After taking on Everest Base Camp in 2018 and winning, our Founder and Digital Director, Ian, has set himself a new challenge. He’s currently in the process of completing all 214 Wainwrights and wants to have them all ticked off within 12 months – 4 fells a week!
Wainwrights are the 214 English peaks (known locally as fells) described in Alfred Wainwright’s seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells (1955 – 66). They all lie within the boundary of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, and all but one (Castle Crag) are over 1,000 feet (304.8 m) in height. Wainwrights cover a wide range of heights, from major mountains such Scafell Pike at 978 metres (3,209 ft), to Castle Crag, the smallest Wainwright at 290 metres (951 ft).
Often accompanied by his two dogs, Bonnie and Robi, Ian has completed 110 Wainwrights so far, including the main fells of Scafell Pike, Scafell, Helvellyn, Blencathra and Skiddaw. The 12-month target means Ian has very little chance to be selective about the weather he chooses to go out in, and the Lake District is known for its changeable conditions – wind, rain, snow, low cloud, or baking heat. And even on the relatively small elevations of the Lakeland Fells conditions can change quickly.
‘One of the great things about tackling the main fells first is that the ones that remain on my list are more remote and secluded, meaning they are far less popular with the masses. You find some real peace on the hills and can walk for 6 – 7 hours without meeting a single person. The real challenge now though is route planning and linking up these remote fells into one or two-day walks’.
‘Every fell holds great memories for different reasons, from wild camping at Sprinkling Tarn (including an early morning swim) to getting lost on High Street and ending up in the wrong valley coming back down. But some of the most rewarding fells have been the ones I’ve completed in the dead of winter. Two feet of snow, low visibility and navigational challenges as the paths are completely obscured by the snow except for the occasionally cairn. Even in the relative safety of the Lakeland Fells, these conditions test you in many ways.
We’ll be keeping up-to-date on how Ian gets on and sharing his progress on our Instagram stories. But we know his energy and enthusiasm will get him through. If he can manage all of us Foundry lot, a few fells will be no problem!