South West Sea kayaking is the new guidebook from Pesda Press, written by Mark Rainsley. It is the first, in-depth guidebook for the Southwest coastline and Islands and has taken 12 months to research and produce.
Mark is undoubtedly one of the great authorities on Sea Kayaking around then South West. He describes three great routes on one of Simon Willis’s podcasts and his blog is testament to his knowledge and obvious enjoyment of the excellent paddling available in the Southwest.
The guidebook is, to be blunt, outstanding. Having a large collection of 80’s/early 90’s climbing and walking guides I was expecting to find a similar black and white, text heavy book with hand drawn maps. More fool me! The layout and quality of the guidebook is superb. Fantastic colour cartography, clear and interesting colour photographs and a modern, crisp, clean design combine to make this a visual feast.
The content is as impressive. Concise and accurate when it needs to be, yet in depth enough to provide the information needed. Each section begins with an overview of key info such as grade, distance, tidal information, start/finish points and coastguard details.
Mark then skillfully describes the route in detail. These descriptions cover a range of information. From anecdotes and history to geology and wildlife. He does this with a great sense of humour which raised more than a couple of smiles.
The photographs illustrating this guide are generally superb. They give an up to date insight into the routes and points of interest and for me prove have been a great source of motivation for getting out on the water.
The accompanying maps are wonderfully produced and provide more than sufficient detail for basic route planning, however OS maps are referenced for each section and are obviously required for comprehensive planning purposes.
It is obvious that Mark has taken a great deal of care to document to 50 or so routes that make up this guide as accurately as possible. As a recent review in Canoekayak magazine states:
Author Mark Rainsley paddled each trip and has done an excellent job of capturing the essence of the south coast in concise and informative descriptions, and the additional notes on local history, wildlife and geology mean that you can practically smell the sea air whilst reading it.
This is a superb guidebook and one that despite its high quality finish should not adorne your bookshelf, but sit thumbed, dog-eared and annotated in your kit bag as you work your way through the routes.