A historic tour of the Peak

IMG_20160106_174328786A little while ago, while rummaging around on eBay, I picked this cool little guidebook to the Peak District. It was published by the Manchester Evening News in 1934, with the author given as simply ‘The Rambler’. I can’t see any indication as to who this mysterious (hopefully caped) hiking-superhero is – surely this is before even the great Roly Smith’s time though?! The introduction gives a little description showing some of the access context of the day however – apologising to landowners in advance for any transgressions in the routes and giving some token effort to encouraging readers to comply with any requests to divert from the shown route if requested. Maybe this was why the author’s name must be kept slightly underwraps?

I haven’t had time to read too deeply into the routes and see how they match up to modern walks. The descriptions and maps don’t link great in the text, making a skim read difficult. Check out the note to this effect in the image advising the reader to, ‘see map elsewhere’! They didn’t go overboard on the clues as to where… It’s also a touch fragile in its old age, so I’ve been trying to be gentle with it.

One route that did jump out however was a great plan for a multi-day hike across the Peak. Most of the shorter routes in the book get a full description, whereas each day on the tour gets only a basic paragraph. But this gives plenty of scope for adapting it to the modern path network around the region.

IMG_20160106_174354105
7 Day Tour of the Peak from 1934 ‘Rambles in the Peak District’ book

I’d love to have the time to walk this route as a long-distance walk, and update it with new directions. I considered making it a new year resolution, but that would only damn it to failure! It does look a great hike though, taking in a broad sweep of the best bits of the Peak. These days you might need to rebadge it as a White Peak tour – it doesn’t stray north of the Great Ridge’s dividing line between White & Dark Peaks.

What does anyone think? Can you suggest potential routes to keep this faithful but but to date? Would a new tour take in the Dark Peak too – or do we just need a second tour for that?!

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