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[personal profile] carihunter
Seeing as I finally have a bit of space to breathe (first round of edits are back with my editor and I have almost two weeks off work!) I thought I would try and set the scene for Snowbound a little...

And by setting the scene, I really mean, setting the scenery... 

Before I started working with the ambulance service, I'd never set foot in the Peak District, and before I met my lovely wife, I'd never really set my foot into a pair of walking boots. By happy coincidence, one of the stations in my group was nestled in a village right in the heart of the Peaks. It was a beautiful place to work, and having bought a few guide books and a big ol' Ordanance Survey map, my partner (a Londoner by birth) and I set out to explore.

That was almost ten years ago. We've marched up a lot of hills since then, sunk up to our knees in a lot of bogs, clambered up the ancient stones, and defended our sandwiches from the sheep. We've been snowed on, hailed on, rained on, and watched storms blow in across the valleys. We've been wild swimming in baking heat. We got lost once on a path we'd walked countless times, when the fog came down so suddenly and so thickly that everything looked completely alien and familiar landmarks were swallowed up in an instant. 

When it came to writing Snowbound, setting the novel in the Peak District was one of the easiest things to decide upon. Most of the novel takes place in a fictional village at the foot of Kinder Scout, the highest plateau in the Peak District. The walking routes up and along Kinder are not for the faint hearted - there are no sign posts, occasionally there are no actual paths, and more often than not they are water-logged and windswept. Having walked in Switzerland which is so much more civilised in its accommodation of hikers, the Peak District is like an unruly elder sibling; if you can't read a map or use a compass and you aren't prepared to get wet, stay at ground level! However, if you like your scenery with a hint of bleak and you manage to scramble up there, the rewards are usually well worth it:

photo of Kinder summit from: micsdigitalimages.co.uk

(Image pinched from micsdigitalimages.co.uk because he takes a far better picture than I do!) 

Being quite cruel, I not only shoot one of my main characters but I then go and get her stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a snowstorm, in a barn a lot like this one:



Don't be fooled by this innocent looking little critter, Kinder Scout sheep are notorious hard nuts who will mug you for your butties and then attempt to herd you over the edge.**



Jacob's Ladder is a steep, seemingly endless, and really quite knackering old packhorse route leading up to the Southern edge of Kinder:



The start of the ladder itself. This photo in no way does justice to the steepness of the path! The rocks up high on the right are where you're ultimately heading.



Ancient rock formations on Kinder. These are known as the Woolpacks because, well, they look like woolpacks ;-) Great for climbing on to have your picnic, and easily defended against sheep.



Back when I started to write Snowbound, I wondered if the extreme weather conditions I was describing were a little too exagerrated. England did get snow but not to the extent that it caused too many problems. That was back then. The last two years have seen more snowfall than I remember in my lifetime, causing all the chaos you would expect in a tiny country that is more accustomed to rain and moderate temperatures. I almost wonder if I brought it on myself! But then, it's so beautiful when it happens that it's hard to complain...



** May actually be an urban myth. But forewarned is forearmed... :-) 


Date: 2011-09-10 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sunsetwriter.livejournal.com
Lovely photos! If your intent was to make us even more anxious to read the book - it worked!

The photo of the start of Jacob's Ladder looked like quite a nice stroll until you pointed out the final destination. *gasp* Makes me tired and sore just thinking about making that trek.

Thanks for the virtual tour. I'm highly anticpating reading Snowbound.

Date: 2011-09-11 08:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carihunter.livejournal.com
Thank you! I didn't mean to make you all anxious ;-) I've had the photos sitting around for ages and this is the first chance I've had to put them up.

Don't be fooled by that gentle-looking gradient on that Jacob's photo. It's a real slog. Then you get to the top and realise it's a false summit - turn to the right and Kinder's still quite a way above you up another path! Sneaky little hills they are.

Thanks for the virtual tour. I'm highly anticipating reading Snowbound.

You're very welcome. I'm getting excited myself. Dead happy with the editing and it's off to the printer next month.

I think the next post here might be an English to American Translation Guide ;-)

Date: 2011-09-11 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sunsetwriter.livejournal.com
Oh, but it's anxious in a good way! :-)

Date: 2011-09-12 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carihunter.livejournal.com
:-) Oh, that's all right then!

Date: 2011-09-12 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sunsetwriter.livejournal.com
Maybe 'eager' would have been a better word to use than 'anxious'. Or maybe I need to read your upcoming translation guide! ;-)

I not only speak 'American', I speak 'southern American'. It's a whole different world down here sometimes! :-D

Date: 2011-09-13 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carihunter.livejournal.com
LOL. I speak Northen English, a whole different language to that wot is spoken by our Queen! I tried to behave myself in the novel, but I think a few colloquialisms might have slipped on through the net, regardless of my efforts...

Snowbound

Date: 2011-11-28 03:01 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
What gorgeous photos...am just starting the book and it's lovely..thanks for both, the photos and the book

Re: Snowbound

Date: 2011-11-28 04:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carihunter.livejournal.com
You are very welcome on both counts. Oh goodness, I really do hope you enjoy the book, be sure to let me know :-)

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