I was standing in the kitchen the other day, leaning against the wall, having a cup of tea and looking at our map of the Wainwrights on the wall. It is covered with little coloured pins, indicating the mountains we have already climbed. It is also covered by white spots, and there are more white spots than coloured pins; these indicate the Wainwright fells that we haven’t climbed and are a stark reminder of the magnitude of the task before us.
The Wainwrights – Will we make it?
Way back in January when all this seemed rosy and exciting, the concept of walking all of Wainwright’s 214 fells didn’t seem so daunting. That is not the case now. Granted, we still have seven months to go, and we are just a few hills short of our May target of 60. Yet, the questions are beginning to creep into my mind. Will we make it? Does it matter if we don’t get them all done in a year?
I suppose the answer to the second question is, no. It doesn’t matter if we don’t do them in a year, we could do them in a year and a half, but we have set ourselves the challenge of completing them in a year and we are aiming for that.
When we feel jaded and despondent, when the mountains seem just to hard too climb, we remember why we are doing this. First, to raise funds for Tearfund’s No Child Taken campaign to prevent child trafficking. And second, because we enjoy walking the mountains and admiring the beauty of the Lake District.
The answer to the first question is, yes. With God’s help we will make it, but when? I have now started to plan our ascents of these mountains. I never wanted to. I wanted to keep our walks spontaneous, dependent on choice, weather and commitments. There are a lot of white spots in the west and north, so we now need to concentrate our efforts on these places.
Bivvies, ridges and high-level nights out
There are interesting ridge-lines that I am saving for the summer, when we can bivvy on the summits, or camp and spend a couple of days walking over a range of hills. The Helvellyn ridge looks fantastic for a bivvy. Camps in Ennerdale and Wastwater are other options. We may even bivvy along the ridge running to Red Pike, in true Cuillen style!
Hannah is already excited by these ideas and is ready for the warm summer days and nights ahead. We have many scrambles lined up. Pinnacle Ridge on St. Sunday Crag. The ridge ascending the west side of Robinson looks worth exploring. There is an excellent scramble on Rosthwaite Fell in Langstrath. A scramble up the East face of Great Gable is already on the cards. There are loads to do; we can’t wait.
On target for September
Our target is to have completed about 150 Wainwrights by the end of the school holidays in September, just over double what we have now. It is possible, yet I must also take into account things like injury, and the walks becoming forced. We need to keep fun and enjoyment at the top of the list. We need to seek out interesting ways of climbing these mountains, photographing them and writing about them. We have 58 under our belt, and its half-term in a couple of weeks and once Hannah’s legs have recovered we’ll be off again.