Since I’ve veered this page toward walking and hiking I have learned a great deal in a such as short spell of time. I’ve learned some people are superhuman in their endeavours, that it is usually advisable to spend the extra money on good quality gear and that there are numerous collections of peaks to bag.
As a child living in the north of England I was lucky enough to get across to the Lake District on numerous occasions. Hiking wasn’t usually part of those trips, but on a camping expedition aged 13 we went for a walk up a hill close to the campsite. At the top one of my Dad’s friends said to me “Well done young un’, you’ve climbed your first Wainwright.” I wasn’t too sure what he meant but before I had the chance to ask I had been distracted by something else. I later found out that the hill we had scaled was Castle Crag. It was a fun walk and not too challenging, a notion echoed when my Dad subsequently took other family members up Castle Crag, most of whom were very much not outdoors people.
In the pre-internet days I wasn’t able to pop “what is a Wainwright” in to google. Instead I asked my old man, and he filled me in on the work of Mr Alfred Wainwright. The Wainwright Society tell that story better than me, but at the risk of preaching to the converted, Wainwright was a rambler, author, journalist and TV/radio presenter perhaps most famed for his seven pictorial guides to the Lakeland Fells.
The guides detail 214 Lakeland Fells, all but one of them more than 1,000ft above sea level. The one that isn’t? You guessed it, good old Castle Crag. ‘Wainwright bagging’ is a form of hill bagging, peak bagging or mountain bagging. The aim is to summit all of a collective of hills. Other examples are the 282 Munros in Scotland, the 446 Nutalls and the 524 Hewitts.
I love numbers and I love a challenge so with that in mind I’ve decided to aim for completing the 214 Wainwright’s. In the past I have set unrealistic goals when it comes to timescales, so I won’t be setting a deadline. I am hoping that the training for the Lakeland 50 event I am doing in July 2019 will coincide with adding a few more Wainwright’s to my collection (three at the time of writing). I mentioned Wainwrights on the Trail magazine #everesteverywhere page and was amazed at the numbers some people have bagged. A few had completed them all, a couple of folk were less than 10 away from the full set and one chap was on his third round after completing them twice!
I will keep my Wainwright gallery updated when I summit them so please check back for progress reports.
In the words of the great man, “You were made to soar, crash to the earth, then to rise and soar again.”