The Rambling Man Review of 2019: Part 2 – Wainwrights

Published 19 December 2019

The Coniston Fells

In 2018 I did something for the first time. I drove to the Lake District, walked some fells, and came back on the same day. It was a test case. Prove it could be done.

The intent was that I would do it more often. I came up with a plan that I’d do three, possibly four, day trips a year to the Lakes. Set off ridiculously early, bag some fells, soak in the amazing Lake District scenery, and head back home the same day. A chance to spend more time enjoying the countryside I love so much, and fit it around the craziness of every day life.

As it happened, it was over a year before I did it again. But in the summer 2019 I drove up, arrived in Coniston, climbed three big fells, then went home again.

I actually had plans for a second trip, but that got usurped when I rather unexpectedly found myself spending three days and two nights in the Lakes in September. And then we had a family holiday in the Lakes in October.

And the weather was good almost all the time I was there. Given 2019 was the year of rain, rain and, bloomin’ heck, more rain, I had some great weather in the Lakes. And good weather can only mean one thing. Wainwright bagging!

As you can probably tell from the chart, I made it up 21 fells this year. From the enormous Coniston Old Man, to the far smaller delights of Grange Fell in Borrowdale.

So many fells have I been up, that I haven’t really made much of a dent on all the photographs I need to sort through so I can write about them. Still, that’s what the bad weather of December and January is for. Isn’t it?

Those 21 fells also saw me reach a major milestone. Yes, I’ve reached Fell 100! And indeed fell 101! Only 113 to go. That suggests that reaching the half way point of 107 in 2020 is more than likely. I’ve even been wondering if I could celebrate hitting the magic 50% in style… Hold fire until next year then.

(To be accurate, I actually visited 23 fells this year. But having already been to Latrigg and Catbells, alas they can’t count.)

This year I’ve managed to do fells in four areas. The Central, Southern, North Western and one more. For this year saw me do something that I’d been trying to do for years, but never quite achieved. I went to the Western Fells.

As I mentioned, I ended up doing a last minute trip to the Lake District in September. And it was quite last minute. I booked it on the Tuesday and travelled up on the Friday.

I had no real idea where to stay, but my choices were limited anyway. Based on the availability of beds in Lakeland hostels, I only had a few choices. One of them was Buttermere, a tiny village overlooked by several of the Western Fells.

Well it was too good an opportunity to miss.

It turned out to be a lovely part of the Lake District. Which is good news as I’ve still got a fair chunk of fells to do there.

One chart hasn’t changed since last year. There’s still no Wainwrights completed, and seven still to complete. But I’m getting unnervingly close. Seven left in the Central Fells. Nine in the Eastern. Could 2020 be the year when the chart finally changes? Only next year knows.

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