07 July 2017
Author: Hamish Brown
Publisher: Sandstone Press
ISBN number: 978 1910985588
Hamish Brown’s Walking the Song is an engaging, informative and evocative read for anyone who loves hillwalking, particularly in Scotland. Brown is best known for Hamish’s Mountain Walk, his account of the first continuous round of Scotland’s Munros all under his own steam, making use of a trusty bicycle to link these mountain areas together.
Walking the Song alludes to this famous trip but this is a collection of writings covering Brown’s entire life, taken from a variety of publications. He writes about his childhood caught up in the WW2 evacuation of Singapore, his need to escape into wild places as he later grew up near the Ochils in Scotland’s Central Belt, and his experiences as an outdoor education teacher in Fife. I found myself seriously envying the pupils on his challenging mountaineering and camping expeditions.
Other items include accounts of regular trips to the High Atlas of Morocco and climbing expeditions in the Alps, along with tales of trips with friends to the Scottish mountains. These are interspersed with more chatty magazine articles on the joys of using a campervan, or stories of historic events such as an infamous death on an Arran hillside. Perhaps the most moving and memorable of all, however, is an account of a recent Christmas Day walk in Harris up a frozen, silent Roineabhal, “a day of glory given”. How many of us will recognise that same sense of joy and privilege, of being outdoors in all of Scotland’s beauty? Helen Todd