Walking is now one of the biggest attractions of the Lake District with many footpaths to follow whether strolling around the low lying lakes or climbing up into the mountainous fells whichever is undertaken the scenery is magnificent. Alfred Wainwright born in Blackburn, Lancashire on 17th January 1907 was the inspiration behind walking in the Lake District. His hand written book, The Pictorial Guide to the Lake District, portrays his own unique style and charm to walking the 214 fells which are commonly referred to as “The Wainwright’s” or “Wainwright Walks”. It took him 13 years to complete the seven book collection, the first one being published in 1955. The pictorial guides have recently been updated by friend and fellow cartographer Chris Jesty. Wainwright next produced the Pennine Way Companion in 1968 a guide to the already established route through the backbone of England. Four years later he created his own long distance walk called the Coast to Coast which is a 192 mile route across England from St Bees in the west to Robin Hood’s Bay in the east, taking in three National Parks, the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. He was the youngest son of a stonemason and although doing well at school he left at the age of 13 to support his mother. He found himself an office job for the local Blackburn council enabling him to study at night school, gaining qualifications in accountancy. He also developed skills as an artist and his love for walking grew. At the age of 23 Wainwright caught his first glimpse of the Lake District and fell in love with its beauty. A year later he married Ruth Holden producing a son Peter. In 1941 Wainwright accepted a job offer in the Borough Treasurers Office in Kendal bringing him closer to the Lakeland fells. He lived in Kendal for the rest of his life but three weeks before his retirement in 1967 he a Ruth ended their marriage and divorced soon after. In 1970 he married his long term friend and walking companion Betty McNally. Alfred Wainwright died on 20th January 1991 of a heart attack and it was Betty who carried his ashes to his final resting place, Innominate Tarn at the top of Haystacks.

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