The Rambling Man Trail Walking and Wainwright Bagging Review, 2022

Published 18 December 2022

The entrance to Beeston Castle, right next to the Sandstone Trail.

Every now and then you see newspaper articles about some survey that’s found that 1 in 4 women would much rather not work, or something of that ilk. Such things always annoy and frustrate me because they’re always presented as women not wanting to work and would much rather go back to some sort of “traditional” arrangement where they become housewives or something. Like it’s assumed all women want a man to go out and look after them.

Such surveys never seem to bother asking men what they want. Because obviously they want to go out and work and provide, as is the natural order. So why bother asking?

Well maybe because there are many men – myself included – who would be happy to live a life of leisure, and be able to do whatever we want. And if someone came up to me and said “right, here’s the money you need to ensure you never need to work again”, I’d be seriously tempted to take it. Why? Well for starters, I’d get time for more walking. Something that I have not had anywhere near enough time to do this year. Oh dear, has the walking situation been limited this year!

Trail walking

Now I have done some. Although much of it has – as ever – been smaller family walks. But trail walking has been more limited. I’m hoping next year will be better on that front. But this year my trail walking has consisted of four days in Cheshire doing the Longster Trail and the Sandstone Trail, and a couple of sections of the GM Ringway; both earlier in the year. It would have been nice to do some in the summer, but various other activities and holidays rather put pay to that.

Given I have a list a mile long of walking routes I’d love to so, such progress really isn’t helping! Ho hum. Perhaps next year will really see some progress.


Things were better on the Wainwright front, thanks to getting to spend several days in the Lake District with – gasp – reasonable weather! Things were certainly up on last year anyway.

Now when I do a Wainwright review, I usually post various charts. And every year I do them in the same order. Well, this year I’ve decided to mix things up a little. For reasons I think will become apparent.

Pictorial Guides Where I’ve Visited All the Fells

I did my first Wainwright in 2010. And for as long as I’ve been doing this annual rounds, there’s been one thing that hasn’t changed. The number of Pictorial Guides Where I’ve Visited All The Fells.

Over the years, I’ve shown the data in different ways, but the underlying data has remained the same. Here it is in a doughnut chart, showing the data at the end of last year. It’s the same as the year before. And the year before that. And so on, and so on.

Wainwright published seven guidebooks for the fells – his Pictorial Guides. And between them, he listed 214 fells, split over those seven books. To change this chart, I would have needed to visit every single fell listed in at least one of those books. And then the same again for a second book. And so on.

And as you can see, at the end of 2021 I had yet to visit every fell listed in at least one book.

Then something happened in September. Suddenly the chart… CHANGED.

At one point in October, there was a brief few days when I thought I may even be showing a SECOND update of this chart. But weather conditions meant that didn’t happen. Still, it’s a major moment in my fellbagging. I might just have quaffed an ale or two in celebration of that one.

Number of Wainwrights Bagged per Year

Anyone who knows their Wainwrights may be wondering which book I’ve now completed. But I’ll keep you in suspense for a little longer as we look at the number of fells bagged this year.

For it’s been a good year for visiting Wainwrights with twenty ticked off. Which was nice, especially after Covid and bad weather made 2021 an appalling year for such endeavours. I was – it must be said – extremely fortunate with the weather this year. Although not that fortunate. Had it been just a smidgen better, I’d have done 21 fells instead of 20. And that would have put me on par with 2019 which was my best ever Wainwright bagging year.

For fans of random stats, I’ve done an average of 10.6 fells per year, up from 9.9 last year.

Number of Wainwrights Bagged

Next up, the big picture. Overall I’ve now done 139 of the 214 fells – that’s 65% of them. That leaves 75 remaining. If I assume an average of 10.6 fells a year, I’ve got another eight years of Wainwrighting to do, putting me a finishing date of 2030. That’s the same year as “predicted” in 2021, although in 2018 I was looking at a competition of 2034. I’m kind of hoping it won’t take that long. A minimum of 15 fells per year would bring it int to 2027, and with any luck, that will be doable. I’m cautiously optimistic, and not just because I’m beginning to formulate plans for what to do after I’ve done the main Wainwrights.

Incidentally, that’s new fells only. For various reasons, this year saw me revisit four other fells.

Number of Wainwrights Visited Per Book

With twenty fells visited this year, there’s been big changes with this particular chart too. I managed to visit all but one of the seven fell ranges – the Northern fells being the one where I didn’t get to visit.

If you’re still wondering, the Central Fells are the ones where I managed to tick off all the fells for (wahoo!) but I’m now extremely close to having done all the North Western, Eastern and all the Southern fells. Indeed, had it not been for low cloud, I would have completed all the North Western fells this year.

Looking ahead to 2023

The last few years have taught me it’s dangerous to make predictions. So I’m trying not to. But last year I really hoped the Central would be the one book I’d complete, and I met that goal. So here’s a goal for 2023 – North Western AND either Eastern or Southern. We’ll see. But it’s possible.

On trail walking, I’m hoping to do some more GM Ringway (obviously). But also I have some plans to do at least some of the Offa’s Dyke National Trail. It’s one I’ve had my eye on for a while, and whilst I’d ideally like to do it all in one go, that seems unlikely for some time given other commitments. However it should be straightforward to break up into sections, so I’m aiming to give it a go.

For Wainwrights, in 2021 I’d hoped to do the Central Fells. And I did. Given the charts above, you may not be surprised that finishing off the North Western and/or Eastern fells is strongly on my wish list. A stretch goal would be to add in the Southern as well, but for logistical reasons, that’s probably unlikely. Still, there’s a chance to get closer.

For several years I’ve also been trying to get to Black Sail hostel. It’s difficult getting in there at the best of times, but Covid’s made it even harder. Still, you never know.

Either way, I’m cautiously optimistic 2023 will be a better year. Only time will tell though.

And that’s it for Rambling Man in 2022. I’ll be back in the New Year.

Before I go this seems like a good point to thank everyone who has used Ko-Fi or PayPal to “send me a beverage” this year. Also for those who have bought products or accommodation through the affiliate links. Or have simply purchased a copy of one of my books. The money from that helps pay the bills for this website, and contributed towards the costs of going out on the walks mentioned above. And maybe a beer or two. Basically, if you did that, it’s your fault I’m still publishing… Thanks very much indeed!


Vic Flange

18 December 2022 at 10:36 am

I really liked Offa’s Dyke Path (ODP) when I walked it in one trip, south to north, in 2019. Probably one of my favourites of the National Trails, so far. It was another of those bloomin’ hot periods which made it quite hard going at times – heading north out of Churchtown on a ridiculously steep ascent (grid ref SO264873 approx) has scarred my memory! I completed the walk in 10 days but I average longer days than you.

And it whetted my appetite to walk Glyndŵr’s Way (your write-up was very useful and fuel to the fire, so thanks). Accommodation is a lot more plentiful on ODP – I camped all except the first night (at Chepstow) but you should find B&Bs liberally scattered on or near the route. Public transport makes it reasonably easy to break it into sizeable chunks (Chepstow, Knighton, Welshpool and Prestatyn provide rail connections, and the other towns – e.g. Hay on Wye, Kington, Llangollen – give bus access to rail links).

Well done on the Wainwrights progress and thanks for the update. I’ve been chipping away at them from 2014 – I’ve completed 66 of them, including the whole of the Northern Fells book. However my last trip was in 2019 – it hasn’t much appealled going to the Lakes since given that rent-a-crowd would have been there. Plus living down south means it’s a fair old trek to get there. But I’m sure I’ll be back either next year or 2024.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

20 December 2022 at 9:18 am

I’ve been intrigued by Offa’s Dyke ever since I did the Glyndŵr’s Way. It’s one of those parts of the country I don’t know that much about so it will be fun! Just got to work out quite HOW I can do it – it’s highly unlikely I’ll have time to do it all in one go, but with the rail links breaking it up will be doable in chunks.

And don’t worry – the Lakes will still be there whenever you’re ready for them!

Vic Flange

20 December 2022 at 7:56 pm

Ha! For a bit of symmetry I suggest you walk a section of the ODP when Charles gets crowned next year…as I recall, you walked Glyndŵr’s Way as a means to avoid a royal wedding. Chepstow to Hay-on-Wye (bus to Hereford) would provide a fantastic start to the walk.

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