Mike Lundy: Writing bestsellers for 21 years

Mike Lundy. Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula

Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula - Eighth edition 2012

Mike Lundy has being writing guide books for 21 years and they continue to be some of the best guides around – especially for those looking to explore Cape Town’s beautiful mountains in a safe way.

Mikes latest offering is an old classic, Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula. This is the eighth edition and is full of useful information, from safety to geology, as well as 30 of the best hikes you can do in Cape Town.

14 Years ago I started discovering the Cape Town mountains using Mike’s books and found them to be an excellent way to find my mountain feet and be adventurous at the same time. Nothing has changed and I have now walked many of these classics numerous times and taken hundreds of hikers on these well worn but beautiful routes. I seldom still use the guide but when I was a novice – they provided step by step instructions, providing me with a fantastic grounding to explore further, as well as hours of hiking enjoyment.

I caught up with Mike and had a few questions for him.

What made you decide to write your first book all those years back?
I had been very involved with Round Table, at national and international level. When they kicked me out at age 40 (a prerequisite of membership) I found myself at a loss, and after a couple of years started writing a gossip column for the local rag (Sentinel News). Included in the column was a monthly hike description in and around Hout Bay. I soon kept bumping into people on the mountain with my articles pasted into an exercise book. I realised there was a need and so “Twenty Walks around Hout Bay” was born (1985) Self published. Will never do that again! Five years later (1991) with encouragement from friends I wrote “Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula”. This time published by a professional (Struik).

Is it difficult writing guide books – the attention to detail is so important?
Not difficult if you are a complete freak on minute detail. My wife says I’m a nutter…. I count oncoming cars at stop/go road blocks, lemons on a tree….. anything!

Do you rewalk all the hikes in the book each time you bring out a new edition? Yes. Absolutely MUST do. Everything changes; even mountains.

You’ve kind of stuck to the same walks – did you not want to introduce any new walks to the latest edition?
Did that from time to time. The 1st Edition only had 22 hikes in it. 4th Edition 26. Last couple of Editions 30 hikes

Do you still hike as much as you used to?
Sadly no. With a heart condition at 71,going on 72,  I walk around the mountains, not up them. (See “Easy Walks in the Cape Peninsula’!)  The last two editions of “Best Walks” were thanks to my friend Brian Georgeson re-walking and checking every hike, then passing the handwritten changes to me.

Any new books in the pipeline?
No. The last one published two years ago is entitled “Scenic Day Drives from Cape Town”. Sort of gives away the encroaching age doesn’t it?  But I’m pleased to say my youngest son Timothy is following firmly in my footsteps. He is a qualified mountain guide and busy writing “Walks with Grandad”

Do you do any other writing? The very occasional Mag article when asked.

Best Walks is published by Randomstruik

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