AN OLD friend of Alfred Wainwright's is working on a new walking book inspired by their conversations.

Retired headteacher Ron Scholes got to know the fellwalker in the 1970s, at first through writing letters and later visiting his home at Kendal Green, where they would chat about long-distance walks. Mr Scholes, who lives in Staffordshire, was even "afforded the rare honour" of staying the night on three separate occasions.

The 88-year-old has written several books, and his latest is based on Wainwright's idea for a "purely Pennine Way", starting in the Derbyshire Dales and ending in the Tyne Valley and Hadrian’s Wall.

A Pennine Odyssey - Walks and Ways will include anecdotes and memories of his friendship with Wainwright, as well as a foreword by Cumbrian writer Hunter Davies and recollections from author Eric Robson, chairman of the Wainwright Society.

Chartered geographer Mr Scholes is hand-drawing the route maps, and the book is to be published next year.

"From a young age, a map was the means of transporting oneself to distant parts, and this dual interest was often the main subject of our discussions," recalled the author.

"During the preparation of work for the Odyssey, I have spent countless happy hours studying the maps used by Wainwright and his helpers; in particular, many sheets so beautifully annotated in coloured pencil by AW."

Recalling his visits to Wainwright's Kendal home, Mr Scholes said: "We talked about the Pennine Way and AW’s Coast to Coast Walk, as well as my completion of the Cambrian Way, over the ‘roof’ of Wales from Cardiff to Conwy, and my aim to trek 1,360 miles from Cape Wrath in north-west Scotland to Land’s End, which I completed in 1990.

"I also wanted to create my own coast to coast route from the Lake District to Northumberland, as well as planning a series of circular and linear walks in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. These ideas were enthusiastically received by AW, and many of his observations and suggestions were used to improve the variety and interest of the walks."

Those ideas were to become Mr Scholes' Coast to Coast on the Ravenber Way and Walking in Eden, both published by Sigma Press and now in their third editions. Sadly, Wainwright did not see them in print, as he died in 1991, but his wife, Betty, wrote the foreword to the Ravenber Way book.

For more, visit or follow Mr Scholes on Twitter @Scholes1Ron