Haystacks: Chris Jesty will walk to the summit

Haystacks: Chris Jesty will walk to the summit

Fans of the best known chronicler of the Lakeland fells have thrown down the gauntlet to hillwalkers.

The Wainwright Society, which is dedicated to the works of the Grumpy Old Fellwalker Alfred Wainwright, wants volunteers to climb every one of the fells featured in Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells – and raise more than £2,000 for rescuers.

Walkers won’t be expected to summit every peak, just select one from the 214 he covered in his seven guides. The Lakeland 214 Challenge will be held next year in May and entrants will be asked to contribute a minimum £10, so the Search and Rescue Dogs Association, which helps mountain rescue teams in their work on the fells, should benefit to the tune of at least £2,140.

Chris Jesty, who is revising all the Wainwright’s guides to bring them up to date, will have the honour of walking to the summit of Haystacks, which the author marked out as his favourite Lake District fell and on which he asked for his ashes to be scattered.

Other fells will be allocated on a first-come basis, with members of the Wainwright Society able to register their interest in December and non-members from 1 January 2009.

John Burland of the society said: “We did it in 2005 to celebrate the first book being republished. The last time I think we missed out on getting people on top of three of the outliers, though we managed to get someone on all of the 214 main hills.”

There are 270 peaks covered by Wainwright altogether, including the outlying fells he described in his eighth book.

Mr Burland said: “Book Seven of Chris Jesty’s revised series will be done in the summer of next year. To celebrate the completion of the revision we are hoping that the book will be out to coincide with the challenge.

“He [Chris Jesty] is working on the revision of the Coast-to-Coast book and on what I like to think of as Book Eight, the Outlying Fells.”

Sarda, the charity chosen for the event, trains mountain rescuers to use dogs to search and find missing walkers on the hills and mountains of the UK. Members are called on by mountain rescue teams regularly. So far this year, Sarda members have mounted 116 searches for 184 missing people and one missing dog!

Mr Burland said: “We feel that as AW was a great animal lover, as well as a lover of the fells of the Lake District, this charity would be very appropriate for the society to support on this challenge.”

Previous Wainwright Society challenges have raised money for Cockermouth and Keswick MRTs.

Details of the Lakeland 214 Challenge will be posted on the society’s website in December.

  • Members of the Wainwright Society this week set out to trace one of the writer’s earliest journeys, made when he was in his early thirties. He chronicled the 11-day trip, from Settle in north Yorkshire to Hadrian’s Wall in A Pennine Journey.

Twenty walkers set off from Blackburn, heading for Settle station, to follow the 231-mile route. The walk was the brainchild of David and Heather Pitt, who intend to publish a guide to the route.