Ronald Turnbull

Ronald Turnbull, an all-weather walker, writer and photographer based in southern Scotland, is the author of two mountaineering biographies for Millrace:  The Life and Times of the Black Pig, and The Riddle of Sphinx Rock.

Praise for The Riddle of Sphinx Rock:

“It’s rare you get a whole book about a British mountain. It’s even rarer to get one that isn’t stuffed with photographs and route diagrams plus a few token words of narrative. Which makes this book... about as quirkily unique as you can get.”
TRAIL, Feb 2006

“This small eccentric tome will prove a delight.”
TGO June 2006

Titles by Ronald Turnbull

The Life and Times of The Black Pig cover image

The Life and Times of The Black Pig

A biography of Ben Macdui, Illustrated by Colin Brash.

Forget the quick route from the car park. Over 20,000 years and sixteen other ways up, Ben Macdui preserves the fundamental mountain mysteries.

“Ben Macdui is a 500-million year-old lump of magma exposed by erosion and half chewed away by a glacier. But this book is not so much about the summit, as the stories we tell ourselves on the way up there. Some of them are fairy stories, and some are the more serious bits of fiction we call history. Some are the peculiarly plausible stories called science. But the most important stories are about the heroes of hillwalking, the pointless adventure on the Forefinger Pinnacle. These are the tales we tell ourselves to make it all make sense. As you stand below the avalanche, battle the stormy plateau, or cross thawing ice of Loch Avon, these stories are not just serious but deadly serious. In the twenty-first century, self-deception is one of the survival arts. Lose the plot, and end up in front of the TV with a premature heart attack.”

“Mr Turnbull is carving out a niche for himself writing the biographies of mountains—his first was a hymn to Great Gable. His work also serves as a guide, listing routes that’ll help you appreciate his subject at its best. Here, he tells the life and times of Britain’s second highest peak, Ben Macdui. He says it has been criminally overlooked since a certain B Nevis claimed the crown, but claims Macdui is far more interesting than the other fella. Tales include Queen Victoria’s climb of Ben Macdui (she did it in disguise) and an Irishman who cycled up it by accident. Colin Brash provides some gloriously moody illustrations.”
Country Walking, Feb 2008

Price £14.95


  • ISBN 9781902173252
  • Publisher Millrace
  • Genre Non Fiction
  • Extent 184pp

Muir and More cover image

Muir and More

Ronald Turnbull is the first and probably the only person to have walked both California's John Muir Trail and East Lothian's very different John Muir Way in a single season. Along the way he considers the cult of vegetable worship, the paradoxes inherent in the preservation of wilderness, the fascination of 216 miles of granite, and whether in the case of Mt Whitney big is necessarily best. And most of all, John Muir himself – inspired visionary, and tiresome tree-hugger; the exiled Scot who invented the American outdoors.

“Ronald Turnbull is, of course, one of the UK’s most prolific outdoor writers. He is also one of our funniest and most eccentric… So, put these two characters together and we should have a great book. And so we do.”
Andy Howell, The Outdoors Station

List Price £14.95
Price £13.50


  • ISBN 9781902173276
  • Publisher Millrace
  • Genre Non Fiction
  • Extent 182pp

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