Q&A with Best Phone Photo 2021 winner Simon Walkden

28 October 2021

Simon Walkden's amazing phone photo of Hope Valley in Peak District National Park saw voted the winner of the Best Phone Photo category in the Campaign for National Parks Photography Competition 2021. We chatted to Simon to find out more...

What prompted you to enter the photo competition?

Well, I love the National Parks in the UK and live just on the edge of the Peak District, work in the Peak District, in the market town of Bakewell, and spend most of my spare time running and taking photos in it! My favourite place to travel in England is the Lake District, another spectacular National Park.

How did you choose what images to put forward?

I wanted to select an image which met the brief (climate change), but also showcased what beautiful landscape we have within our National Parks. Hopefully both messages came across in the photo which was chosen for the shortlist. 

A big thank you to everyone who voted for me and who enjoy seeing the photos I post from the Peak District on my social media accounts (@mazymixer on Twitter and @simon_walkden on Instagram).

Tell us about how/where/when you took the image?

The photo was taken last November on a beautiful Saturday morning. I was convinced that conditions were right for a temperature inversion and dragged my partner, Maddy, and my two kids, Sam and Emily, out of bed for the 25 minute drive to Mam Tor near Castleton. By the time we were driving out there, the sun was burning off the low lying cloud and by the time we got up there it was thinning out, as you can see in the photo. The benefit of this was that we could see Hope cement works and a plume of smoke from its chimneys in the distance.

What do National Parks mean to you?

I always say that they are my "playground". I love running, walking and taking photos in them. They contain beautiful scenery which is protected and looked after by organisations including the Campaign for National Parks. People find it hard to believe that large parts of a city as big as Sheffield are actually inside the Peak District National Park.

How important do you think photos are in sharing important messages around climate change?

I think all forms of visual media are incredibly important in making people aware of the impact of climate change on our planet. Comparing the same place now and years earlier can demonstrate climate extremes very well and gives people an insight into other parts of the world they would not ordinarily see.

Find out more about the results of Campaign for National Parks Photography Competition 2021 here.