3 Dec 2014

Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance

This week marks the centenary of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance setting sale from South Georgia in an attempt to cross the Antarctic. This is their story, taken from Extreme Survivors, available now in paperback.

With their ship, Endurance, crushed by ice, Ernest Shackleton and five other men sailed 1,300 km (800 miles) across the most savage seas on earth in a tiny lifeboat to get help. Facing hurricane winds and 18 m (60 ft) waves, their voyage is one of the greatest open boat journeys ever accomplished.

The Endurance

There has probably never been a more fittingly named vessel than Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance. When it sailed from South Georgia on 5 December 1914 on the first leg of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the crew were prepared for a tough adventure.

They were going to cross the most extreme continent on earth. Little could they suspect just how much they would be forced to endure. Or how much heroism they would perform to return them all home safely.

Shackleton was leading the crew to Vahsel Bay, the southernmost explored point of the Weddell Sea at 77°49’S. There he would land a shore party and prepare to make the transcontinental crossing.

But disaster struck before they could reach their goal. The pack ice was thickening with every mile they sailed south and, by 14 February 1915, the Endurance was seized tight in a frozen vice.

There was nothing the men could do but sit and wait as, for the next eight months, the drifting ice took the ship back northwards. Then on 27 October, the ice stopped toying with the men and crushed the Endurance. The vessel sank from sight on 21 November, leaving the party stranded on the moving ice.

They were not going to cross Antarctica, but the adventure that the continent had thrust upon them was going to be every bit as incredible as what they had planned.

First steps to safety

Shackleton’s priority now was simply how to save the lives of his twenty-seven-man crew.

In theory they could march across the pack ice to the nearest land and then trek to a harbour that ships were known to visit. But the ice was too broken up and dangerous to travel across. The party established ‘Patience Camp’ on a flat ice floe, and waited as the drift carried them further north, towards open water.

Another three months passed. Then, on 8 April 1916, the ice broke up enough to allow them to launch their three lifeboats. For seven perilous days they sailed and rowed through stormy seas and dangerous loose ice, reaching the temporary haven of Elephant Island on 15 April.

They were on solid ground, but their fortunes looked bleak. Elephant Island wasn’t on any shipping routes and it was too far from their planned route to make a rescue likely. Although the island had fresh water and an ample supply of seals and penguins for food and fuel, the savage Antarctic winter was fast approaching.

The men only had a narrow shingle beach to call home and this was constantly blasted by gales and blizzards. One tent had already been destroyed and others flattened. Many of the men were mentally and physically exhausted. Somehow, they had to get help.

Shackleton decided to undertake one of the most daring sea voyages in history. They would sail the best of the lifeboats to the whaling stations of South Georgia. The problem was that this island lay some 800 nautical miles (1,500 km; 920 miles) across the Southern Ocean, one of the fiercest stretches of water in the world.


The open-boat journey

Shackleton’s boat party would be venturing into a storm-lashed world where constant gales powered heaving waves – the feared Cape Horn Rollers – that frequently topped 18 m (60 ft) from trough to crest.

They took the sturdiest of the three lifeboats, the James Caird (named after one of the expedition’s sponsors) and got the ship’s carpenter to further strengthen it. He raised the sides of the 6.9 m (22½ ft) long boat and added a makeshift deck of wood and canvas. He also fitted a mainmast and a mizzenmast with lugsails and a jib, sealed the craft with oil paints, lamp wick, and seal blood. Finally a ton (1,016 kg) of ballast was added to reduce the risk of capsizing.

Their target was ridiculously small and there was every chance that they would miss the island.

The navigation skills of the Endurance’s captain, Frank Worsley, would be vital if they were to reach South Georgia. Worsley was a New Zealander who had honed his navigation skills as a sailor among the tiny, remote islands of the South Pacific.

On 24 April 1916, Shackleton, Worsley and four other men pushed the James Caird out into the hard grey waters that pummelled Elephant Island. They had food for one month, two 70 litre (18 gallon) casks of water (one of which was damaged during the loading and let in sea water), two Primus stoves, paraffin, oil, candles, sleeping bags and ‘a few spare socks’.

The wind was a moderate southwesterly, but Shackleton ordered Worsley to set course due north, to get clear of the menacing ice-fields. As they progressed, the swell rose. By dawn, they were 45 nautical miles (83 km; 52 miles) from Elephant Island, sailing in heavy seas and Force 9 winds.

They worked in two three-man watches, with one man at the helm, another at the sails, and the third on bailing duty. It was hard going from the start: the men’s clothing had been designed for the dry cold of Antarctic sledging, and wasn’t waterproof. Icy seawater rubbed their skin raw. The only way to rest was huddled together in the tiny covered space in the bows.

Worsley’s job was difficult to the point of impossibility. To navigate accurately with his sextant he needed to make sightings of the sun. But this was very rarely visible, and when it was the high pitch and roll of the boat made it very hard to be accurate.

After two days, Worsley put them at 128 nautical miles (237 km; 147 miles) north of Elephant Island. They were clear of the dangers of fl oating ice but were now in the treacherous Drake Passage, a band of ocean where huge rolling waves sweep round the globe, unimpeded by any land. Shackleton now set a course directly for South Georgia.

After five days’ sailing they had travelled 238 nautical miles (441 km; 274 miles), but now the weather turned really bad. Heavy seas threatened to swamp the boat, and only continuous bailing kept it afl oat. It became so cold that spray began to freeze on the boat and the added weight threatened to capsize them. The men had to take turns to crawl onto the pitching deck to chip the ice off the deck and rigging with an axe.

For two whole days the wind was too high for them to raise the sail. But they kept going and by 6 May they were only 115 nautical miles (213 km; 132 miles) from South Georgia. But the two weeks of constant toil in atrocious conditions had worn them down. Two men were particularly weak, while a third had collapsed and was unable to perform any duties.

The next day, Worsley thought they were close to their goal but he advised Shackleton that he could be a few miles out. If they were too far north, they could be pushed right past the island by the fierce southwesterly winds. But they soon spotted seaweed and birds including land-loving cormorants, and just after noon on 8 May they saw land. Worsley was dead on and he had accomplished one of the most incredible feats of navigation in maritime history.

But, despite being so close to their journey’s end, the heavy seas made immediate landing impossible. For twenty-four agonizing hours they were forced to wait off shore in ‘one of the worst hurricanes any of us had ever experienced’. The vicious waves threatened to drive them onto the rocky South Georgia shore or the equally dangerous Annenkov Island, 8 km (5 miles) from the coast.

Finally, on 10 May, Shackleton knew that the weaker members of his crew would not last another day in the boat. They had to land, no matter how dangerous the conditions. They found as sheltered an area as they could, Cave Cove near the entrance to King Haakon Bay and, after several near fatal attempts, landed the James Caird.

They were on the uninhabited southwest coast. The whaling stations were still 150 nautical miles (280 km; 170 miles) round the coast. Shackleton’s plan had been to sail round, hugging the shore. But he knew that the boat wouldn’t make such a voyage; nor would two of the exhausted men. After a few days’ recuperation, he decided to traverse the island on foot and get help at Stromness. But no one had ever crossed the interior of South Georgia before.

Where no man had gone before

Early on 18 May Shackleton, Worsley and seaman Tom Crean left their three colleagues sheltering on a shingle beach under the upturned James Caird and started walking.

Because they had no map they had to improvise a route across mountain ranges and over glaciers. They had no camping equipment so they simply didn’t stop. They walked continuously for thirty-six hours before reaching the whaling station at Stromness.

By now they were at the edge of total exhaustion, their faces savaged by exposure and wind, their fingers and toes numb with frostbite. The Norwegian seamen must have been staggered to see, as Worsley wrote, ‘a terrible trio of scarecrows’, walking into their bunkhouse.

Later that same day, 19 May, the whalers sent a motor-vessel to King Haakon Bay to pick up the three other men from the James Caird. But the Antarctic winter had now set in, and it was more than three months before Shackleton could retrieve the twenty-two men they had left on Elephant Island. Finally, on 3 September 1916, every single man who had sailed on the Endurance reached the safe haven of Punta Arenas in Chile.

Two years later Shackleton headed back to Antarctica on another expedition. On 5 January 1922, he died suddenly of a heart attack in South Georgia.

The James Caird was brought back from South Georgia to England in 1919. It is on permanent display at Shackleton’s old school, Dulwich College.



8 Oct 2014

Collins 2015 Catalogue

Welcome to our shiny new, sea blue, Collins 2015 catalogue, which showcases our products across reference, dictionaries, language learning, games and revision.

http://resources.collins.co.uk.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/CollinsMapsBlog/Collins%20Catalogue%20ONLINE%20VERSION.pdf
New Collins 2015 Catalogue



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The big news is that we have new editions this autumn of our flagship books - The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World and Collins English Dictionary – which gives us good reason to be excited about the coming year. And in the rest of our range, we have titles ranging from railways to astronomy, and from bilingual dictionaries to new revision titles – all market-leading extensions of the already powerful Collins brand. As ever, you can trust Collins products to be packed with inspiration and expertise. We aim to place the user at the centre of a world of possibility and give them exactly what they need to explore it.

In this new catalogue we have sought to highlight great titles from across the Collins publishing range, including lots of Christmas opportunities from the History of the World in Maps to the Collins Little Book of Bananagrams. In home learning, we’re launching the delightfully engaging Letts Wild About series, which will cover all key areas of the new Key Stage 2 national curriculum.

General Reference
Reference
Revision and Home Learning
General Reference
World Heritage and Natural History
Railways Publications from The Times and Collins
Collins Astronomy with the Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Walking and Recreation
Ramblers Short Walks
Collins Nicholson Waterways Guides
Business Skills
Young Adult Reference
Scottish Interest
Scottish Maps and Atlases

Road Atlases
London Maps and Atlases
British Road Maps and Atlases
European Road Maps and Atlases
Irish Maps and Atlases

World Atlases
The Times Atlases and Maps
Collins World Atlases

Dictionaries
Collins Dictionaries – the comprehensive choice
English Dictionaries
Thesauruses
Combined Dictionaries & Thesauruses
English Language Reference
Easy Learning English
French
Easy Learning French
Spanish
Easy Learning Spanish
Italian
Easy Learning Italian
German
Easy Learning German
Chinese
Other Languages
Irish, Welsh and Scots

Language Learning
Fluent in 3 Months
Paul Noble Language Courses
Easy Learning Audio Courses
Phrasebooks

Scrabble, Crosswords, Puzzles & Games, Su Doku and Quizzes
Scrabble Dictionaries
Crosswords
Puzzles & Games
Su Doku
Quizzes

Children’s Reference, Dictionaries and Language Learning
Educational Maps and Atlases for Ages 4–11
Educational Maps and Atlases for Ages 11+
Children’s Maps and Atlases
Children’s Reference
Dictionaries and Thesauruses for Schools
Bilingual Dictionaries for Schools

Revision and Home Learning
Letts Monster Practice for ages 3-7
Letts Wild About for ages 7-11
Letts Success
Letts Fun Learning
Collins Easy Learning
Collins Practice
Letts 11+
Letts KS3 Revision
Collins KS3 Revision
Letts GCSE Revision
Collins GCSE Revision
A Level Textbooks
Belair and Primary School Resources
 
Keep up-to-date with the world of reference and revision through our Twitter and Facebook accounts (see page 1 in the catalogue), which include range developments, commentary, and book giveaways.

Download the Collins 2015 Catalogue (11.2 MD PDF)

15 Sep 2014

Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Collection 3

All the winning and shortlisted images from the 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, organized by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, are collected together in the Collins book of the same name.

Save over 30% off the RRP at www.waterstones.com. Enter code AS2014 to claim your discount*.

Here are a few of our favourite pictures from the book.

...


*Discount code AS2014 entitles you to buy Astronomy Photographer Of The Year Collection 3 (ISBN 9780434020522) by for £17.00 (RRP £25.00) at Waterstones.com. Discount code is valid from 12/09/2014 to midday 20/12/2014. One discount code to be used per transaction. Discount code cannot be used with any other voucher or coupon. Discount code can only be used at time of purchase and not retrospectively. This voucher can only be used on Waterstones.com and not in Waterstones stores. All prices onWaterstones.com are online only and may differ from Waterstones stores. Voucher Code not valid on Click and Collect.

25 Jun 2014

Mapping Le Tour: Exclusive poster competition

To celebrate the publication of the new edition of Mapping Le Tour, we have 15 posters of this year's route to give away, so you can follow the 101st edition of 'La Grande Boucle' from the comfort of your home/office/secret-bike-shed-your-other-half-doesn't-know-about...


To be in with a chance of winning, simply send the answer to this question to collinsmaps@harpercollins.co.uk by 1pm on Friday 27th June with the subject 'Mapping Le Tour Poster', along with a full postal address.

Question: In which year was the very first edition of the Tour de France?

The winners will be the first 15 correct answers we receive, so don't delay! Each winner will receive 1 poster. Unfortunately, this competition is only open to UK residents. Click here for terms and conditions.

Remember to follow us on Twitter @CollinsCycling and on Facebook at Facebook.com/collinscycling for more competitions, news and expert commentary during the Tour.

The new edition of Mapping Le Tour by top cycling journalist and author Ellis Bacon is fully updated to feature the 2014 race, including the three UK stages. With route maps and expert commentary on all 101 editions of the Tour de France to date, Mapping Le Tour tells the story of cycling's incredible relationship with the landscapes and geography of France, and also features a foreword by Mark Cavendish MBE.


***SPECIAL OFFER***

Get £4 off Mapping Le Tour, only at Waterstones.com. Click here for details.




19 Jun 2014

Finding Longitude: How clocks and stars helped solve the longitude problem

“…nothing is so much wanted and desired at sea, as the discovery of the longitude, for the safety and quickness of voyages, the preservation of ships, and the lives of men…”
The Longitude Act, 1714

2014 marks the tercentenary of the Longitude Act 1714. But with so much talk of 'longitude' in the news at the moment, what exactly is it, and why was discovering how to measure it at sea so important 300 years ago? Richard Dunn, co-curator of the National Maritime Museum's Ships Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude exhibition, and author of Finding Longitude, tells us more:
For any maritime nation, investment in long distance trade, outposts and settlements overseas made navigation, including the ability to determine a ship’s longitude, increasingly important. As nations including Spain, the Netherlands and France, sought to dominate the world’s oceans, each offered rewards for solving the longitude problem. But it was in Britain that the approach paid off as a result of the 1714 Longitude Act.
What is longitude?
Global position is described by two coordinates, latitude and longitude, measured in degrees. Lines of latitude measure positions north and south and run parallel to the equator. Lines of longitude run pole to pole and measure positions east and west. Latitude is easy to measure from the Sun. Longitude presents a bigger challenge.

Longitude solutions
Most proposals for finding longitude were based on the principle of time difference and aimed to allow sailors to determine the time at the reference point for comparison with their local time from the Sun. By 1714, the most promising ideas seemed to be to carry the reference time with a mechanical clock or to use astronomical observations to find it. Much effort had already gone into both methods. Accurate pendulum clocks existed by the early 18th century, but attempts to make them work at sea failed due to the motions of the ship and changes in humidity and temperature.

The Royal Observatory from the south-east, unknown artist, c.1770
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
On the astronomy side, Charles II founded the Royal Observatory in 1675 to carry out observations ‘to find out the so much desired longitude of places for the perfecting of the art of navigation’. If an accurate catalogue of the positions of the stars was made, the Moon’s motion relative to the stars could be used as a celestial clock to calculate Greenwich Time. This was known as the ‘lunar distance method’. In principle, sailors would measure the Moon’s position relative to a star and use tables of its predicted position to calculate the time at Greenwich (or another chosen reference). The problem was to predict the Moon’s complex motions and to perfect instruments to make the necessary observations.

The Longitude Act

In 1714, the British Government offered, by Act of Parliament, £20,000 for a solution which could find longitude to within half a degree (equivalent to 2 minutes of time), and a group later known as the Board of Longitude was set up to assess submissions and offer rewards. These experts included the Astronomer Royal at Greenwich and other scientific, maritime and political leaders.

The Solution(s)

One of the remarkable things about the longitude story is that two practical solutions were developed at the same time.
In the field of mechanical timekeeping, John Harrison, a working-class joiner and clockmaker with little formal education came closest to receiving the reward money through his extraordinary mechanical talent and determination, culminating in his marine timekeeper, H4. This would become the instrument known as the marine chronometer. At the same time, the work of John Hadley, German astronomer Tobias Mayer and others perfected the instruments and astronomical tables necessary for the lunar distance method.


Nevil Maskelyne, by John Russell, c.1776
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Greenwich was central to the story. Above all, Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne’s observations at the Royal Observatory, his work on the Nautical Almanac and the Board of Longitude demonstrated the complementary nature of astronomical and timekeeper methods, ultimately leading to the successful determination of longitude at sea. As solutions were developed, the Royal Observatory became a testing site for marine timekeepers and the place at which the astronomical observations needed for navigational tables were made. It was this work that would eventually lead to Greenwich becoming the home of the Prime Meridian, zero degrees longitude for the world.
Richard Dunn, Senior Curator for the History of Science and Curator of Ships Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude exhibition, Royal Museums Greenwich and Sheryl Twigg, Press & PR Manager, Royal Museums Greenwich
Finding Longitude, published by Collins, is the official publication of the National Maritime Museum's Ships Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude exhibition, which marks the tercentenary of the Longitude Act, and is available to buy now.

This article originally appeared on Longitudeprize.org.

4 Jun 2014

Planning D-Day: a story in maps


 ‘It won’t work, but you must bloody well make it.’
Lieutenant General Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

On 6 June, 1944 Allied forces launched Operation OVERLORD with the aim of landing a vast army of liberation in Nazi-occupied France. The assault phase of this - today known as the D-Day landings - was the largest amphibious assault in history, taking 156,000 men across the English Channel in more than 5,000 ships. Much of the planning for this event, one of the most iconic and defining missions of World War II, was prepared using detailed maps of the coast of France. Whilst many lives were lost during the assault, the precise planning of the operation was key to the eventual success of the mission.

These maps, show how many different types of mapping were used in organising Operation Overlord, helping the different armies to come together in one overwhelming, unified assault.

This summary map shows both the concentration of German forces in the Pas de Calais and the Allied approaches to Normandy.

Credit: US Army

A diagram showing how Mulberry components were gathered from separate fabrication sites and towed across the Channel by tugs for assembly. The Mulberry harbours were two artificial ports each enclosing an area the size of Dover docks, built to land men and machines to supply forces after D-Day. They were constructed from huge caissons, pier heads, block ships and floating roadways, all of which were towed across the Channel by a flotilla of tugs.

Credit: The National Archives

This summary map shows the division of forces between beaches and the location of warships in Operation Neptune. The ten blue shaded lanes are the paths cleared by minesweepers, the first vessels to approach.

Credit: HMSO

A plan of German batteries and artillery within the US sectors of Utah and Omaha. The US Navy laid down an immense barrage on German defences in the path of the landing troops. Here, grid references on the lower left hand table show the status and position of the German shore batteries and their arcs of fire. Red ink paths show the routes for inbound Allied ships.

Credit: US Army/The National Archives

This is the letter sent by General Montgomery to be read to troops, prior to landing on the shores of France.

Credit: The National Archives

These maps and the letter from General Montgomery are taken from D-Day, written by Richard Happer and Dr Peter Chasseaud, and published by Times Books. Published in October, it is available to buy now.

27 May 2014

Publishing Scotland's 40th Anniversary Exhibition

40 years of Scottish Publishing 1974 - 2014
Many book people gathered at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh on Friday 16 May to celebrate Publishing Scotland's four decades of supporting publishers in Scotland.
The exhibition includes information and examples of mapping from Collins & Bartholomew, Agatha Christie and the Collins Crime Club, Leckie and Leckie educational products and Collins dictionaries.
There are some pictures on the Publishing Scotland Facebook page.
The exhibition continues until Saturday 7 June.
You can see the exhibition panels in this exhibition PDF.

21 May 2014

Britain's Highest Mountain Walks


Summer has finally joined us, and it's time to make the most of the better conditions! We've asked mountaineer and Collins author Jeremy Ashcroft to give us his top tips for walking around Britain this summer.


The arrival of spring amongst Britain’s mountains heralds longer daylight hours, and if you are lucky, better weather! Once the snow has cleared from the tops, Britain’s highest mountains take on a slightly more benign character and at this time of year the easier routes up them are ideal candidates for family adventures. Suitable mountain walking skills are still required by the adults in the party and every family member will need to be equipped with appropriate footwear, warm and weatherproof clothing, and of course lots to eat and drink.

Next thing to think about is where to go. The highest peaks of England and Wales are respectively located in the Lake District and Snowdonia. For Scotland there are two groups: one in the west near Fort William, and the other in the east in the Cairngorms.

Helvellyn
Helvellyn in the Lake District is a perennial favourite and understandably so as it’s a fascinating mountain to climb. Famed for its dramatic ridges and deep north facing corries, its plateau-like summit is well positioned to take in all of the best views. However, there is no need to tackle Helvellyn’s narrow ridges head-on, you can admire them from afar, by-passing them by following the more gentle terrain of the Kepple Cove Track. The simplest thing to do is to follow the track out and back starting at Glenridding. Along the way you pass the old mines at Greenside, then above that a wide bridleway leads you though zig-zags on to the main ridge at Whiteside Bank. The broad path along the main crest then carries you high onto Helvellyn’s summit. The summit plateau feels like the deck of a huge aircraft carrier because it’s so level. If you look carefully, about 230m south of the summit shelter, you’ll find a plaque marking the landing and take off of an aeroplane in 1926.

Glyder Fawr
First time visitors to Snowdonia tend to make a bee-line for Snowdon. There's no arguing that it’s a fantastic mountain, but the best way to see it is not on it, but from one of its neighbours. By taking it in from an adjacent vantage point you get to see it in all its majestic glory. There are plenty of surrounding peaks to choose from. However, Glyder Fawr is perhaps the best. It stands close by, separated only by the yawning gap of Llanberis Pass and looks straight onto Snowdon’s craggy north and east facing flanks. Glyder Fawr itself is a fine mountain and part of a long dragon back ridge. For first timers, the route from Gwastadnant via Llyn y Cwn makes a pleasantly quiet approach.

Cairn Gorm
Scotland’s highest peaks generally have a bit more height than their English and Welsh neighbours, and thus hold snow longer, so caution needs to be exercised even in summer. Cairn Gorm with its high access point (thanks to the ski ground's car park) makes the best choice for a first foray. There is a well-marked track up through the ski grounds to the summit but this is best left for the descent as it's a bit enclosed. For ascent, the rounded lofty crest of Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais is a lovely route with superb views to both the towering cliffs of the Northern Corries and out across the wild expanse of the plateau towards Ben Macdui.

Britain's Highest Mountain Walks, by Jeremy Ashcroft, published by Collins, is available now.

About the author:
Jeremy Ashcroft is Mountaineering Editor at Trail magazine and author of numerous mountain bike guidebooks. He has completed all but a handful of the Munros, all the Wainwrights, and all significant summits in North Wales as well as being an experienced alpinist who has climbed over half the 4000m plus peaks. Jeremy has also climbed in the Himalayas, North Africa and the Caucasus and spent six years as a member of his local mountain rescue team.

7 May 2014

Railway Day Trips: London Paddington to Bath


A copy of 'Railway Day Trips' has been on a little adventure, to the beautiful city of Bath. Here is the journey description, with some photos kindly provided by Eva, Raf and Ben.

All ready to go!
The first part of our journey to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath follows the same route as the day trip to Oxford as far as Didcot. From here, the level route of Brunel’s broad-gauge line to Bristol is followed westwards along the Vale of White Horse through Steventon. After passing the sites of long-closed stations at Wantage Road and Challow, the famous Uffington White Horse can be seen on the northern slopes of Whitehorse Hill to the south before our diesel train speeds through Shrivenham on the approach to Swindon. 

"What shall we see now?"
Immediately west of Swindon station the remains of the vast GWR railway works (now a shopping outlet and museum) can be seen to the north. At Royal Wootton Bassett the more direct route to the Severn Tunnel and South Wales continues westwards while the original Brunel route heads off in a southwesterly direction to Chippenham. Trains soon reach Thingley Junction (for Melksham and Trowbridge) before entering Box Tunnel – this Brunel masterpiece was opened in 1841 and at 1.83 miles in length was then the longest railway tunnel in the world. The shorter Middle Hill Tunnel soon follows before the railway descends to the Avon Valley at Bathampton Junction, where it is joined from the south by the scenic route along the valley to Bradford-on-Avon and Westbury. The approach to Bath extends along a low viaduct giving fine views of the city, before the railway finally crosses the River Avon at the eastern end of the station. From here it is but a short walk into the city centre.

Railway Day Trips, RRP £14.99 is available for just £10 from Waterstones.com, using discount code 'RD2014'. Click here to redeem your copy now. See terms and Conditions below.

"Now, how do we get home?!"


About the author:
Julian Holland has always had a fascination with Britain’s railways. He is a writer and photographer of many railway books, including the highly acclaimed and award-winning The Times Mapping the Railways (HarperCollins, 2011), The Times Exploring Britain’s Lost Railways (HarperCollins, 2013) and Dr Beeching’s Axe 50 Years On (David & Charles, 2013). Railway Day Trips is available both as a paperback (9780007497157) and as an ebook (9780007549696).

Terms and Conditions
Discount code RD2014 entitles you to buy Railway Day Trips (ISBN 9780007497157) by Julian Holland for £9.99 (RRP £14.99) at Waterstones. com. Discount code is valid to midday on 16/08/2014. Discount can only be used once per person. One discount code to be used per transaction. Discount code cannot be used with any other voucher or coupon. Discount code can only be used at time of purchase and not retrospectively. This voucher can only be used on Waterstones.com and not in Waterstones stores. All prices on Waterstones.com are online only and may differ from Waterstones stores. Voucher code not valid on Reserve and Collect.