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back to Book Reviews

A Walker’s Guide to the Geology of British Mountains by Ronald Turnbull.
Published by Frances Lincoln ISBN 978-0-7112-2914-3.

Granite & GritGeology is often presented as a somewhat dry and dusty subject but, having studied it at school, I have always found it fascinating. Also, having spent much of my formative walking years in the limestone areas of the Yorkshire Dales, I became excited at an early age by clints and grikes!

Therefore, when I started reading this new book by Ronald Turnbull, it brought back many happy memories of Geography field trips to the Yorkshire Dales and the gritstone areas of the Pennine regions; also climbing courses and holidays in Wales and on various Scottish islands.

Walkers invariably spend much of their time looking at the views around them without thinking too much of what is under their feet, but it is the rocks below them that have created the scenery that they enjoy. This book enables walkers to understand better which of the seventeen different rocks create the various forms of British landscape. Four chapters are devoted to the Lake District, which is probably the most diverse of all regions of the UK as far as geology is concerned.

The book is well illustrated throughout with over 340 colour pictures of landscapes showing the various rock formations. In addition, it has 48 geological diagrams and maps, also in colour.

Ronald Turnbull refers to a number of former geologists whose work he has drawn on for this book. These include James Hutton, Adam Sedgwick and Charles Lapworth; he also refers to William ‘Strata’ Smith who is the subject of Simon Winchester’s marvellous book The Map That Changed the World.

After reading this book, you should have a much better understanding of our Lakeland hills and what is beneath your feet.

reviewed by John Burland - Member No. 2