If you’ve been inspired by the ITV programme Britain’s Favourite Walks, you’re far from alone. The nation is now tightening its boot laces and heading to the hills, and, in several locations - including the top spot, Helvellyn - hikers are following in the footsteps of the legendary Alfred Wainwright. Among those hooked is our writer Martin Perry… and here’s why!
"Walking anywhere in this beautiful country is satisfying and invigorating. From where I live in Watnall, Nottinghamshire, I can walk over the Misk Hills or round the lovely Moorgreen Reservoir, or I can even strike out into Derbyshire. Nothing, however, seems to measure up to the Lake District.
I was fortunate enough to visit New Zealand recently but, for all its magnificent lakes, waterfalls and mountains, I still found myself hankering for a walk across the Lakeland Fells. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that in 2012 I started a personal quest to climb 100 fells as documented by one Alfred Wainwright, the doyen of fell walkers.
I started with the obvious ones; Helvellyn, Scafell Pike, Haystacks and Great Gable, following up with ascents of Skiddaw and Blencathra via the awe-inspiring Sharp Edge. I walked in the company of my great friend Dave Ewing, and our mutual interest and enthusiasm seemed to spur each other on.
We quickly worked out that it’s more efficient to pick up fells in ‘clusters’ and, by walking the Fairfield, Newlands and Kentmere Rounds - as well as numerous other rounds and horseshoes! - we were able to bag dozens of fells. We’d have to say our favourite so far is Dale Head, with 360° views of the Honister Pass, Buttermere and Crummock Water, not to mention the beautiful descent to Catbells and Derwent Water.
|After five years of the best walking holidays of my life, we found ourselves on the summit of Sale Fell in 2017, having completed our target of 100 Wainwrights. It’s far from an exclusive club and I would encourage anyone with a love of walking to attempt it - just prepare well, get outside and go for it. As for me, well, only another 114 left to go - and, judging by the success of Britain’s Favourite Walks, there’s a fair chance I’ll see you on my travels!”|
Martin Perry is the co-author, with Geoff Smith, of The Clough Walk, a long-distance trail from Nottingham to Sunderland celebrating the life and landmarks of the legendary Brian Clough. Martin and Dave Ewing have also written a new coast-to-coast book, The Wirral to The Wash, to be published by Sigma Press this year.