Lakeland Walking Breaks, walking breaks in the Lake District

Wainwright's First Walk


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Wainwright's First Walk

Even the great AW had to start somewhere!

In March 1930 Alfred Wainwright arrived by train at Windermere Station and took the short walk up Orrest Head, overlooking Windermere. Little did he realise as he set out to climb the relatively modest peak that this was to be a life changing moment, not only for him, but also for countless fell walkers from all over the world.

Once at the summit the young Wainwright could hardly believe what he saw. Laid out before him was the Lake District in all it's glory. It was the beginning of a love affair with the Lakeland fells that was to last his entire lifetime and which resulted in the creation of his Pictorial Guides, surely one of the most unique volumes ever to be published.

The pictorial guides truly were the work of one man. Not only did Wainwright carry out all his own research and complete all the walks, he also wrote the books in long hand, adding superb ink drawings to illustrate his routes, as well as accurate charts showing the aspect of the fell he was describing in relation to it's surroundings.

Having written the first book, he took the pages to a local newspaper and paid for them to be printed up, taking out a loan to pay the massive cost of doing so. Within a short period of time the original print run had been sold, and the loan was well on it's way to being paid off. 12 years later the volume was complete as his seventh book was published. The art of fell walking had been transformed by the superb little books.

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We follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright, on a short ascent of Orrest Head Windermere, to discover what inspired him so much that he ultimately changed the course of his own life, and fell walking history.


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Orrest Head is one of the summits featured in the following Jonathan Craig Guides. Click the picture of the book for more information.

Accommodation near Orrest Head.

This book features a walk from Ambleside to Windermere via Troutbeck that includes Orrest Head as part of the route

This book features two routes to the summit of Orrest Head, the one in the video and a longer country walk. The picture on the front cover was taken from the summit of Orrest Head

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