The Mary Queen of Scots Way is a 107 mile route which stretches across central Scotland.
The route begins in Arrochar in the West and ends in St Andrews in the East and takes the walker through a stunning part of the country.
Paul Prescott, the author, who devised the route takes walkers on a very scenic tour of a part of the country that many walkers will never have seen. The route passes through many places with a connection to one of the most well known members of historic Scottish royalty – Mary Queen of Scots.
The guide book, which is published by Rucksack Readers, begins by introducing the reader to how they should plan their route which includes considering what time of year you should attempt it, suggestions on how to split the route into stages and what kind of terrain and wildlife to expect along the way.
The author includes a well written overview of the life and death of Mary Queen of Scots which helps readers unaware of her tragic story to understand her connection to the walk.
The guide book is designed for the walker and is printed onto water resistant paper which is spiral bound in a fashion that allows walkers to keep it open easily at the stage they are walking. There are plenty of full colour photographs from the route throughout.
The route is clearly mapped and is featured on a fold out section that forms part of the cover and is easy to follow. The mapping does not feature the National Grid so it is not possible to create grid references of your route direct from the guide for the creation of a detailed route card. This is a little bit of a let down for a route that is crossing areas of open countryside but you can easily transpose the route to OS mapping either online through their OS Maps service or you can buy a number of OS maps that cover the whole route and the author has included a note of their sheet numbers in the reference section towards the end of the guide.
Each stage of the route is broken down into easy to understand and well bullet-pointed segments and each stage includes details on the distance, grade of terrain to expect and places where you can stop for food and drink.
A few of the sections route are also overlaid onto a photograph to allow the walker to orientate themselves with the landscape which is something I have only seen in a handful of guide books and is nice way in aiding navigation and should be used more. There are also little interesting snippets scattered throughout the guide which are enjoyable to read and again connect walkers with the route’s namesake.
The Mary Queen of Scots Way is a excellent long distance walks across Scotland and the author has created a walking route that I am sure many will enjoy for years to come.