Book Review of ‘The Top 500’

January 9, 2019

BOOK REVIEW” a Lifetime of Hill Walking is a high quality book which describes Barry’s 50 years of climbing mountains in Britain & Ireland.

The challenge is to climb the highest 500 mountains in Britain & Ireland which have a 500 foot drop on all sides. The 340 page, hard back book is professionally put together and offers a fresh and fascinating read for those who love climbing.

Within the book the 500 mountains are divided in to 200 walks, reflecting how Barry completed the challenge. Each walk is complete with a fine range of photography, a personal view of the day (warts and all), a guide to the route Barry took along with a sketch map and some other interesting details and facts. It is not to be used as a one stop guide book but more a good read with interesting ideas.



A word first on the Photography. One of the things that make this book different to other walking books is the range of photography Barry has used. None are taken by professionals, all by Barry or his walking companions. Most have been taken in recent times and digitally but many date back over the full 50 years including some black and whites and others that reflect a bygone era. It is a mixed bag which makes it so much more interesting.

Personal View

This describes Barry’s own thoughts of his walks, the weather and personal anecdotes on  his experience…for example when he was knackered he says he is! However even this could become repetitive over 200 walks so he has asked his companions (including myself) to guest write some of them. Over 60 are written by others and include some excellent stories including JP’s awe inspiring 2 day completion of the Mullardoch Round in November and Alistair finishing 30 miles from his car due to some inept compass work!

However it is this that makes the book different and a good read.


The book is centred on how one man, with a simple love for the outdoors, set out to climb pretty much everything in his country. His story, and that of his companions, should be an inspiration to anyone who wants to explore the highlands of Britain. Whether you dip in to your favourites or read it cover to cover this book is for you. Alternatively many will just want to remember their own experiences and relate to the difficulties Barry had or simply use it as a high quality mountain book to enjoy from an armchair.

Heartily recommended for anyone with an interest in mountain walking.

Enjoy your walking


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