The Mountains are Calling: running in the high places of Scotland, was published by Sandstone Press on May 17, 2018.
Jonny Muir was a nine-year-old boy when the silhouette of a runner in the glow of sunset on the Malvern Hills caught his eye. A fascination for running in high places was born – a fascination that would direct him to Scotland. Running and racing, Jonny became the mountainside silhouette that first inspired him.
His exploits inevitably led to Scotland’s supreme test of hill running: Ramsay’s Round, a daunting 60-mile circuit of twenty-four mountains, climbing the equivalent height of Mount Everest and culminating on Ben Nevis, within twenty-four hours.
While Ramsay’s Round demands extraordinary endurance, the challenge is underpinned by simplicity and tradition, in a sport largely untainted by commercialism. The Mountains are Calling is the story of that sport in Scotland, charting its evolution over half a century, heralding its characters and the culture that has grown around them, ultimately capturing the irresistible appeal of running in high places.
Foreword by Alex Staniforth
‘When voices of reason tell us to turn back, we are reminded by what others have achieved; we groan, dig deep and push on because we want to be like them. Why are we drawn back, time and time again, hungry gluttons for punishment? This ‘type-B’ enjoyment that we find in the mountains is difficult to describe or explain. Outdoor writers have tried, and many can say what runners do, but these pages tell of the journey of understanding. In The Mountains are Calling, Jonny sums up these feelings to a tee. It’s only by losing ourselves in these high places that we truly find ourselves.’
‘More than a history of hill running in Scotland, Jonny Muir’s The Mountains are Calling is also a cry from the heart for emotional connection to Scotland’s wild landscape, and paean of praise for the mountains and the runners who go there.’ – Alastair Humphreys, author of Microadventures and Grand Adventures
‘Inspirational and highly readable, Jonny Muir eloquently describes the mountains and the extraordinary people who run in them.’ – Claire Maxted, Wild Ginger Films
‘Hill running in Scotland is a tough, daunting, punishing sport but Muir writes about it with such eloquence and passion that he makes you want to drop everything and head for the Highlands.‘ Daily Mail
‘The hills seem to hold some supernatural effect over Muir, as they help him discover further insights into his own being. Their magical effect, an elixir, that slowly seeps out of the vial the farther he pushes himself into the wilderness. Overall, this book is enlightening, captivating and well worth a read.’ – The Wee Review
‘It is destined to become a classic and portray the Scottish mountains and the challenges they throw at you, in a similar way to how Richard Askwith’s portrayed the Lakes in Feet in the Clouds.’ – Run and Become
‘This is a book that tells of the author’s own growing passion for the mountains, and it blends in fascinating, remarkable and at times amusing tales of others who run in the mountains.’ – Undiscovered Scotland
‘The Mountains are Calling not only chronicles the legends and tales of this Cinderella sport of the mountains, but is a passionate appreciation of those wild places that now and then become the arenas for these remarkable athletes. Arenas without a cheering crowd and athletes who compete for the sheer and utter joy of it. – Cameron McNeish for Walk Highlands
‘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.’ – RunUltra
‘After reading this, I would defy anyone not to want to hit the hills of Scotland.‘ – Athletics Weekly
There are many passages that I read again. In places the book has a literary quality, not unlike Mike Cudahy’s hard to find Wild Trails to Far Horizons, that has its central theme the author’s attempts to achieve the fastest completion of the 268 mile Pennine Way. Jonny is able to deal with lives of ordinary people with an extraordinary hobby with just the right tone, a feat he repeats in dealing sensitively with death in the hills in what must have been an extraordinarily difficult chapter to write. So if Scotland, the Highlands, running, or even sports generally, interest you you will enjoy this book.’ – Amazon reviewer
More to follow.
Why do those mountain runners do it? What makes them want to climb those relentless ascents or bound out into the cold and clag? Read an extract from The Mountains are Calling here.
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