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Struggling to come up with outdoorsy Christmas present ideas? Our list of the year’s best outdoor literature is here to help

It’s been another cracking year for mountain and outdoor literature. Choosing just a few titles from such a great selection is a challenge; we’ve included a small selection of books recognised in The Great Outdoors Awards 2017, plus a cross-section of the year’s best outdoor literature elsewhere.

The Wainwrights in Colour by Andy Beck (self published) £39

The Great Outdoors Awards 2017 WINNER – Book of the Year

Artist Andy Beck spent a decade visiting all the views drawn by legendary guidebook author Alfred Wainwright in his seven Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. The Wainwrights in Color is the complete collection of 1,509 paintings, self published in a 360-page hardback book – but with a limited single print run of 5,000 copies, it could sell out fast!

The Scottish Bothy Bible by Geoff Allan (Wild Things Publishing) £16.99

The Great Outdoors Awards 2017 Highly Commended

The Scottish Bothy Bible is the first ever complete guidebook to Scotland’s bothies. Geoff Allan navigates you across burns and bogs, taking you to Viking longhouses, island hideaways and Highland homesteads. With captivating histories, detailed route descriptions and practical hillcraft knowledge, this is your essential guide to wild adventure living.

Walking the Song by Hamish Brown (Sandstone Press) £8.99

The Great Outdoors Awards 2017 shortlisted

Hamish Brown is a legend in UK backpacking circles: first to complete an uninterrupted round of the Munros in the 1970s, and the creator of The Great Outdoors Challenge. His latest book contains essays and stories from his outdoor life on a diverse range of subjects, from Alpine mountaineering to cycle touring and exploration in the High Atlas.

Hidden Histories: A Spotter’s Guide to the British Landscape by Mary-Ann Ochota (Frances Lincoln) £20

The Great Outdoors Awards 2017 shortlisted

For the times when you’re driving past a lumpy, bumpy field and you wonder what made the lumps and bumps; for when you’re walking between two lines of grand trees, wondering when and why they were planted; for when you see a brown heritage sign pointing to a ‘tumulus’ but you don’t know what to look for… Entertaining and factually rigorous, Hidden Histories will help you decipher the story of our landscape through the features you can see around you.

The Last Hillwalker by John D Burns (self published) £9.99

The Great Outdoors Awards 2017 shortlisted

Chris Townsend’s review for TGO: “Sometimes a book comes along that captures the essence of what it means to love mountains and to love being in mountains. This is such a book. The author describes his journey from bumbling would-be hillwalker and long-distance walker through rock climbing, alpine mountaineering, winter climbing and Mountain Rescue Team membership to disillusion with the hills and finally a rekindling of the spirit with bothy hunting.”

Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka by Bernadette McDonald (Vertebrate publishing) £24

Reviewed in The Great Outdoors as “a completely absorbing journey”, this is the biography of Voytek Kurtyka, pioneering high-altitude alpinist. Voytek is perhaps best known to British readers as the partner of Alex MacIntyre on big, brave first ascents in Afghanistan.

Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton, updated by Carl McKeating & Rachel Crolla (Cicerone Press) £14.95

This classic scrambling guide has provided many a hillwalker with an introduction to ‘scrambling’ – that is, tackling easy rocks that require the hands as well as feet. The new 3rd edition of Scrambles in Snowdonia has been brought up to date with colour photo topos and clear OS mapping. A must for lovers of Welsh scrambling adventures.

Among the Summer Snows by Christopher Nicholson (September Publishing (£14.99)

This book was reviewed in The Great Outdoors as “haunting, moving, silent, and profoundly beautiful”. The story is simple: the author decides to spend a few weeks looking for late-lying summer snow in the Scottish Highlands. In doing so, he struggles with the question of why he has always felt such a magnetic attraction to snow – and especially the strange and beautiful formations that survive high on cliffs and in corries each summer.

The Magician’s Glass by Ed Douglas (Vertebrate Publishing) £14.95

The Magician’s Glass by award-winning writer Ed Douglas is a collection of eight recent essays on some of the biggest stories and best-known personalities in the world of climbing. In the title essay, he writes about failure on Annapurna III in 1981, one of the boldest attempts in Himalayan mountaineering on one of the most beautiful lines – a line that remains unclimbed to this day.