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His Guide books are Works of Art

The great man looks out to Blencathra
To quote the great, but modest man himself: "Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other than calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when away from it.''
Alfred Wainwright

His seven guide books to the Lakes, which have sold more than one million copies, have inspired generations of walkers to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of Cumbria. They are reprinted each year so great is their popularity.

Now (Oct 2002) a Wainwright Society has been formed to mark the 50th anniversary of his first Lakeland guide book. Following the society's inaugural meeting, Wainwright fans will gather to re-enact the walk to the summit

The celebrated writer, cartographer and graphic artist, known as AW, was honorary curator for 30 years at the Kendal museum, which exhibits personal items and belongings loaned by his widow, Betty.

The popularity of Wainwright exhibitions at Kendal Museum has long been recognised.

On Saturday, November 9, 1952, Alfred Wainwright walked to the summit of Dove Crag on the eastern fells of the Lake District and returned to write the initial pages of his first pictorial guide.

Exactly half a century later, a meeting was held at Ambleside Youth Hostel on Saturday, November 9, to form the society. Members of the newly-formed organisation will then gather, along with other enthusiasts, outside the nearby Salutation Hotel in Lake Road shortly after 11am to re-trace Wainwright's historic steps.

To register interest, Morag Clement from Kendal Museum can be contacted by post, enclosing a self-addressed envelope, to Wainwright Society, Kendal Museum, Station Road, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 6BT.

Broadcaster Eric Robson, who interviewed Wainwright in his later years for a TV series, believes that membership of the society could be vast and is keen for Wainwright's unstinting efforts to help people appreciate the full splendour of the Lakeland fells to be recognized. Eric, recently appointed chairman of Cumbria Tourist Board, said: "We are preserving the memory of a great man and hoping to encourage the sustainable use of the place he loved so much. AW will be remembered as a catalyst for tourism in Cumbria and as somebody who could help others to understand the heritage and way of life of people in the Lakeland area. It is important never to lose sight of his massive contribution."
You can find out more about Wainwright at this dedicated website:

In 2005 a POLL to find the most popular Wainwright walk in the Lake District ended with the author’s favourite being named the best. The climb up Haystacks, which overlooks
lake Buttermere, was voted number one by visitors to, Cumbria Tourist Board’s website.
Wainwright considered Haystacks the best walk in the Lake District and had his ashes scattered on the 1,960ft (579m) summit following his death in 1991. The poll was carried out to mark the anniversary of the publication of his first ever walking guide. A Pictorial Guide to The Eastern Fells was published 50 years ago this year.
In the closing paragraphs of his book, Memoirs of a Fell Wanderer - written when Wainwright was in his Eighties and his eyesight and legs were failing - he wrote:
“This book is not a personal lament for the end of fellwalking and the end of active life, but a thanksgiving for the countless blessings that have been mine in the last 80 years.
“All I ask for, at the end, is a last long resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn on Haystacks, where the water gently laps the gravely shore and the heath blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch.
“A quiet place, a lonely place, I shall go to it, for the last time and be carried: someone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me there alone.
“And if you dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boot as you are crossing Haystacks in the years to come, please treat it with respect. It might be me…”

A popular long distance walk has become even trendier than the Pennine Way that AW help make even more popular in the 1960s.
Originally the brainchild of Alfred Wainwright, the Coast to Coast walk is one of the most famous and popular long distance routes in the world. The route runs from St Bees on the West Coast of Cumbria to Robins Hood Bay on North Yorkshire's Eastern Coast. At 190 miles long and generally taking 12 to 14 days to complete, the challenge of the Coast to Coast should not be underestimated, indeed many people take it in smaller sections and complete the route over a period of months or years.

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