(Thinking about) Doing the Wainwrights

ManwithwainwrightbookFor no apparent reason, apart from the fact that I have just read in ‘Never mind the Quantocks’ about Stuart Maconie completing the ‘task’, I wrote a Facebook posting the other day on how many Wainwrights I have bagged. Bizarely, it turns out that I have completed exactly half of them (107 of the 214). No, not impressive at all, but some very happy memories – and some I must admit I have no memory of ascending. Mind you at this rate of progress it may be a while till completion! Six decades (and counting) for me ….. or a six day run out for Steve Birkinshaw.

guideSo, I nerdily sat down on a damp afternoon to get the bigger picture. I wanted some answers. Was it even across the 7 Wainwright guides? How many of the ‘big uns’ have I not done? Are there clusters I could easy put together to hit? And most importantly do I actually want to chase completing – having not been at all bothered about doing so up till now? If so would it even be feasible with what will become fading powers/fitness eventually.

Firstly then, some basic facts. I have recorded in my copies of the Wainwright guides the tops I have bagged. This is a fairly random process, only very rarely with dates included. It is by adding up these ticks that I come to the startling fact that I am only half-way through the task. If you had asked me I would have said I had done way more than half

table1How have I fared book by book (measured by the Wainwright guides)? I seem to have concentrated my effort(s) in the Eastern and Southern Fells, but that the Far Eastern Fells need the most care and attention.

table2However, I have done the 19 highest peaks in the list, which might be a bonus later. In fact if you take the top 50 peaks, in order of height, there are just 8 of them to do. Four of these are in Book 6 (North Western Fells) and the other four in Book 2 (The Far Eastern Fells). The highest missing fells, by Book, are listed in the second table.

So, what strategy to take – if going for them? Hit them all randomly, concentrate on the books with most to do, or hit the eastern Fells to get the boost of knocking one book off? And what summit to leave for last? In my mind that would be a celebration of some sort, with my wife, family and some friends with me preferably. Should it be an easy one, or an iconic one with a top view? Or just let it happen and see what ends up last?

The Round sample 6Finally, how am I on the Bob Graham Round peaks? Surely as the author of a book on the subject I have done the round? No! Well at least done all 42 of the peaks on the Round? No, again. To my surprise, and somewhat shamefacedly, I have to admit that I have not bagged two of them. The first is Hindscarth. Having done Dale Head and Robinson, did I just bypass it, or do them on separate occasions, neither of which took me on to Hindscarth? The other is Great Calva. I have no recollection of going up there, despite vivid memories of Skiddaw House and stream crossings out that way. Maybe I was just working round from Skiddaw to Blencathra then.

It seems weird now to think that I can’t remember ascending some of these 107 peaks at all, but have recorded the fact that I did. You have to remember that there have been a lot of trips, over a lot of years. Also that some of the 107 have been done many, many times, especially those on the fell race routes that I competed in.

Oh well, it is something to give thought to. Which I will do as I go to the Lakes this weekend, to possibly add a couple to the list.

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