Worth watching out for.
- John Cleare
While other publishers may be churning out titles to complete a country-by-country list, we've concentrated on providing travellers with information either to a region or country where no other guide is available - Azerbaijan, for example - or else more detailed and useful information on a route for which there may already be a guide (eg Coast to Coast Path).
Our list includes the British Walking Guides series (eg Coast to Coast Path, Cotswold Way, Hadrian's Wall Path, Offa's Dyke Path, Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path, Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Pennine Way, South-West Coast Path, South Downs Way, The Ridgeway, West Highland Way), trekking guides (eg Kilimanjaro, The Inca Trail, Everest, Moroccan Atlas, Nepal, New Zealand, Corsica, Tour du Mont Blanc, The Walker's Haute Route, Dolomites) rail guides (Trans-Siberian Handbook, Japan by Rail, Trans-Canada) and adventure travel guides (Overlanders' Handbook, Sahara Overland, Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, Morocco Overland, The Silk Roads, Azerbaijan, Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook, Himalaya By Bike). And now literary anthologies about travel and journeys: The Walker's Anthology and The Railway Anthology.
Our guidebooks are strong on practical information but do not neglect the cultural background. We give you all the best accommodation and eating options and also advise on what's worth seeing and what's better to avoid.
We tell you how to get there, what to pack and what to read before you go. There is comprehensive background information on history, climate, food, and the people. Detailed sections are included on the environment, particularly in the trekking guides, each of which has a detailed Minimum Impact Trekking chapter.
We firmly believe that a good guidebook must have good maps, specifically tailored to the reader's needs. For our walking and trekking guides we create our own maps to the most useful scale and showing the kind of information such as walking times and places to stay or eat, not usually found on maps.
Trailblazer authors have a voice. Our authors are travellers first and authors second, and we're a small company not an international conglomerate.
These books are opinionated; we let the author's voice show through in each guide. They tell it like it is - bad as well as good.
Above all, however, we think that a guidebook should inspire the reader to travel and encourage him or her to interact with local people. Our guides are entertaining as well as informative. In the words of one reviewer, Trailblazer guides are examples of: 'Good guides (that) read like a novel and get you packing in no time'.
Trailblazer was started in 1991 by traveller and author, Bryn Thomas. In his travels since the early 1980s he has used a lot of guidebooks but he has often found that, for the places that interest him most, current guides are either too generalised in their coverage or else they do not exist at all.
In 1985, after a few months' teaching English in Japan, Bryn took the Trans-Siberian railway back to Britain and realised that with many travellers using the train as an interesting means to travel between Europe and Asia, there was a need for a practical guidebook. After doing the journey twice more and spending six months researching Siberian history in the British Library, he wrote the Trans-Siberian Handbook. The first edition of this book was published by Travel & Cartographic publisher Roger Lascelles in 1988.
The second edition of the guide was published under the newly-formed imprint in 1991, as Trailblazer's founding title.
From the beginning our aim has been to produce quality guidebooks to adventurous destinations. By 1993, although we had just four titles, they were receiving considerable critical acclaim. We were the only travel publisher to be able to claim that 50% of our titles had been shortlisted for the prestigious Thomas Cook Travel & Guide Book Awards. These were our two rail titles: Trans-Siberian Handbook (now in its 9th edition) and Silk Route by Rail (now developed and expanded into The Silk Roads).