, £15.99

A reference book for anyone who loves to explore new places. Inside there’s advice about every element of travel writing, from pitching to editors to shaping a story. You’ll find the secrets to getting your own work published and how to avoid all those cliches, and there’s also advice on how to create travel stories using just your smartphone. The team behind it includes Phoebe Smith of Wanderlust Magazine, Daniel Neilson who’s one of our regular contributors, as well as John Summerton of Sidetracked.

Related: The Authors Give Us Their Travel Writing Tips

The Adventurer’s Guide to Britain

Jen & Simon Benson – Bloomsbury, £16.30

150 featured adventures arranged by geographical region and each carefully chosen for being exhilarating and achievable by any reasonably active person. There’s everything from caves to explore and creeks to kayak through to places for sleeping under the stars, epic scrambles and breathtaking swimming spots.

The Hidden Ways

Alistair Moffat – Canongate, £19.99 (hardback)

Award-winning writer and historian Alistair Moffat treads the lesser-known routes through Scotland, exploring warpaths and pilgrim routes, drove roads and rail roads, turnpikes and sea roads in a quest to open up a different sort of history and a new way of understanding Scotland’s past.

The Kindness of Strangers

Edited by Fearghal O’Nuallain – Summersdale, £9.99

Such a great idea for a book. It’s a compilation of tales from people who’ve received extraordinary acts of kindness from complete strangers while they’ve been out in somewhat extreme circumstances – like during a run around the edge of Britain or whilst undertaking a circumnavigation of the globe. This is a book that should help to restore some of your faith in humanity in these, shall we say, interesting times.


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