New focus on classic walk

Karen Frenkel at work near her Peak District home.
Karen Frenkel at work near her Peak District home.

AN ACCLAIMED Peak District landscape photographer has put a new focus on Alfred Wainwright’s famous ‘Coast to Coast’ walk — nearly 40 years since the elegant concept of the 190-mile route across the north of England was first devised.

The Coast to Coast Walk by Karen Frenkel is a beautifully photographed hardback celebrating the magnificent unique landscape of the popular walk from St Bee’s Head on the Irish Sea to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea; and its enduring popularity.

Karen Frenkel in her Peak District studio.

Karen Frenkel in her Peak District studio.

Featuring 140 colour photographs, The Coast to Coast Walk highlights the changes in light, landscape and weather throughout the seasons along the route.

The photography is accompanied by illustrations and detailed captions covering both Karen’s experiences and information about the area.

“It was wonderful to explore and capture this beautiful and changing landscape at different times of the year,” said Karen, who lives in Little Hucklow.

“The best way when photographing landscapes is to capture them in the different seasons. There was no point doing the entire Coast to Coast route, which usually takes two weeks, and photographing the landscapes all at the same time.

“I expected to find parts of the route that were boring or ugly, but I didn’t. The route was very well designed by Wainwright, and the Eden Valley in particular was a real eye-opener.”

For Karen, the Coast to Coast route passes close to many places which are special to her, having spent family holidays as a child in the Lake District, and for a brief time living on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. It also includes a number of photographs which are very personal to her: cottages at Seatoller, an amazing view of the Eden Valley, and Swaledale.

And inspiration for her book came from the famous fell walker himself.

“My parents used to follow his Lake District books avidly, but I don’t think I really appreciated the work that went into his books until I started this project,” admitted Karen.

“I also didn’t realise the impact the route has had on the economy up there, creating industry and tourism. Wainwright in his own right has created wealth.”

She added: “My book is not a route guide, more a keepsake, but with a little bit of information for people planning to attempt the walk. Many people who do the walk usually find themselves rushing along, or the weather is rubbish, and they do not get a chance to truly enjoy the scenery, especially at different times of the seasons.

“Certainly it has inspired me to go back there, take more photographs and do the walk like everyone else does, over two weeks.”

Karen’s previous book for Frances Lincoln, Peak Landscape and Light, was highly commended in the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild Awards for the Best Outdoor Book category in October 2011.

* The Coast to Coast Walk by Karen Frenkel is published by Frances Lincoln Limited, priced £16.99.