The original “Wainwright walks” were, of course, described in the seven volumes of Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells published between 1955 and 1966. Half a century later these volumes were revised and updated by Chris Jesty. These seven are not, however, the only Wainwright guide books. Many of the more mountainous Lake District walks in the Pictorial Guides demand a good degree of fitness. In his ‘eighth Guide’, on the Outlying Fells, Wainwright says that in producing it he had in mind those who are no longer as fit as they were, and that many fells are accessible to people with declining energy levels.
Wainwright Walking for the Elderly
“Ardent fellwalkers never give up”, he says. “They die hoping for hills in heaven. ” (Outlying Fells, ix). This additional volume, he tells us, was produced in response to many a request from “old-timers who have climbed all the lofty peaks and still cannot be persuaded to send their boots to a rummage sale”. If you fit into this category then out of all the Wainwright walks books The Outlying Fells surely is the one for you. (The graphic link here is to the Anniversary edition). These Wainwright walks certainly are the closest to my current physical condition, but don’t get the idea that every walk in this volume is a gentle afternoon stroll in the sun. You might get a surprise. There are some walks for the young and fit too. Anyway, I was delighted when I saw that the boxed set of Chris Jesty’s carefully updated Wainwright Guides revised edition included the Outlying Fells.
The Family Wainwright Walks
However, it is not only the elderly who need something less demanding. Many families would also like to do a walk on a Wainwright but with young children don’t relish facing up to the higher summits. They will be delighted to know that Tom Holman has new edited two volumes (Southern and Northern) of Wainwright walks for families in the Lake District, each volume containing “twenty of the easiest and best walks … from Alfred Wainwright’s classic collection of guides”. I’ve not tested them out but suspect they’ll be equally suited to older although not totally infirm walkers such as myself. Each of the books contains Wainwright’s sketches and notes supplemented by additional information such as local facilities plus map and GPS references.
There are other ways in which we can learn about the Wainwright fells. Books are not the only route. A Julia Bradbury Wainwright Walks dvd set might be your preference, in which case there are some graphic links on this page or you can find more by clicking the above link.