By Tom Dare
THE BREATHTAKING beauty of one of the UK’s most iconic national parks has been captured in a stunning new book aimed at helping visitors make the most of their visits to the Peak District.
Pictures from ‘Photographing the Peak District’ by Chris Gilbert and Mick Ryan show gushing waterfalls and fog-covered peaks, as they attempt to provide a helpful guide for anyone wishing to capture the national park in all its glory.
Other pictures show the ruins of an old mine, while another shot sees a daughter of one of the authors sitting on the Felicity tree, which he named after her during his time photographing it.
The book is a labour of love, with authors and photographers Mick Ryan and Chris Gilbert spending hours upon hours covering as much of the park as possible to capture as many incredible shots as they could.
And Mick says that one of the things he loves most is the diversity on display in a relatively small space.
“The Peak District has big diversity of beautiful places in a small area, you never have to travel far,” he said.
“It’s no surprise that it was the UKs first national park. I know it well, having walked and climbed there since the 80s. It’s not only wild up on the moors, but also soft and rural with farmhouses and villages. There are sparking rivers and streams, wooded dales and towering cliffs, and it’s rich with wildlife.
“I like getting out when the light and weather is good for walking and photography. The Peak District is split into the Dark Peak – an area of moorland and gritstone cliffs; and the White Peak, a more rural area with lots of farms and drystone walls, villages and churches – but also deep limestone gorges that take your breath away.
“If I had to choose two favourite spots it would be the waterfall of the Kinder Downfall and the beautiful Vale of Dale, a beautiful hidden valley.”
So, what was it that inspired Mick and Chris to put the book together for future visitors of the area?
“Our primary aim as authors and publishers of photo-location and visitor guidebooks is one of inspiring others to get outside to beautiful places but equally we provide the tools to do that,” says Mick.
“It’s not just a book of pretty pictures but includes specific directions, maps and co-ordinates to help you get to beautiful places – there’s over 500 locations in the Peak book.
“We also include information on the best seasons and times to visit a place and whether they are wheelchair friendly. There’s lots of tips on how to take great photographs too, whether you are using your phone or a high-end DSLR camera.
“I think to an extent it’s a little under-appreciated, as it doesn’t have the grandeur of the Lake District’s big mountains and lakes at every turn.
“But there so much more beauty in the Peak District from ancient villages and churches, high moorland and cliffs, and deep limestone dales.
“Mountainous and coastal areas do get more press than inland areas, but that’s because the beauty is more obvious and easily seen – in the Peak you have to know where to go.”