Coming up with a Wainwright completion plan

Published 17 September 2023

Reading a Wainwright Pictorial Guide on a fell top
Reading a Wainwright guide, back when I had more hair. Yes, I’ve been doing this thing THAT long.

I sat down and thought about it. 75 Wainwrights left to do. Just four remaining in the Eastern Fells. Four more to finish off the North Westerns. Do six and I’d have completed those of the Southern Fells.

But what about the logistics? I knew there were some fells I could do if I had a couple of days in Patterdale. Some if I was in Borrowdale or Keswick. Others that would fit in nicely if I was on the eastern edge of the Lakes. And in each case, they straddled multiple Wainwright guides. If I was staying near Wastwater, there’d be fells I could do from the Southern and Western fells for example.

I needed a plan. Because without a plan, it wouldn’t happen.

That thought came to my head about six months ago, and it’s taken until recently to actually do what I thought needed to be done.

And I have come to one conclusion.

I’ve got a LOT of awkwardly placed fells still to do.

CASE ONE: ten Far Eastern fells around Kentmere. Doing this will tick off a huge chunk of my Wainwrights, but visiting Kentmere’s a major challenge due to extremely limited parking that’s often gone by 8am. There’s sometimes a field open for parking, but its opening times are restricted due to planning laws. The only way to find out if it’s open is to make a phone call. My plan is simply to try and do the Kentmere fells on a weekday in Spring or Autumn, and to get there as early as possible in order to reduce the worries of parking. But that complicates matters.

CASE TWO: Wastwater. Remoteness and limited accommodation in the area makes this whole area tricky. I recently looked at the YHA hostel at Wasdale Head and the accommodation situation is, well, there were slim pickings for basically any weekend visit. There is a campsite, and a pub. But everything else requires a lot of driving.

CASE THREE: Skiddaw. Okay this one’s my own fault. I have a whole heap of Northern Fells to do around the Skiddaw area. I reckon there’s three days of walks in it. I could do them all based at Keswick or something, no probs. But right in the heart of things is the remote, isolated, Skiddaw House Bunkhouse. Staying there will be an experience and a half, and I’m determined to have at least one night there. Except, again, availability is tricky. I’ll probably need to book way in advance and hope for good weather.

None of this is surmountable. Of course it’s not. I’m not trying to do anything that hundreds, probably thousands of people haven’t tried to do before. And have successfully completed. But looking at it all was a reminder that whilst many of the Wainwrights are easy to get to, a lot more aren’t. Up to now I’ve basically been winging it. Making last minute decisions and ticking off fells that way. But to finish off what’s left, well now I need to get serious. Now I need to get planning.

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