Who better to start a Cumbrian cultural journey with than Alfred Wainwright, the famous British fellwalker, guidebook author and amazingly talented illustrator? During his lifetime (1907 – 1991), Alfred climbed his famous 214 Lakeland fells and created hundreds of drawings that were later published in his iconic, 7 volume, Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.

Photograph of a Cumbrian herdy sheep on the right, standing in a mountain landscape described by Wainwright in his books.
Langdale Pikes (Credit: CreativeMakerSpace)

Someone once told me that “give someone a ladder and they’ll climb it”, so given a target of 214 mountains to scale, I purchased a set of Wainwright Pictorial Guides and a map and started my self-imposed challenge in 2019. Covid 19 lockdown has obviously slowed my progress, but at the beginning of August 2020, I decided to see if I could complete one Wainwright for every day of the month and then (hopefully) reflect on my progress and also look more deeply at the extraordinary skill Alfred W. had in making the local landscape not only more accessible to the enthusiastic walker, but also the remarkable gift of beautiful drawings, illustrations and hand-crafted script he has shared through his books.