I’m not sure when I started to get an itch to start bagging Wainwrights, but Ros noticed it before I did. A couple of Christmases ago, among my presents was something tube shaped with a tag reading ‘for accounting purposes.’ The package contained a chart of the Wainwright fells and a ‘tick list’ where you can mark off the date you reached the summit.
The only slight problem with it was that there were some fells and routes that Ros wasn’t keen on tackling. That’s fine. This is about enjoyment, after all. Everyone has their own relationship with the mountain. One of the great things about Lakeland is that there are astounding views on offer everywhere. There’s no direct relationship between the quality of the panorama, the sense of peace, the interest in a walk, and the height, difficulty and the timid fell walker’s version of what proper climbers call ‘exposure’ – the obviousness of just how much falling space there is beneath you. Now, put me in a cablecar and I’ll get an attack of acrophobia so powerful it could vibrate the mountain like a violin string but I’m OK on narrow ridges or precipitous paths. Ros is the other way round. So if, one day, I’m going to complete the list, there are a few fells where I’m going to be on my own.