by Nick Burton

Nick Burton - Wainwrights Way: A Long Distance Walk Through Alfred Wainwright


Wainwright's Way is  a journey on foot through Wainwright’ s life from Lancashire to the Lakes. This walking guide charts a 126-mile long-distance route linking the place where Wainwright was born - a Victorian terraced house in Audley Range, Blackburn - with his final resting place on Haystacks, his heavenly corner of Lakeland.
Along the way, the walk, split into ten day stages, literally follows in the footsteps of Wainwright at work, linking the sights he sketched and wrote about in a succession of Lancashire guides:  A Ribble Sketchbook, A Bowland Sketchbook and A Lune Sketchbook. Continuing northwards, the walk arrives in the county Wainwright knew best, as celebrated in his books, Westmorland Heritage and Three Westmorland Rivers.  Spending time in Kendal, where Wainwright lived for 50 years, the route stops to enjoy a unique circular town walk linking all the places associated with AW – from the Museum and Library, to the Town Hall where he worked, to his two residences at Castle Grove and Kendal Green.
From here, the walker enters Wainwright’ s ‘ earthly paradise’ and takes a meandering course across Lakeland from Kendal to Buttermere, through the territory made so familiar by AW’ s intimate Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. The route visits some of the lesser known valleys, passes and peaks recorded in The Far Eastern, Eastern, Central and Western Fells guides, and stops in Borrowdale, one of Wainwright’ s favourite valleys, taking in a section of his Coast to Coast Walk along the way.
The climax of the walk follows the final journey of Wainwright himself, as his ashes were carried onto Haystacks from Honister Pass to be scattered by the side of Innominate Tarn. From here, the walker drops down to the shores of Buttermere and visits the final memorial to Wainwright - the window on to the fells in the tiny roadside church of St. James. It is a fitting end to both a memorable walk completed – and a memorable life fulfilled.
Much more than a route guide, this book uncovers the history, landscape and characters of many of the places sketched by Wainwright. It is a walk through some of the most spectacular scenery in the North of England – including a surprising Lancashire, a county of dramatic river valleys, high moors and lonely woodland cloughs.  This trek unites the two contrasting lives of the master fell walker – his industrial Lancashire life and his Lakeland life. It takes in paths on the edge of mill town Blackburn that Wainwright is known to have walked along himself during his youthful sojourns into the Lancashire countryside.                     

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