Peak Panorama: Kinder Scout to Dovedale
Author: W. A. Poucher
Publisher: Chapman & Hall
Price: out of print; secondhand prices vary
By modern standards the reproduction of photographs in this book is awful. They are monochrome, grainy and poor in contrast. But then this edition was published in 1946 and mass printing technology was nothing like what we have today!
That said, the black and white images are beautifully composed and to my mind provide a fantastic portrait of the Peak District as it looked over 60 years ago. The images appear very sharp, and very carefully considered and exposed. I am familiar with many of the views in the book and in many cases can see the difference between 1946 and today. The completion of the Derwent Valley reservoirs being a particularly poignant case given the comments in the book - at the time the book was written Derwent Reservoir was not yet full!
The book is a good read and is a personal account of the author's trips and walks in the Peak District. His comments about the accessibility of parts of the area make good reading, again given the changes that have taken place over the last several decades. He refers to the fact that walking across much of the High Peak area was trespassing (and compares this with the Lake District where access was open). How times have changed given that so much of this area is now open access and easily accessible.
Areas covered in the book include the classic destinations across the Peak District - Edale, the Great Ridge, Kinder, Dovedale, Lathkill Dale, Cressbrook and several others.
A Google search for W A Poucher reveals a good number of other books, many about the Lake District but sadly no more about the Peak District. The book is of course long out of print and will probably need to do a bit of searching should you want a copy. I found mine at Kirkland Books of Kendal.
I thoroughly recommend the book as it is both as good read and contains 85 photographs. The images are all thought through and not snapshots - far from it. The photographic data at the end of the book notes that all pictures were taken with a Leica IIIa, 50mm Summitar f2 or 35mm Elmar f3.5 lenses, yellow and orange filters and Panatomic X film. I wonder if modern image processing software can reproduce the characteristics of that film!
As a sidenote I have been replicating, as far as practical, many of the images used in the book as my In Poucher's Footprints project.