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Wainwright Society recreates historic first walk
FANS of fell walker Alfred Wainwright gathered yesterday to spend a day celebrating his life.
Members of the Wainwright Society, many dressed in period costume, marked the 80th anniversary of his first trip to the Lake District by recreating his walk.
Wainwright, who was born in Blackburn in 1907, went on to write a series of guides to the area that are still used by hikers today.
The journey, using a vintage bus, set off in Blackburn and travelled to Windermere via Morecambe using the same route taken by their hero.
Once they arrived they walked to the summit of nearby Orrest Head using the same path taken by Wainwright and his cousin Eric Beardsall.
Society chairman Eric Robson, who is planning to make a film of the trip, recorded the day on camera.
Wainwright was known as a very private man, who donated all the money from his books to animal charities.
He was born in Audley Range, founded Blackburn Rovers Supporters Club, and worked in the treasurer’s office in the town hall.
Two years ago the new £12million bridge at Freckleton Street was named after him after a poll of Lancashire Telegraph readers.
The date of his first trip to the Lakes was uncovered recently by a member of the Wainwright Society, whose research appears in the latest society magazine.
It was found to be Saturday, June 7 1930.
The society was founded in 2002, when members also recreated yesterday’s famous Dove Crag walk.
Well-known members include mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington and television presenter Julia Bradbury.
Praise for Wainwright and his walking guides
Wainwright society member John Pulford said: “I think it was very important to mark this occasion. I’ve been a member of the society for eight years and I’m a huge fan of his guides – they are still the best way to discover the Lake District.”
Valerie Wilkinson, of Derbyshire, said: “Wainwright was a genius and completely underestimated in his day. I think that his books are definitely works of art and he was a very romantic person.”
Fred Morris, of Chester, said: “We come to walk here about a dozen times a year. We’re trying to complete all 214 of Wainwright’s walks and we’re on 128 now. His books are so good to follow up the fells.”