Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Walking the Walk

I just got an invitation from my friend, Dawn Sharples, to join her and some of my other Facebook UK Hiking friends on a real life “Last Wainwright.”  I wish I had scheduled my trip for another time so I could make it.

For those that don’t know what a Wainwright is, there are a collection of 214 hikes that are called “Wainwrights” after Alfred Wainwright who was a famous British Fell (mountain) walker in the UK.  He may be best known for a series he wrote from 1955 to 1966 called “A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.”  If you’re serious about hiking in the UK, this is a must purchase. 

In all, Alfred Wainwright (or A.W.) wrote over 40 books on hiking in his time. 

I’ve only done one Wainwright – Latrigg (which I discuss in my blog here).  It was one of the most beautiful walks I’ve ever taken and definitely a lot of bang for the buck! 

It’s hard for me to fathom having hiked all 214 Wainwrights!  I’m very happy for my friend, Dawn.  If you are interested in learning more about the Wainwrights, contact the Wainwright Society here

Recently, I was sitting next to a woman from Manchester (at our local Burns Supper), and she said her husband was an avid walker and often talked of taking the Coast to Coast walk.  Alfred Wainwright is credited with creating this famous hike!  The trip is nearly 200 miles in length and runs from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire.

Coast to Coast Walk

Now THAT would be an accomplishment!

Another interesting northern route is the Cumbria Way (a 75 mile trip) that runs from Ulverston to Carlisle on a fairly low-level elevation.  This hike was created by a local Rambler’s Association in the 1970s.

Cumbria Way

The last thing I’ll say on walking in the UK (and in the North in particular) is that I am constantly (and happily) amazed by Britain’s “rights of way” public footpath system. It encourages walks no matter where you are in the country and can take you to the most incredible and historic places.

Public footpaths have the right of way through private property.  Walkers must show respect to the owner’s land, and take care not to harm plants, wildlife, or stock. 

For those interested in walking with groups who know the area well, I would highly recommend contacting the rambler group nearest the area where you want to hike.  You can do a search at the Ramblers Association web site to locate the group or hike of your choice.