Described as ‘The jottings of a fell-walking naturalist', this book by Alan Gane consists of 137 short chapters, illustrated with 16 colour photographs. A genuine 'dip into' book full of interest, information, anecdote and advice; a great companion for locals and visitors alike.
The author's background has equipped him well. A life-long naturalist, following a working life in agricultural research, he has spent much of his time walking and scrambling in the Cumbrian mountains and the lower woods and valleys, seeking out and photographing superb viewpoints and all manner of wildlife. The walks listed are varied in the extreme, from summer strolls through oak woods and around the lakes, to climbs of the highest fells. Similarly, there are descriptions of the countryside as seen by relatively few, such as sunrise witnessed from high in the fells as the early morning light extends across the horizon.
The writer has walked the year round too, and accordingly there are detailed descriptions of walking in each season. But that is not all. The writer is nothing if not a keen observer of the natural world. There are a great many references to plant life, from the insectivorous sundew and butterwort of the bogs, to the sub-alpines associated with the rivulets among the crags. Walks are described which were undertaken deliberately to find and identify particular species, common, uncommon and rare. Similarly, there are many references to birds and animals from peregrine falcon and dipper to fox, badger and red squirrel.
Lord Inglewood, President of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, has reviewed the book as follows :-
“There is a kind of climber for whom getting to the top is the be all and end all. This is not a book for them; rather it is for the person who enjoys travelling hopefully as much as arriving. Alan Gane is a naturalist and a walker who conveys the enjoyment of both, in this collection of short jottings which are reminiscent of the almost random pleasures and experiences of being out and about in the fells. In a series of short vignettes he captures the whole point of it all."
See Alan’s latest wildlife article on page