Al Wainwright

My Hero – Alfred Wainwright

by Bob Eccles | 8th January 2023 | Comments: 0

Alfred Wainwright, born in 1907, was a British guidebook author and illustrator, best known for his series of seven pictorial guidebooks to the fells (hills) of the Lake District in England. Despite having no formal qualifications in cartography or illustration, Wainwright’s books have become extremely popular and are considered a work of art in their own right.

Wainwright was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, and worked as a clerk in a local government office. He developed a love for the outdoors and walking from a young age, and would often take long walks on the weekends and holidays. In the 1930s, he started to explore the Lake District, and was struck by the beauty of the region. He decided to document his walks and the stunning landscapes he encountered, creating hand-drawn maps and detailed descriptions of the routes.

In 1952, Wainwright published his first guidebook, “A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.” The book was a hit, and he went on to write six more volumes, covering all 214 fells in the Lake District. Each book contained detailed descriptions of the routes to the tops of the fells, as well as hand-drawn maps and beautiful illustrations of the landscapes and views.

Wainwright’s books are known for their simplicity and clarity. He believed that anyone should be able to follow his guides and have a successful walk, regardless of their level of experience. He also included information on the history and folklore of the region, making his books not just practical guides, but also a fascinating read.

Wainwright’s books have inspired a love of walking and the outdoors in countless people, and have become a must-have for anyone planning a trip to the Lake District. His legacy lives on today, with many people still using his guidebooks and following in his footsteps.

In addition to his guidebooks, Wainwright also wrote several other books on walking and the outdoors, including “The Outlying Fells of Lakeland,” “The Coast to Coast Walk,” and “The Pennine Way.” He was also a regular contributor to outdoor magazines and gave lectures on walking and the outdoors.

Despite his love for the outdoors, Wainwright was known to be a bit of a homebody, and rarely ventured far from his home in Kendal, Cumbria. He lived a simple life, and was very private, shying away from the spotlight. He passed away in 1991, but his guidebooks continue to be popular and are considered a classic in the world of walking literature.

Alfred Wainwright’s contribution to the world of outdoor literature cannot be overstated. His beautiful guidebooks have inspired countless people to explore the great outdoors and discover the beauty of the Lake District. His legacy will continue to be felt for many years to come.


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