Someone asked me the other day how I write a Peak District guide book. The question took me aback somewhat, I had to think about an answer. Put simply; I go out on a walk and when I get home I write where I have been.
Then I thought of all the things that lay behind that. The books that are hunted down in the research. Talking to people about an area. Historical and geological websites to spend hours getting lost in. Old maps to peruse and old newspaper cuttings to view. Public archives to spend days in.
Then there are the days spent wandering around an area, looking at rock graffiti. Churches, church yards and old abandoned buildings to crawl over and imagine what it was like for the people who built these places.
Some of the best days are when I trace the old ways across the land, walk in the footsteps of the Jaggers and quarrymen, peat cutters and farmers. The old saltways and the millstone trails. Sit by the quarries and listen to the ghosts hewing out the stone. Stand in a churchyard looking out onto where navvies were buried without, and wondering how someone could do that to a human being.
The best days include all of this plus a good old chat with walkers. Some of my most memorable walks have been when I have met up with groups of people and just chatted.
All of this goes into a book, and what doesn’t goes into a blog or on social media.
That’s how I write a Peak District guide book.