The Black Ridge
HarperCollins / 2021
“Wonderful… beautifully written… will undoubtedly become a classic narrative of this magnificent part of Scotland.”
Cameron McNeish, Herald Scotland
Rising a kilometre out of the storm-scoured waters around Scotland’s Isle of Skye is a dark battlement of pinnacles and ridgelines: the Cuillin.
Plagued by ferocious weather and built from rock that tears skin and confounds compasses, a crossing of the Cuillin is the toughest mountaineering expedition in the British Isles. But the traverse is only part of its lure. Hewn from the innards of an ancient volcano, this mountain range stands like a crown on an island drenched in intrigue. While 19th-century climbers flocked to the Alps, the ridge lay untrodden and unyielding. When a generation of mountaineers did come, they found a remarkable prize: the last peaks of Britain to be climbed – peaks that would be named after those who climbed them. Along the way, many others, from artists and poets to mystics and wanderers, have been lured by the Cuillin’s haunting beauty and magic. Those who have been seduced by the deadly magic of these mountains attest to the complexity of humans’ relationship with the intrigue of our wildest, most dangerous places.
The Black Ridge is a journey through the history and into the heights of the Cuillin of Skye – from the ridge’s violent birth to the tales of its pioneers, its thrills, its myths and its monsters. From a night spent in a cave beneath its highest peak to the ascent of its most infamous pinnacle, this is an adventure on foot through all seasons across the most mesmerising mountain range in Britain.
Between the Sunset and the Sea
HarperCollins / 2015
‘Almost Tolkienian in delivery … Between the Sunset and the Sea turns mountain climbs into a form of poetry.’
‘I’ve been climbing mountains in Britain for 20 years but I don’t know if I really saw them until I read this book.’
Andrew Gilchrist, The Guardian
‘Painstainkingly researched, well written… an intrepid, original book.’
Patrick Hosking, The Times
IN THE LATE 18th century, mountains shifted from being universally reviled to becoming the most inspiring things on earth. Simply put, the monsters became muses – and an entire artistic movement was born. This movement became a love affair, the love affair became an obsession, and gradually but surely, obsession became lifestyle as mountains became stitched into the fabric of the British cultural tapestry.
Simon Ingram explores how mountains became such a preoccupation for the modern western imagination, weaving his own adventures into a powerful narrative.
‘This is the work of a polymath mountain-lover with a backpack-sized curiosity and the stamina to take notes when most of us would be gasping for breath. It’s not just painstakingly researched, it’s also well written … an intrepid, original book.’
‘A welcome and refreshing addition to the increasingly crowded field of New Nature Writing. Warm, poetic and humane yet shivery with the vertiginous thrill and allure that mountains cast over some of us.’
‘Rich, thought-provoking and lyrical.’
‘Accessible and refreshing … written in an engaging style that quickly takes the reader into its confidence. The endearing confession of an authentic mountain addict.’
‘Makes for an engrossing read … a book of considerable depth, full of fascinating and well-researched detail.’
Media + Interviews
Simon Ingram and Dame Fiona Reynolds on our natural landscapes;
The Guardian Books podcast
Clare Balding and Simon Ingram in the Lake District:
BBC Radio 4 – Ramblings
In Search of ‘Agreeable Horror’
Interview for the British Mountaineering Council