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The Mountains Are Calling Review

28-Jun-18

Last updated: 24-Oct-18

By Alice Morrison

I notice the silence first. There is sound – the rising of my own breath and the gurgle of feet on wet grass– but no noise. The suffering comes next: a trickle, then a seep, then a torrent. I do not fight it. It is why we are here.”

Jonny Muir is a runner and a writer and captures the poetic and heroic nature of ultra running with skill and artistry. This is his fourth book and it is about running in the high places of Scotland.

It’s a big beast of a book with a mix of personal experience, anecdote, history and information. His love for Scotland and for the sport shines through. His love for the mountains sometimes gives way to hate, but his obsession with them continues.

He introduces us not only to the runs that Scotland has to offer but to the great characters that have undertaken them over the past decades, and his tales of heroism are theirs as well as his own.

His own heroics are pretty impressive. He takes on Ramsay’s Round, often called Scotland’s ultimate challenge. It’s a 60-mile circuit of twenty-four mountains ending (of course!) on Ben Nevis and by the end of which you will have climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest – arguably with worse weather.

The cut off time is 24hours and the joy of the round is its simplicity – human v mountains – and also its challenges. The Highlands throw everything at him as he makes the attempt.

What happens? No, I’m not going to spoil it... buy the book and find out.

This book is a great read, full of fabulous facts; true, tall tales; lashings of courage and all of it wrapped in excellent story telling. It will be my go-to birthday and Christmas present for quite some time.

But be prepared, once you read it, if you’re not already lucky enough to live there, you’ll be heading to Scotland.

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“It’s a big beast of a book with a mix of personal experience, anecdote, history and information. His love for Scotland and for the sport shines through”

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