Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia. Ward described the water as “very clear and cold, of the greenish-blue tint only seen in water of great purity.” Photo © C. Duigan.
14 September 2014
Frank Ward was clearly proud of his book The Lakes of Wales (1931). After its publication he compiled a scrapbook of over 40 book reviews, including articles in The Fishing Gazette, Sunday Times, The Times, The Observer, Shooting Times, The Manchester Guardian, Birkenhead News, Spectator, South Wales Daily Post, Yorkshire Post, Nottingham Guardian, Doncaster Chronicle, Scotsman, North Wales Observer, Liverpool Post, Country Life, Western Mail, Glasgow Herald, Y Genedl Gymreig (The Welsh Nation), Cardiff Weekly Mail and a number of book magazines. This scrapbook is deposited in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Here is a selection of the reviews:
The Fishing Gazette described it as not just a fishing book as it covers fishing, scenery, legends and places names. It was recognised as a tremendous task, as 648 lakes were included, and astonishment was expressed that there were so many lakes in Wales. It was concluded that this book was “unquestionably a labour of love that has taken many years to complete.”
The Sunday Times said “This is a guide for fishermen in the first place, but for the fisherman with a discerning eye for scenery, a love of untrodden ways and a mind not untouched by romance – in fact the “complete angler.”
The Times Literary Supplement commented on the Welsh names which were difficult to pronounce or to remember with some lakes having three or more names. “The English angler in Wales is faced with a difficulty which the author of this book has tried very hard to smooth over, succeeding perhaps better than expected.”
The Manchester Guardian suggested that “Mr. Ward must have spent half a lifetime in making this book, and for a long time to come fishermen who visit Wales will be grateful to him for spending it so well.” “After a few explanatory notes, the book begins by telling of the scenery. Part of the delight of fishing is that it takes us into beautiful places.” “Surely fishing would be a poor sport if there were nothing in it but killing fish, and it is good to meet others who appreciate the glories of the countryside.”
The review in The Birkenhead News focused on the “delightful photographs”, 32 in all which were “nearly all the work of Mr. Philip A. Cox, who has been a resident of Birkenhead for many years and who is well known as an amateur photographer of great merit.” It was stated that Mr. Cox was a fishing friend of the author.