It's years since I was last in Yorkshire so I've been hunting for my old maps and guides. My favourite disintegrated long ago - a nice little pocket walking guide - but I found an immaculate copy of Poucher's The Peak and Pennines. I see that I was given it for Christmas in 1982, my first winter in Yorkshire as a student. Though it was written in 1966, my edition was from 1978 so it must have seemed reasonably modern to someone. I didn't use it much because it turned out to be a guide to how to find the best rock outcrops, and I've always been a walker rather than a climber.
However, it's splendid.
It's wonderfully formal, and as an early 21st century reader it's easy to laugh at the tone. But I rather like the respect Poucher has for his reader, even if not many of us would follow his advice:
'Clothes are perhaps a matter of personal taste, and there are still a few climbers who delight in wearing their oldest cast-off suits, often intentionally with brilliant patches as a decoration!'
'String Vests worn next to the skin have reduced the risks of cold, and by their use the number of pullovers can be cut down considerably.
'Leg Gear is a matter of personal taste; some climbers swear by trousers while others prefer plus twos. I have found the latter more comfortable and in addition they allow more freedom about the feet. The material from which they are made is another consideration. Many have a preference for corduroy, but I do not care for it because it is made of cotton and therefore cold to the skin, and when it gets very wet the material acts like a sponge and retains an excess of moisture. The weight about the legs then increases and is attended by much discomfort.'What you should wear, of course, is tweed. And on your head?
Headgear has changed considerably in many years, and the feathered, velour Austrian hat is seldom seen nowadays.'Instead, Poucher recommends either a 'Bob-Cap' or 'an old-fashioned Balaclava Helmet', both of which I can admit to wearing still.
I shall of course be taking a compass, as Poucher recommends. But I've never heard of anyone carrying an aneroid to help forecast the weather and obtain (Poucher's style is infectious) a rough approximation of altitude.
Finally, I shall be looking out for 'Brocken spectres' and 'Glories'. A Brocken spectre, Poucher tells me, is your own gigantic shadow on the surface of mist - usually you're standing above the mist, perhaps on a ridge, looking down on the mist in a coombe below you - and Glories are coloured rings around such a shadow. I've seen Brocken spectres, but never Glories - and I'd no idea they had such lovely names. The forecast is for sunshine, but at least if it's wrong and mist comes over the moor I'll have my compass, spectres and glories for company.