It was 1993 when I was first introduced to the English Lake District, I climbed Loughrigg with my Dad at the age of 5 and I have loved fell walking ever since. Initially I would go hiking maybe 4 or 5 times a year with my Dad but in April 2014 it became a more serious hobby.
A friend of mine said he was interested in trying hiking and he knew I had some experience of the Lakes so he asked if I would join him. That was the start of a very busy year of hiking; we did various different hikes in the Lakes and Snowdonia mostly long distance and over a fair few mountains. There is no place better than the mountains for me – the views, the fresh air, and the challenges. It’s the feeling of testing your body and seeing how far you can go that makes me love it. I feel at home in the mountains, as far as I am concerned, there is no better playground.
In July 2014 my friend and I tackled the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen y-ghent; we completed it in 8 hours and 43 minutes which we were both really happy with. We continued hiking into the winter which brought bigger challenges of snow, ice and pretty awful weather at times but this made for some fantastic pictures!
I began to test myself further with winter scrambles up Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark and the Sharp Edge of Blencathra. Towards the end of 2014 I went on a hike around the Kentmere Horseshoe; it was a stunning day – perfect for hiking – and to make it even better there was a thick blanket of snow from a few days earlier.
This was when I started to think about the Wainwrights as the Kentmere Horseshoe has quite a high number of them. I wondered if it would be possible to climb them all in a single year. What with it being the 28th December it all seemed to fit perfectly and when I got home that evening I researched the possibility of climbing all 214 Wainwrights in 2015.
I purchased Stuart Marshall’s book Walking the Wainwrights which allows you to cover all 214 fells in 36 walks – I needed something that covered them all in quite a low number of walks as I live in Manchester and getting to the Lakes is not always easy. It is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it although some of the walks are very long and quite tough. I decided to share my challenge on Instagram so that people could follow my adventure – a picture of me at the top of every mountain with details of the height and my progress through the 214 summits.
Along with these I have also been posting some of the best views I have seen while exploring every corner of the Lake District. That is another great thing about this challenge – you really get to see all of the Lakes rather than just the most popular summits.
I have not really had a system when choosing the order of the walks but the weather and how much daylight is available have both been factors. I have been trying to do most of the longer walks in the Summer. Due to circular nature of the routes I will not be able to save a more famous mountain for my final peak which is a little disappointing; but the 214th summit will be special whichever mountain it turns out to be. I am currently 140 summits into my challenge and still hoping to complete it within the year. Keep track of my challenge on Instagram to see how I get on! What will I do next once this I have climbed all of The Wainwrights? Who knows but I certainly want to do some hiking in the Alps and maybe even further afield. #thisismyadventure