The Scottish Trail Running guidebook was inspired by the section of the West Highland Way between Kinlochleven and Fort William. This is a fantastically runnable trail through a beautiful wide glen surrounded by rugged hills. As someone more used to running up and down hills, squelching through bog and leaping over tussocks, running on a firm, even trail in such a beautiful place was a revelation. Once home, I looked for a guidebook that would lead me to equally fantastic trail running routes in the rest of Scotland. I couldn’t find one. Almost everything was intended for walkers – the low level routes were often too short for a decent run, the high level routes went to the tops of Munros. The only mention of a book for runners was on Steven Fallon’s website – at the time he was writing a book on hill routes. Steven subsequently published Classic Hill Runs and Races in Scotland which is a must-have for all hill runners. My idea was different. A book that explored all the varied landscapes in Scotland, not just my normal territory of its hills and mountains. A book with short easy routes as well as challenging expeditions. A book with consistently runnable circular paths with no bogs, no tussocks and no boulder fields. A book that anyone, runner or not, could pick up and use to explore a new, interesting and beautiful part of Scotland.
The idea of turning my failed internet search for a guidebook into a book proposal would probably never have happened but for a chance discussion at a bbq in Bath. I hadn’t seen Paul Smith for years and he had just finished writing Climbing Games, published by Pesda Press. My book proposal winged its way over the email to Pesda who with great faith decided to take a chance on this first time author and her big idea. And that turned out to be the beginning of a great adventure.