Tag Archives: Wainwrights 214

Twenty three before tea: can it be done?

11th September 2019

Twenty three before tea? Well, we were certainly fortified by a hostel breakfast before we set off on this challenge, inspired by Paul Tierney’s record-breaking run around all the Wainwrights.

Place Elterwater at the middle of the map, take a photo, and there are 23 Wainwright tops in the rectangle. And when some fellrunners on social media wondered if they could be linked to form a challenge route, we decided to give it a go.

However, when a friend and I tried it recently, a combined bad ankle and a lack of proper training scuppered us right from the first peak.  So although we had near perfect conditions, we only managed 14 peaks (42km). We could probably have done more – but not the full 23, and it would have taken longer and it’s highly unlikely that we would have made it back in time for tea!

The real challenge is the amount of up and down. To do the 23 (even with the adjustments we made) requires doing valley-floor to top-of-Wainwright at least four times. We did three of these (not counting Wrynose pass between Great Carrs and Cold Pike) and still covered over 3000m of climbing.  Looking at Paul Tierney’s route, he covered these on very different sections of the run and maximised staying high in a way we couldn’t on this run.

We certainly weren’t at full fitness, but I do think it’s a big stretch to do those 23 in a day. More doable, perhaps, would be to allow people to pick their own 23 – I’ve eyed up a route that goes further including Crinkle Crags and Bowfell, for example, and wouldn’t necessitate the drop-downs and back-ups into Great Langdale, or the Grasmere valley.

So it’s over to someone else to find a good list of 23 that can feasibly be linked together in a day. Or a 23-mile route (or 23k) that doesn’t necessarily include lots of summits?

Meanwhile it might also be good to have something that “mortals” can achieve, or have a good crack at. Maybe “how many can you do in 12 hours from the gate”, or “Nine Before You Dine”? For less extreme walkers, there are wonderful potential challenges from here. A waterfalls walk, perhaps..

Let us know when you come to stay…we can have a leaderboard here on the wall, as well as a record on our Instagram pages.

Our Wainwrights, inspired by Tierney’s new record

21st June 2019

Paul Tierney’s new record for completing all the Wainwrights in the Lake District has captured the attention of the world. (BBC news / ITV news)

It’s a remarkable new record, six days six hours and five minutes to run over 214 Lakeland fells, breaking Steve Birkinshaw’s record by seven hours.

Climbing Harter Fell at night. Photo: Gary Thorpe

Paul’s a good friend of our team, and the staff here helped his challenge by paying for his first aid kit. So we’re excited to realise that our hostel lies in the middle of 23 of those peaks, which can all be climbed from here.

We took a photo of the map that Tierney’s support team was using during his challenge, a map specially created for them by Harvey Maps based on Birkinshaw’s route. The photo placed Elterwater at its centre, and then we traced the route lines to the south, west, north and north east, and listed the summits within that box.

See our list below.

Visiting all 214 Wainwrights is a common form of peak bagging. They are one man’s personal choice of mountains over 1000ft in height, and while there are other lists – our neighbour Bill Birkett has 541 of them, which ultra-devotees set out to tick off – doing the Wainwrights has become part of our language here.

Our manager Nick’s own “casual and largely accidental collection of Wainwrights” extends to 104 and has taken him over 40 years so far. He says: “There’s no real likelihood of completing them due to liking the hills around here so much that the incentive to travel all the way to Cockermouth for a Binsey Bimble is very small.”

Sunset on Green Crag

The guidebooks to the different areas are bibles that many of our visitors carry with them on the fells. They have sold in biblical proportions, more than two million of them since the first of the seven-book Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells series was published in 1955. The fells on which we are centred are described in the volumes for the Central, Southern and Eastern Fells. So we recommend that you use these, in association with a map and compass.

Your challenge can be one at a time, or several linked together. We would love you to share your challenges with us!

The Wainwrights around Elterwater are:

Southern Fells:

  • Pike o Blisco
  • Lingmoor
  • Black Fell
  • Holme Fell
  • Wetherlam
  • Swirl How
  • Great Carrs

Central Fells:

  • Sergeant Man
  • Thunacar Knott
  • Pavey Ark
  • Harrison Stickle
  • Pike o Stickle
  • Loft Crag
  • Helm Crag
  • Tarn Crag
  • Blea Rigg
  • Silver How
  • Loughrigg

Eastern Fells:

  • Nab Scar
  • Heron Pike
  • Low Like
  • High Pike
  • Stone Arthur

*The first continuous round of all 214 Wainwrights was completed by Alan Heaton of Clayton le Moors Harriers, a running club in Lancashire, between 29 June and 8 July 1985 starting and finishing at Keswick Moot Hall, with a total time of 9 days and 16 hours. Joss Naylor set a new record of 7 days 1 hour between 26 June and 2 July 1986. This was beaten by Birkinshaw between 14 and 20 June 2014, who completed the round in 6 days and 13 hours.

Alfred Wainwright lived and worked in Kendal for most his life but he was born into a working class family in the Lancashire mill town of Blackburn and experienced the difficult times of the 1920s and 30s. Being a bright lad, however, he worked hard at improving his position, taking night school classes and later correspondence courses to qualify as a local government accountant. This eventually enabled him in 1941 to obtain a position in the council office in Kendal, just where he had wanted to be since taking a holiday with a cousin walking in the Lake District.

After his move to Kendal walking in the Lakeland fells occupied as much of his spare time as possible, becoming his obsession. His view of the Lake District is clearly expressed in the opening sentence of his first guide: “Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like Lakeland.”

* Paul Tierney ran the route in memory of his friend Chris Stirling, who died earlier this year, raising money for MIND