Independent Book Review: Scottish White Water, English White Water - by The Pesda Press
English White Water + Scottish White Water (combined review)
In broad terms, these books are similar to each other. Same publishers, same visual layout, and similar structure. I hope this doesn't cause problems for anyone.
Both are produced by the nations' respective canoe-kayak associations. England is covered by the BCU and Scotland by the SCA.
The royalties of both books are put to projects to improve river access in the relative country.
Both these books are seriously chunky wedges of paper. Small enough to fit in the average glove box of your car. Both of them are over 300 pages long, most of that is small text. I should hardly have to point out that I have not read these books from cover to cover. They both follow the tried and tested format for guide books. Each book is broken up into regional areas, making it handy to find your relevant information. Each river has a box-out giving river grade, length and ordinance survey map number.
On the information end of things, both of these books are pretty similar. Both books divide the text of each river up by paragraphs headed "introduction", "water level", "gauge", "access", "description" and "other important points". On some of the weirs there is the further heading of "characteristics", what more do you need?
Every now and then there are little bunches of color plates of rivers in that area. The photos are of mixed quality and age, some of which feature pretty boring boating action. But then this is about the rivers themselves, not those who paddle them. On a whole though Scotland comes out top in the "cool photography" section, having fewer "family photo album" looking shots, and more "gravity is fun" shots. Maybe the Scots just have madder families?
Both books seem to be as exhaustive as possible under the circumstances, and as "up to date" as possible within the limits of print. Needless to say, if you're a paddler living in either of these countries, or intending to visit, one of these guide books is a must.
There are a lot of rivers out there, many of which you will probably not have paddled. Paddling new rivers is always an adventure, but it's good to know where they are first.
More info and online ordering