The great rift valley that cuts a bold path diagonally across Scotland from Fort William to Inverness is a place of mystery and splendour, home to myth and magic, valour and hardship, a place of unsurpassed beauty. Attempting to encompass all of this in 125 pages is a challenge for any author. That this author has succeeded well is an achievement. He has also provided a very good list of recommended further reading. As an introduction to a place and a history, it would be hard to better. The Caledonian Canal which opened the Great Glen as a short cut for naval and commercial shipping, avoiding the difficult waters around the northern coast of Scotland has become a popular waterway for visitors in yachts and passenger vessels, their number increased each year by those who take the road routes and tour the highlands.