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9th September, 2023
Finally, yesterday, was back in the Lakes and walking up a mountain! Another 3 Wainwrights done, aching legs after so long without being put to good use but that renewed sense of achievement when you cross them off your list.
I've said before this is not just about bagging fells for me but it does feel good to know next time I look up at this skyline I can be proud of myself for getting to the top of them. And I can name them as well!
I hope this time there isn't a 6 month wait for the next adventure.
7th April, 2023
After a momentous 6 months in my personal life it was nice to be back in the fells. When I woke up there was a big part of me that couldn't be bothered with the drive to and from the Lakes and I lay in bed trying to think of the other things I could do instead. But I forced myself to get up and make an effort. I am so glad I did.
Being in the Lakes gives me peace. It lets my mind get back in shape, helps me see things more clearly. Maybe the fresh air, maybe the solitude, maybe the isolation from the world of phones, texts and that stupid social media? I don't know but today was a great day to sort my head out in beautiful surroundings. My legs ache and my shoulder is a bit sore from having a rucksack on it again but I wouldn't change the feeling of having conquered one of the big 4 and had a great time in the Lakes. I won't leave it as long before my next visit.
20th August 2022
After a 3 month absence I returned to the Lakes. Staying in Keswick after all the hot weather I was greeted with plenty of rain to help refill the lakes! No matter, I got the remaining 3 fells from the Central Fells book crossed off my list. I was amazed how satisfying that was!
17th April 2022
An epic day in the Lakes today. 4 Wainwrights in the Far Eastern Fells. From the climb to Rest Dodd, the peat hags on the way to The Nab and then the beauty of Angletarn via Brock Crags. A ten mile hike but worth every second!
9th April 2022
So folks I am over halfway! Can't believe that the number done is now bigger than the number remaining. What an adventure this is turning out to be. I've enjoyed every second of today, from the quiet drive up to the lakes at 6am to the beauty of the landscape. Didn't enjoy the slog up High Hartsop Dodd nose but I made it and with Little Hart Crag thrown in as an extra I am now on 108 done with 106 remaining.
Getting to halfway was a target for this year alongside getting below 100 left and finishing the Northern and Central Fells off completely. Objective one complete. Next adventure? Not sure but it can't come soon enough.
26th March 2022
So, sadly, Theo is not continuing with the Wainwrights for now. I guess at his age going to the park is a more attractive proposition than a day with Dad! Oh well, I am still really proud of the 102 fells we have shared but I will push on and get them done and, perhaps, he will join me for some of them.
I enjoyed the walk up Seat Sandal today and met some lovely people to pass a few minutes with. It reminded me why I love the Lakes and the people that climb the fells. I look forward to the next trip!
1st August, 2021
Yesterday we hit an amazing milestone. Theo reached 100 Wainwright fell tops. Now, I know there are kids who have completed the 214 before their 12th birthday and so on but Theo's not yet 11 and 100 fells is awe-inspiring to me. I've said so many times how much fun we have so I won't go on about it again other than to say I don't think I would be at 105 without him.
Quite simply, we keep each other going on these trips and encourage each other to keep going. On the Sunday of our trip the weather was better but we just wandered down to Buttermere, along to Sour Milk Ghyll and relaxed before the journey home. We contemplated going to do Hen Comb but were satisfied with 3 on this trip. Hen Comb will just have to wait for us, but we will visit it.
Next fell? Who knows. I fancy returning to the Northern Fells and getting to the top of a big fell like Skiddaw but whichever it is, I will have my little pal by my side enjoying every minute of it.
3rd May, 2021
We have just returned from a family break in the Lakes. We stayed in Coniston and truly had every season in one day. We woke on 2nd May and looked up to the Old Man, where we had walked the day before, and there was a covering of snow all across it. Two hours later it poured with rain and we could see the snow disappear and by 4pm we were sat outside the pub having our tea in glorious sunshine.
When we were walking a thought occurred to me. This year I hope Theo and I hit a few milestones. Firstly to get to 100 fells climbed. Theo is just a couple short at the moment so I know he'll get there. Also, getting to 108 fells will be an achievement as we will be over halfway through and then, for me, getting to 115 fells will feel special as we have less than 100 to go. All just numbers, I know, but they feel like milestones to me.
This has been one of the greatest decisions of my life. The legs may ache but the feeling of freedom on the fells does help clear "persistent worry" as Alfred Wainwright once said. I've had a lot of that this week.
There are many of adventures and challenges ahead and I can't wait for the next one, whichever fell that may be.
15th April, 2021
So after a seven month wait we were back in the Lakes! I've had my first vaccination jab and we were booked into a flat on the outskirts of Keswick.
Very lucky in that the weather was dry and bright for the most part and so we could enjoy the fells once more.
Best of all I reached 100 Wainwright fell tops on this break! 100! I can't believe I've achieved that, I thought I might get to 50 or so but we urge each other on when we are walking and so, between us, we get the determination to go to the next fell. Theo is now on 96 fell tops and for a 10 year old that must be pretty special.
We hope to both get over the halfway mark of the 214 this year and with 6 fells in April already done we've made a great start.
Best part of the trip though has to be the people we met. Every one we met was pleasant and passed a few minutes having a chat.
27th December, 2020
What a year this has been. Covid-19 has taken too many lives and stopped our way of life. Visits to the Lakes for us has been curtailed but at least we are safe and well. DVDs and books on the Lakes have kept me in touch with this beautiful landscape and I hope the vaccine program will allow us to return in the Spring.
Hopes of getting to halfway through the Wainwrights in 2020 have been dashed but next year we hope to be back up in the fells and to get to and pass that milestone. It will be nice to go on the Completed Walks tab on the website and see the amount remaining to climb is lower than the number completed.
Here's hoping for a better 2021.
12th July, 2020
So a weekend walking in the Lakes saw Theo reach 80 fells completed. It really is a great achievement for him to have done so many over the last 3 years or so and the fun we've had together is very special. I'm guessing there may not be too many 9 year olds who want to do this but if you think that think again. I'm sure they would love it. Fresh air, climbing a mountain or two and, hopefully, this blog will show you that it can be done.
Go for the smaller fells first or, as we did with Fleetwith Pike, if you park halfway up the mountain do that. The purist may say it's a cheat but I don't mind. Getting to the top still takes effort and a bit of endurance but the views can be stunning and, frankly, getting to the top is what counts.
Theo reaching 80 fells is astonishing and I look forward to the day, hopefully this year, when we both move into 3 figures of completed Wainwrights. Now that really will be something.
As we drove home I thought of Julia Bradbury, David Powell-Thompson, Eric Robson, Stuart Maconie, Mark Richards, Terry Abraham and, of course, Alfred Wainwright. All of them have touched me in some way through their humour, enthusiasm for the Lakes and knowledge and I can't thank them all enough for bringing out in me this desire to scale the fells. I'm sure I'll never meet them but I will continue to thank them each time I see the Welcome to Cumbria sign.
31st May 2020
Being back in the Lakes yesterday was a real treat. Glorious weather and a good walk helped to life my spirits after the country had endured the lockdown due to Coronavirus. The easing of the lockdown did give me pause to decide whether we should go or not but I have to say that everybody we encountered was taking social distancing seriously and going somewhere a little more remote meant we didn't see that many people anyway.
We didn't stop anywhere other than Honister so I think we did the right thing in the end. The saddest part of the day was not being able to drop down to a hotel or B&B and have a pint in the sunshine but no matter. When we can stay again it will be all the more special for it.
31st March 2020
So we've been in "lock-down" for a little over a week now. Of course, that coincided with beautiful weather for a week but no matter, health is the most important thing. Who knows when things will return to some sort of normal. In the meantime, stay safe.
21st March 2020
Today was an odd day. With the country in the grip of this Covid-19 virus walking up a fell might seem trivial. The drive up to the Lakes was slightly eerie with very few cars on the motorway despite it being 8am on a Saturday. The services were almost deserted with just a few staff around and a near empty car park.
Walking has given a lot of joy to me these past couple of years and today was no exception despite concerns in the UK. I hope the shops hotels, restaurants and bars in the Lake District along with the other businesses that call this beautiful area home can survive and thrive when we're out the other side, whenever that is. Be sure that I will bring extra spends with me when that day comes.
30th December 2019
And so we say goodbye to 2019 with me having completed 29 fells in the year and Theo clearing 30 (Dodd near Bassenthwaite being the new one for him). It has been a good year. I wanted to get to another half dozen or so tops but the weather has not really been good enough for a fair weather walker like me.
To be closing the year on 75 completed fells feels like a real achievement. Having Theo so close on 71 makes that achievement feel even better. We have had some adventures this year - from the glorious day getting to the top of Great End to the gales on top of Sheffield Pike we have created memories that will stay with us forever.
The reason for doing this blog / website is just to allow me to have a record of the adventures for the future. When I look at the blogs at home it flicks on a light switch to that day, that moment. I've said numerous times to people that if I didn't do another fell I wouldn't have any feelings of failure as the 75 I've done so far have been great fun and the 71 with Theo have meant more to me than I could say as we get to spend time together, chat and just be pals.
Having said that I want to do 40 new fells next year!
Happy New Year everyone!
1st December 2019
A glorious weekend in the lakes with 3 more fells conquered and beautiful views of Thirlmere and the hills. What more could you want. We'd stayed in Ambleside for the first time in a while and, whilst it's commercial and had the odd chap who had had more than 1 shandy, it was wonderful. We had a drink in the pub next to the Priest Hole, a trip to Gaynor Sports and then food in the aforementioned Priest Hole - mine being a delicious dish of braised venison.
We stayed at the Fisherbeck B&B which was a good, clean Lakeland B&B with warm rooms and a hearty breakfast. We certainly could not fault it and to be allowed to book for just one night on a weekend was a bonus.
So 26 fells done in 2019. Not sure if I'll add to that tally but they have all given Theo and I great memories and that's what this odyssey is all about.
25th August 2019
Another great day walking in the Lakes yesterday. Another couple of Wainwrights completed with Theo. We'd hoped to do four but the weather was so hot ducking out after two was definitely the right decision. As we always say, they're not going anywhere. As David Powell-Thomson would say, we made the right mountaineering decision for us!
We stayed again at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel which was as welcoming as ever and the following day being even hotter they advised not to go to the fell tops. That wasn't in our plans and as we walked around Grasmere later on the 25th August we realised it was far too hot for us to climb mountains today. Hopefully we can get another few visits in this year. We've done 20 fells but I'd dearly love to get to 30 this year. We'll see.
29th July 2019
So a whole month has passed without any new fells being conquered. This has been due to a hectic couple of weeks with various activities for the kids coupled with the horrendously wet weather of recent weeks.
Last week, I was booked off on annual leave and thought I'd get to the Lakes to knock off a couple more fells but then twisted my back and ended up with sciatica! Literally, what a pain. On the mend now but not sure when we'll be in the lakes next as I want to ensure this is fixed before heading out again. My target of getting to 88 fells (39 this year) is looking like a long shot now which is so disappointing given the initial flurry of activity in the first half of the year.
27th May 2019
I have numerous books on the lake district, everything from the Wainwright guides to ridge walks to the geology of the lakes. I also have around a dozen DVDs of various people walking the fells any of which are great Sunday morning watches.
When we were in Buttermere this last couple of days one of the things that struck me was something Stuart Maconie said about the Wainwrights. For him it wasn't about ticking things off a list but rather the Wainwrights made you go to places you might not have gone to otherwise. I'd been to Buttermere maybe twice before but having the Wainwrights in mind gave me a different perspective on the valley and lakes and mountains. Sure we got another 3 fells knocked off the list but would I ever have thought to go to Thackthwaite, park up and go up Fellbarrow and Low Fell without the Wainwrights as a guide? I doubt it. I would have missed out on some cracking views and a lovely gentle 3 hour walk, so thank-you Stuart and thank-you Alfred.
24th April 2019
We have returned from a great couple of days in the Lakes. 4 fells for me and 5 for Theo meant we were both now in the 50s as far as completed fell tops is concerned. We had a great chat with people at the Hotel, on the fells and also in the shops of Ambleside (Andrew Barlow in Gaynors in particular) and will look forward to our next visit with great optimism of moving our markers further along the completed listing.
Reaching the top of Great End was a real buzz as I wanted this year to conquer some of the summits I had heard about on DVDs and online. This was one of them and knowing Theo and I had done it is astonishing.
17th February 2019
A new year dawned and we were back in the Lakes continuing our Wainwright experience. We knocked Gibson Knott off the list and, I must say, it is great to be able to say to fellow walkers we have completed 40+ fells. It really is an achievement I'm proud of, especially doing it with Theo. We have so much fun and each time we come back down off the mountains he says how much fun the day has been. Payment enough for any parent.
We stayed at the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel in Langdale. This was my third time and Theo's second stay and it was so nice the owner remembered us. It was like staying with friends rather than in a hotel.
Again though, as I have done previously, I must mention the other fell walkers. We met two ladies who were on their second circuit of the Wainwrights. They'd completed it once and then their 60 year old friend decided she wanted to do it so they were on lap two. not only that, they were on 197 out of 214 in lap two! Wow.
Best bit of the break? Theo saying how much he likes the Lake District because everyone is so friendly. That'll do for me.
30th December 2018
As the year draws to a close I can look back on an amazing year in the lakes. Climbing the fells is not an obsession but it has given me rewards beyond what I was expecting. The high of getting to that summit cairn, looking at the beauty of the place and spending time with my pal Theo has made this a memorable year. I'm sure 2019 will bring more great memories as we continue our Wainwright odyssey.
It's difficult to pick out a highlight of the year. Completing the Fairfield horseshoe was certainly beyond what I expected when we drove to the lakes in late May. Stone Arthur certainly won't get a mention as we were both so tired from the previous day!
I guess the highlight has been enjoying the peace and quiet of the fells with Theo and, in particular, the people we've met. I don't know any of their names, and I'm sure they don't remember us two, but the friendliness of our fellow fell-walkers has been overwhelming. I'd like to thank them all.
Maybe next year I'll see you on the fells?
19th November 2018
Having just updated the blog with our trip to complete Great Mell Fell I started thinking about which mountain is next on the list. I'd like to finish the Central Fells I think which means I have 12 to do to complete the set. Not for any reason other than accessibility of them and it'd be nice to look at a map of the fells and say, "I've been up all of them".
I'm still amazed by those people who can scan the horizon and name every lump and bump of a ridge or mountain range but I guess I'm getting better at remembering the names...maybe.
Looking forward to the next adventure with Theo and making our way up some more fells. Maybe we won't make it again this year but those fells will still be around next year. On a DVD I watched it said the fells are shrinking at a rate of 1mm every few years so, as I said to Theo, they're only getting easier to climb now!
23rd October 2018
Once again we managed a few days up in the Lakes staying in Threlkeld. What a brilliant place to stay. The view from our cottage looked out over Blencathra and to the back of the cottage we could see Clough Head. Neither were on the agenda for us but it was great to wake up and see the mountains looking down on us.
We did a few smaller walks but there was no shortage of fun with Theo. He's such great company on the walks. Chatting away, pinching my humbugs and keeping us going to the tops. Most importantly he listens so when I tell him to be careful or to stop for a second he does it. I'm no mountaineer but we are both learning as we go and realise the importance of taking our time and remembering the most important thing is to stay safe.
One thing I did learn though was to take food enough when we think it's a relatively short walk. We got diverted on our way to start Graystones which put our start time near ten thirty and so we needed some lunch but hadn't taken any! Hence my humbugs took a battering!
We've just got back from the Lakes and I've completed my blog of the five fells we've done this weekend. I set my self a target of getting to 50 Wainwrights walked this year and I cannot believe I'm on 39! Or that Theo is on 34 done. It has allowed me a chance to look at the Lakes in a different way.
Rather than driving through and looking up at the fells, I am climbing them. More shocking than that is how much I'm enjoying doing this. It's makes a difference having Theo chatting away alongside me and one of the most satisfying things is that he enjoys it so much. He gets a real sense of achievement out of getting to the top.
Will I get to 50 this year? Don't know and it is an aspiration rather than something I will be hugely disappointed not to get to but it does feel nice now to be able to say I've done 39 fells.
Not sure when we'll be back up here next, or which ones we'll tackle (actually I do know which ones I want to do next but you'll have to wait and see which they are!)
Oh well, I'll grab a brew and chill for a bit. I've got work tomorrow
23rd July, 2018
A great weekend has just passed with Theo and I continuing our Wainwright adventure. We survived the mist on Saturday and dragged our weary legs up Stone Arthur on Sunday.
He continues to amaze me that he's bothered enough to want to carry on doing the fells as he approached his 8th birthday. I like walking on my own and having the peace and solitude that brings but Theo knows when to talk and when not to and that allows us to enjoy each others company whilst still enjoying the surroundings.
I hope we will do many more fells together - at least 180 so I get to finish them all!
29th May, 2018
Yesterday, Theo and I completed the Fairfield Horseshoe. It took 7 and a half hours but is a great walk. I'm so proud of my little pal that he made it around. I kept offering the chance to call it a day and go back down but he was determined to make it.
He was great company as were the people we met on the way. One couple we met were kind enough to take photos of us together as some of the summits.
But, as I mentioned in the previous note (13th April 2018) the people we meet on these walks are lovely. Whether they're running up the hill or plodding, as I do, everyone is so friendly. In a world of troubles the people of Lakeland, be they residents or walkers, are wonderful to behold.
Best moment from Theo on the day was when he asked me to stop and listen and we couldn't hear a thing. In a world of noise and phones and i-pads and so on, it was great that a seven and a half year old just loved the silence of this place.
13th April, 2018
Looking back on yesterday, when I completed 5 Wainwrights in a day, I thought I would update you on how I'm feeling. Legs are a bit tired and the muscles ache a little but overall nothing too bad.
My main thoughts though were that, as I wandered around yesterday, I tried to keep in mind a couple of things I'd heard or read that was attributed in some way to Wainwright.
Firstly, always look where you're putting your feet.
Secondly, there's no shame in plodding. I did and I still reached a number of fell tops in a day. But also take time to enjoy the views. It's easy to get caught up in the idea of bagging fells and crossing them off lists but that defeats the object to me. Enjoy the beauty that is all around you and you'll get far more out of the day.
Finally, Wainwright paid tribute to the true fell walkers - the sheep of lakeland. Well, if I might, I would like to say thank-you to the other fell walkers I met yesterday. Each said a cheery "hello" (Wainwright might of hated that I guess) and their cheerfulness helped me to carry on. It didn't matter that I was there on my own. I had quiet time to enjoy the day but also a feeling on comradeship with my fellow walkers.
A great day ended with Chilli at the Walker's pub in the New Dungeon hotel (where I was spending the night) and by half eight I was tucked up and asleep!
25th March, 2018
On our walk on 24th March I did the usual download of route from walklakes.co.uk and got the GPS map as well. I took two phones with the information on and was glad I did. One phone ran out of charge on the descent of Holme Fell and it was useful to be able to switch to the other.
I know purists will say read a map then and I always take a map and compass but having the GPS on your phone does give you a sense that you know where you are and where you're heading.
I've never been shown how to map read but intend to put this right in the future. I'll update you on that once it's done.
14th February, 2018
I recommend buying the ordnance survey maps of the lakes so that you can check out your routes before setting off. I also go to Walklakes.co.uk where you can buy a pdf of the route, which include helpful pictures, and also GPS for the route.
Use all three - don't just rely on the GPS - as this makes the whole walking experience so much more fun, plus the point of walking is to look around not down at a phone! Obviously there are other walk sites that are as good so try them all out and see which one fits you the best.
The other key rule is check the weather and pack the right clothes. You never know in the lakes as there are so many micro-climates so go prepared and you'll enjoy your walk so much more. Remember, "there's no such thing as bad weather just wrong clothing" as someone once said. (Mind you, don't go out in the mist- too dangerous if you ask me)
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