Review of ‘Discovering Derbyshire's White Peak’, by Tom Bates

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 20th August 2001, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by Tom Bates
ISBN 1-901587-11-8 (2001)

This is one of those rare books in which the author succeeds in putting your own feelings and thoughts into the written word. Anyone with a deep appreciation of the White Peak - surely all who have ever set foot in its lovely limestone villages or followed its paths and roads - will be able to close their eyes and picture one scene after the other.

Author Tom Bates takes exuberant and contagious pleasure in his literary tour, encompassing a couple of dozen villages on and off the glorious Limestone Way and gathering en route those snippets which come only through chatting with the locals. Little escapes his curiosity and he branches off into lesser-known regions, literally and otherwise, to tell us many a good yarn. Such random snippets include the old market town which boasts a Bloody Bones Barn, a village where royal refugees found a welcome after the 1917 Russian Revolution and another village which has a connection with the MacDougal family of flour fame. Better still, the book creates a permanent record of places as they are today, with tributes to village shops, pubs, restaurants and tearooms.

Front Cover

Not only has Tom Bates given himself plenty of time to walk and talk but he draws on other skills too, bringing scenes to life with poetry, prose and personal recollections. He is also responsible for producing the fine selection of a hundred unique photographs used for illustration. Here is a writer who has a skill for conveying his own delight in the tranquillity, the sense of remoteness from urban civilisation, and the unique and ruggedly handsome character of our wonderful White Peak.

Review by Julie Bunting

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