Bagging the Wainwrights whilst visting the Lakes

Published 16 July 2013

Ambleside

“I reckon I can do about twenty Wainwrights whilst we’re there,” I joking said to Catherine a few days before heading off for our summer holiday in the Lake District.

“Yes, but if you aim for a lower number, you won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. I’m going for one fell as a target,” Catherine replied. “That way, when you exceed it and get ten, or twenty, you’ll be very happy.”

“Either that or I’ll decide that I’d set my targets too low,” was all I could add.

It had been 2003 since we’d last had a two week holiday entirely spent in one place. That had been a trip to St Petersburg in Russia where a relative was living at the time. And even then we spent two nights on sleeper trains so we could spend a day in Moscow. Every holiday since we’d moved around in some way or other. Even the year before, with Catherine pregnant, we’d still had a mini tour of Scotland taking in Loch Tay, Oban, Mull, Iona and Glencoe. We even got up a Munroe.

Having a baby means you have to think differently. You can’t really move around every other day so we plumped to spend two weeks in a cottage in Ambleside. We could do some walking, visit whatever tourist attractions we wanted to, and make use of the local buses to get around. Locally based friends and relatives could come over and say hello. And, of course, I could have a day or two climbing some fells. Hey, we could even find some fells to do as a family, with Sam shoved firmly but securely in his new back carrier.

And although twenty fells was rather a joke, it turned out to be not particular far off. In the end I visited 18 – a success rate of 90%. Sam made it up two, and part way up a third. Only one fell was a revisit, and I would have done twenty had it not been for heavy rain and bad winds. Which fells? Well I’ll be posting up the tales from each over the coming weeks.

Oh and we had a lovely holiday thanks. When Sam let us sleep anyway. Perhaps he was too excited by all the cairns he’d seen…

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