Colin Speakman, the man responsible for creating the Dales Way is well known both at home and abroad as the author of over 50 books about the countryside including the best selling guide to the Dales Way.
He is less well known perhaps as a poet but his latest collection demonstrates both his poetic skill and his love of the landscape.
Of all the 28 poems in “People in a Landscape” one of my favourites is “Wharfedale”. It’s a beautiful, lyrical description of the valley that Dales Way walkers know and love so well.
Starting in the north where cloud and fell merge to mist the poem follows the river through Langstrothdale to the broad green floor of a glacier planed valley and the foam-white power of destruction that is the Strid, to emerge all anger relented at Bolton Abbley where priors, dukes, came to dream, their ruins an echo, fading, of time.
It’s a depiction that is both recognisable but elevated, taking the reader on a journey not just through Wharefdale but through the passion that Colin has for this deep and secret place, a love that surely motivated him to create the Dales Way nearly 50 years ago.
People in a Landscape is available for £4.50 from Gritstone Publishing