Interview: Award-winning author reveals all about new landscape book - which includes stunning Peak District images

Award-winning author Roly Smith is certainly living up to his nickname.

Saturday, 5th March 2016, 10:00 am
Award-winning author Roly Smith, of Bakewell.

Dubbed ‘Mr Peak District’, the 73-year-old has teamed-up with one of Britain’s leading landscape photographers Joe Cornish to publish his latest book ‘This Land’.

The book is an exploration of 50 of the most amazing landscapes - which includes outstanding images of the Peak District in all its glory.

“This is the book I have always wanted to do,” said Roly, who has lived in Bakewell for 30 years.

Work started on the book two years ago.

Roly contacted Cornish as, in his opinion, he is the best landscape photographer in Britain.

“I emailed him and asked if he fancied doing it and he said yes,” Roly told the Matlock Mercury.

“It is a joint book. I have done the words and he did the pictures.

“It is a combination of my favourite places and Joe’s favourite places. I had to leave some of my favourites out and so did Joe, we had to compromise.

“The pictures are outstanding.”

Currently, Roly is the commissioning editor for Frances Lincoln publishing, a freelance writer, editor and media consultant, and the author of more than 80 books on walking and the countryside.

He took voluntary retirement in 1997 after 13 years as head of information services with the Peak District National Park so he could concentrate on his freelance writing.

He had previously worked as a journalist for 20 years, starting in East Anglia and finishing at the Birmingham Post & Mail.

Roly has been married to wife Val for 48 years, and has three children - Claire, Neil and Iain - and three grandchildren - Amy, Chloe and Holly.

“Me and Joe have visited all the places pictured in the book,” Roly said.

“Joe is particularly strong on Scotland, I was keen to use pictures of the Peak District where I have lived for 30 years.

“It was very nice to take him and show him my favourite places, particularly Kinder Scout and Magpie Mine.”

He added: “The book relays a lot of our personal experiences at these places.”