Images of Isolation
The Peak District is a remarkable place to live, to work and to visit. The landscape is dramatic and is a fitting birth place of the right to roam in England. However, it holds a darker wilder side when the weather turns.
Englands first national park, the Peak District is home to both serious rambling routes such as the Pennine Way, as well as the Monsall Trail that is open to wheelchair users. In summer months the park can be full of day trippers and tourists, especially around the better known spots. Bakewell and Buxton (not strictly on the Peak) are thriving on the yearly deluge of visitors.
The park has such diverse attractions. Where else in the UK would you have Ladybower Reservoir and the Dam Busters, Chatsworth House, Haddon Hall, Eyam the plague village and Bakewell puddings all within a few miles of each other? In addition, Mam Tor has built up a range of activities you can take part in from hand gliding to rock climbing. Caves, Edges, high peaks, stepping stones and ancient forests are all features of the area.
During winter things change
As the tourist numbers dwindle and the cold sets in the Peak becomes a different beast altogether. Freezing conditions close off roads during winter months. Even the main roads such as the Snake Pass. Peaks that were easy to stroll up during a summers afternoon become treacherous in driving snow and wind.
The Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation was set up in the 1960's after a series of fatalities on the Peak. There are a number of teams that deal with emergencies. Teams at Edale, Kinder and Buxton are among the busiest. Every year there are more callouts as people head out without really knowing what they are doing.
Isolation on the Peak
These four images were captured during a blizzard on the Peak. I was well prepared and safe, yet as I took these photos there was still danger. Having made my way to the various trees I set up and captured each one. Visibility was only a few yards so knowing where I was was important. There is no point using a compass on your mobile phone in these conditions. Your fingers are too cold to register on the touch screen (if it even works).
Four two of the images I was steadily sinking as I took the photos. The group was water logged and what looked like firm ground soon gave way to sinking marsh.
These images are my reminder that the great outdoors is not a play thing and should always be treated with respect.
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