Enthusiasts have unveiled a blue plaque marking the starting point of the first long-distance journey of author Alfred Wainwright.
The inscription now adorns the waiting room of Settle railway station, from where the guidebook writer set out in 1938 on a walk that would produce an account that lay unpublished for almost 50 years.
Members of the Wainwright Society, which aims to keep alive the works of the diffident borough treasurer whose Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells became sought-after classics.
It was not until just before his death that A Pennine Journey was published, an account of his 1938 210-mile walk from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall and back. The book chronicles his walk as the dark clouds of war gather over northern England, and contains insights into his idiosyncratic philosophy.
The plaque, at the southern end of the Settle and Carlisle Railway, was unveiled yesterday, Saturday, at a ceremony attended by about 60 people including representatives from Northern Rail, the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company, the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line and the Wainwright Society.
Helen Holden, who is the daughter of Lawrence Wolstenholme, one of Wainwright’s work colleagues in Blackburn, to whom he sent a series of illustrated postcards from various locations along the route in 1938, performed the ceremony.
Wainwright began his long walk at Settle station after travelling by rail from Blackburn.
In 2010, a new guide to the original walk was published, but with the route using public footpaths and not along the roads that Wainwright used at the time of his 1938 holiday.
Following discussions between David Pitt, a Wainwright Society member, who devised the new route, and Marion Armstrong of the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company on behalf of the Settle-Carlisle Partnership, it was agreed that a blue plaque and information board should be installed in the waiting room at Settle station.
Derek Cockell, press and publicity officer for the Wainwright Society, said: “Among the aims of the Wainwright Society in promoting this new long-distance walk are to bring economic benefit to the communities that lie along the route as well as showcasing the beautiful varied landscape of the Dales and northern Pennines.
“Alfred Wainwright’s interest in this area of northern England is not as well-known as his Lake District guides and the Society is keen to highlight this aspect of his work.
“It is also hoped that the Pennine Journey route will be waymarked on the ground as a precursor to its marking on future Ordnance Survey maps. Discussions about waymarking the route are continuing with the relevant local authorities.”
- Television viewers in northern England can see a 30-minute programme about Wainwright’s Long Walk, featuring David and Heather Pitt. The Inside Out broadcast runs from 10.25pm on BBC1 this evening, Sunday. The programme will also be available on BBC’s iPlayer and on Sky.