Visiting the Wainwrights

Published 5 September 2013

Growing up in Manchester, the Lake District was always on our doorstep. Perhaps we even visited it a few times. I certainly remember going on the train to Windermere with my Granddad and visiting the steamboat museum.

A year after leaving university I also spent some time in the area. Borrowing my mum’s car and my parent’s pop up tent and stove, Catherine and myself spent a week in the summer of 2001. We camped in Coniston and Langdale. It rained. It rained so much that we headed back home a day early.

Perhaps that explains why it took me many more years before I ventured up to the area again, but in 2009 I walked the Cumbria Way, heading through Coniston, Langdale, Borrowdale and up towards Skiddaw. The weather was a mixed bag but when it was nice, it was very very nice. And I fell in love with the place.

The Cumbria Way only visits one fell top, that being Skiddaw, but poor weather forced me to take the lower level alternative. It took to the summer of 2010 when walking the Coast to Coast before I made it up my first Wainwright. And I didn’t even know I had done thanks to heavy rain having made my boots so wet that my feet were slipping around inside them.

The Coast to Coast actually has loads of options for visiting fells, but we just happened to be there during an incredibly wet summer. A months worth of rain fell in just a few days, which for the Lakes is really saying something. Some Coast to Coast walkers had to be rescued when gullys and streams flooded.

Still, despite these wet experiences, I still kept wanting to go back, Whilst I never set off wanting to visit each of the Wainwrights, subsequent visits to the Lakes have seen me do more and more as I use my pictorial guides to explore the majesty of Lakeland.

Slowly but surely I’m collecting the Wainwright fells. It’s going to take time. But I’ll get them all in the end.

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