15 October 2010

Wishing he had never written his guide books

I was stopped in Newlands by a lovely old couple who knew Alfred Wainwright and used to share a cuppa with him on a regular basis. In his later days he used to sit and watch the groups of walkers heading off Hindscarth or Dale Head and mutter “if I had known this would happen I would never have published the books” I think this is a little sad and I actually think for once he missed the point. The explosion of fell walking would have happened anyway with the growing use of cars; his guidebooks may have speeded it up that is all, but also his books may have introduced some real enthusiasts to the higher fells and created a real focus of enjoyment for many people. Yes large groups can be irritating but the area is still big enough and the vast majority of those on the fells are up there because they love it. It is the valleys and the towns which are the problems not the mountains. My views on Wainwright and his books are detailed here.

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