Guest Post: 7 Reasons The Peak District Should Not Be Called the Peak District
1. It is not called the Peak District because of mountain peaks. I know. Everyone thinks that. And you would do wouldn’t you? You think of Postman Pat style meandering uppy-downiness and little rows of mini-peaks when you think of The Peak District. But, actually, that’s got nothing to do with it. In reality the name derives not from its bumpy topography but instead from an Anglo Saxon tribe called the Pecsaetan, who settled in the area circa 600 AD. So now you know. Still wrong though, isn’t it?
2. There are more plateaus than peaks. In fact, if you have ever taken the dreaded Snake Pass from Sheffield to Glossop across the top of the Peak District then you know, yes, it’s a twisty old deathtrap in winter. But, one thing you do notice is that it does go up a bit, and the drop next to the road can get a little hair-raising, but mostly you are surrounded big wide plateaus with the odd tiny hill dotted here and there. The Plateau District sounds like a concept album by a prog-rock band though, so it can’t be called that, granted.
3. Without it, Peak Practice wouldn’t have existed. No-one even really knows this was actually set in the Peak District despite the name. Go on ask someone near you now. No-one makes the connection. They just think – “ah yes a rural doctors drama like the Flying Doctors but set in the mountains instead of the outback.” Or maybe that was just me, either way it wasn’t a great show and without it we could have less of Kevin Whateley’s mug on TV which is a good thing, I feel.
4. Even the cottages don’t have peaked roofs. As nice, picturesque and attractive as it is, even the architecture of the area doesn’t really chime with the name. The cottages and housing style range from the regency to Victorian and are often made of the white-stone limestone which is very nice indeed but there no peaks to be viewed here either which could have been a get-out clause after the lack of mountainous peaks. But no.
5. “Peaks” makes you think of Twin Peaks (but it’s just not weird). Anything with ‘Peak’ in its title makes you think of David Lynch’s masterwork of rural oddity, ghostliness and murder in the borderlands of North America. However, the Peak District is just not weird. Everyone just gets on with their lives, and live in comfy houses in cosy, chocolate box villages. There are no Indian burial grounds, no dwarves speaking backwards in red and black rooms and no Log Ladies. Just Bakewell Tarts and tea shops. And, sorry, but they are not weird.
6. The ‘Peaks’ here are round and gentle not harsh and triangular. The High Peak is simply not what its name claims it to be and is therefore not just misleading but an actual lie. Moreover, peaks are normally jagged, pointy and triangular. They are not gently sloping hillocks or large estates like this one.
7. Reinhold Messner wouldn’t climb it. Think about it for a second. ‘Peaks’ are climbed by grizzled, weather-burned and frost-bitten mountaineers like Reinhold Messner who yearn for brutal weather systems, punishing terrain and odds stacked against them. ‘Peaks’ are not slowly ambled along by office workers seeking a little fresh air at the weekend finishing off with a slice of cake and a cup of English breakfast. And that is the ultimate acid test of a peak. So there.