It seems like an eternity ago, I was stood in my kitchen, glass of Balvennie Doublewood in hand, staring at PM Burgess’s Tubular Fells, contemplating whether I could walk all 214 ‘Wainwrights’ in the calendar year of 2012. I wasn’t a complete novice to the Lakeland Fells, so I was under no illusion as to the task ahead of me, but I’m sure the alcohol clouded my judgement!
It would be some weeks before a beautiful frosty January day in Great Langdale set me on my way. All 5 peaks were hit on that occasion, just 209 to go!
The challenge required an average of just over 4 summits a week, and progress was slow in the early months, with typical poor weather conditions being the frequent excuse, Lake District Weather Line became a favourite link! It also wasn’t easy juggling the need to be out ‘peakbagging’ with other time consuming, weather related hobbies of golf, cricket and a newly acquired road bike.
I was feeling pretty confident following a successful sunny day in March where the 7 peaks of the Coniston Old Man section were completed, taking me to 25 in total. The day couldn’t have gone better, and it made me content that as the days drew longer during summer, and I was able to head into the hills after a day at work, then I should have no problem reaching my target. This however didn’t factor in the fall and sprained ankle I suffered while traversing off Hencomb in the West Lakes. The injury would keep me off the hills for a good few weeks in the height of summer, and slowed me down significantly. At the half way point of the year, I had only reached 85 and clearly I had some work to do.
I teamed up with Sean Howell, from Low Wood Bay Conferencing, for 3 walks including a 12 peaks epic extended version of the Coledale Horseshoe. Becky Yeoman from the Group Sales Office had also become my companion for many of the walks, making the challenge somewhat less lonely than it had been in the early days. I can also thoroughly recommend a soak in the Low Wood Club hot tub as the perfect post Wainwright wind down!
By the end of August my total had jumped to 131 and I was back on track. From here my weekend diary became less full as wedding season finished, and I was able to put the time to good use. This all brought me to the 28th December, where a wet and windy day made the Fairfield Horseshoe not quite the showcase finish I’d been hoping for. But it was all finished. Sometimes a bit wet and cold, sometimes I was a bit generally miserable, sometimes the whole thing felt like a bit of a chore. But it was all done, 214 ‘Wainwrights’ complete in 2012. Now for something new in 2013…
Guest post written by Mark Fishwick, English Lakes Accounts.