Summer reading: Travel

The Cairngorms: A Secret History, by Patrick Baker, Birlinn, RRP£9.99

The Cairngorms are often referred to as “Britain’s last wilderness”, a windswept mountain range that has long enchanted lovers of the great outdoors. Describing a series of walks, Baker illuminates the bleak landscape, revealing the many stories linked to its ruined bothies, ancient gem mines and even haunted summits.


Down to the Sea in Ships, by Horatio Clare, Chatto & Windus, RRP£20

Travelling between continents by cargo ship remains a great travel fantasy for many. In this lyrical account of two great voyages (from Felixstowe to Los Angeles, and Antwerp to Montreal) Clare captures that sense of wonder, while painting an intimate portrait of an industry we all depend on but about which we know little.


A Strange Kind of Paradise: India Through Foreign Eyes, by Sam Miller, Jonathan Cape, RRP£18.99/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, RRP$27

A former BBC Delhi correspondent, Sam Miller traces the history of the world’s engagement with India – from ancient Greek sailor Scylax to the Beatles and Steve Jobs – while also recounting his own love affair with the country. Fascinating and funny, it has been as well-received by Indian as western reviewers.


Gironimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy, by Tim Moore, Yellow Jersey, RRP£14.99

In 2000, travel writer Moore cycled the entire route of that year’s Tour de France, a feat that formed the basis of the hilarious (and much imitated) French Revolutions. Now he has turned to the Giro d’Italia, setting out to ride the route of the 1914 event, reputedly the toughest of all time, on a period bike complete with wooden rims.


Indonesia Etc: Exploring the Improbable Nation, by Elizabeth Pisani, Granta, RRP£18.99/ WW Norton, RRP$26.95

In 2012, Pisani asked 50 strangers in London to point to Indonesia on an inflatable globe. Only four could – a stark demonstration of how the world’s fourth most populous country is overlooked by the outside world. Frustrated by that ignorance, Pisani travels widely through the archipelago to deliver an affectionate portrait of a diverse, dynamic and eccentric country.

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