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A Night with Wainwright

Last year, me and Pete camped out on Haystacks with Wainwright. Not right by the side of Innominate Tarn, at a respectful distance. We could see Pillar and, with a little walk, all the way down the valley to Buttermere and Crummock.

The weather was amazing.

We met at 7.00pm at the Bridge Hotel and had a beer outside to discuss tactics.

Then we had another just to make sure we both knew what we were doing and the tactics were absolutely clear. Then we had anoth…

No we didn’t, we left before the third or we would never have …


Lake District Survival Guide Quiz

Hello Everyone.

Thought I’d have a quiz and give you a chance to win a FREE copy of The Lake District Survival Guide.

All you need to do is fill in the blank boxes below with the correct answers and press submit. After that, if you’ve got them all right, I’ll be in touch to send you the book.

I’ll need your email, but don’t worry no spamming.

Good luck…


I think I’m missing The Fells

It’s been two months now since I set boot on a fell and I’m starting to get a bit edgy about it. I know it’s getting bad because I’ve started noticing a few odd things happening.

I happened to notice a disgusting snotty smear on our back bedroom window. After a great deal of investigation, I found out what it was. By accident, I caught myself staring out of the aforementioned window, nose pressed firmly against the windowpane. From the back window, I can see Skiddaw in the distance. Mystery solved. I’d been gazing longingly. I apologised to our dog, …


Is Strava just for big fat show-offs?

I know my place in the Strava world – mid table. I don’t like being last on the leaderboards and I’ve no chance of being first, so mid table is where I belong. If I get into a top ten I’m pretty chuffed with myself, but since no one else really gives a monkey’s there no point in being too chuffed.

‘Darling, I’m fifth on the Church Road Gut Buster.’

‘Really dear, who give a monkey’s’

See what I mean.

But is it just for big fat show offs? The answer is, yes, sort of. If you’re a Sunday afternoon …


Finally- scientific proof that you need a lighter load

Finally- scientific proof that you need a lighter load

I want to be hiking in the fells when I’m a codger (not long to go), so over the last few years I’ve been lightening the load in my rucksack, mainly because Sir Isaac Newton and my knees told me to.

I know Sir Isaac got bonked on the head with an apple but we all do daft things. The main concern for us walkers is that Newton discovered the reason we need to lighten the load of our rucksacks.

There’s equations.

This is the massive universal force that must …


A few of my fav videos

Dan Osman’s Speed Climb

This is a classic rock climbing video that you’ve probably all seen, but I’ve included it just because it’s great.

You will not be surprise to learn the Dan Osman died in 1998 at the age of 35. He didn’t fall off a rock face – he jumped off.

He was doing a ‘free fall’ jump from a rock in Yosemite National Park. This involved falling several hundred feet from a cliff then being caught by a safety rope. On the day he died the ropes he had been using had been exposed to snow and …


Grasmere – The Brutal Truth

You all know that William lived in Dove Cottage with his sister Dorothy. Here he chatted about very clever things with his Romantic buddies Scott, Lamb, Coleridge, Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, Southey, deQuincey – man, it was crowded in there. But Grasmere isn’t all about William and his opium-eating friends, it’s not about daffodils and niceness, it’s about death and fighting and poking out people’s eyes.

St Oswald’s Church

St Oswald’s church is named after Lee Harvey Oswald who shot President Kennedy in 1963, no sorry damn that wikipedia, it was named after Oswald, King of Northumbria who introduced Christianity into …


Lake District Tees and Hoodies

Thought I’d add a few more products to the website rather than just the book. So here’s some tees and hoodies that I designed with Lake District themes. I haven’t got them all on the website yet, because I was a bit snowed under with sitting in the garden doing nothing.

But tonight my wife’ll probably be watching Celebrity SAS or something else with celebrities crying all the time, so I’ll be able to get some more on then.

Hope you like them.



Loweswater is a secret, and there’s plenty of other good stuff to read on this site so I’ll see you on those pages. Bye.

Like I said, this alternative post’s great – family hike

Still here? What about this one on Derwent Water

Okay, you seem keen, so I’ll let you into a few Loweswater secrets. 

Firstly, Loweswater is cute. And it’s unique, being the only lake that drains towards the centre of the Lake District. It drains into Crummock and then out via the River Cocker to Cockermouth. I told the kids this last time we were there and …


Hiking is fun

Had another go at impressing Walt and his Disney friends with this classic hiking tale. In my mind it takes place on Skiddaw, only because every time I go up there it seems to be a bit like that.

Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t end well for the hiker.


How to beat Coronavirus

I was watching Monster Inc for the seven thousandth time and then it struck me, we need the CDA, The Child Detection Agency. One phone call and this impressive military-style operation drops through the roof on zip wires or pile out of armoured vehicles to deal with the situation.

Near the start, Boo, the child who is supposed to be toxic, is spotted in the sushi restaurant. One phone call and the CDA are there within seconds. The place is sealed off from the rest of the world and everyone in there decontaminated. That is what we need.

I put …


Lockdown 25 – The Beard

In lockdown I decided to do what every other man is doing and see what type of beard I could grow. I’ve let it grow for about a week before, then my wife called in her lawyers and I was forced to shave it off.

Now, I’ve got nowhere to go and no one to see, I’ve decided to give it another go. So I’ve put together this post which will form part of a presentation I will give to my wife later.

I was going to start with an undeniable fact and some boasting. Something about the beard being …


Lockdown 24 – Jollop

Trump thinks we might be able to inject ourselves with Dettol to kill coronavirus, I didn’t fancy that so I thought I’d look to the past to see how they coped with bad stuff. Because let’s face it, anything’s better than that.

A few hundred years ago there were some good options to cure flu and fever-type symptoms. Here’s the list:

  • Sitting next to an open sewer and breathing in the noxious fumes can help drive out a fever.
  • Mashing up some snails with a marshmallow is also good, and michelin star. 
  • Bloodletting has been popular for thousands of years

Lockdown 23 – Puns

Next time you have your feet up with a cup of tea, pouring over the newspapers, firstly be more careful with your drink, and secondly take notice of the pun, the most downgraded of literary features. 

I’ve always loved puns, but a couple of days ago I got really jealous of my wife’s finger. It was scrolling down her phone and making her laugh, so I had to know why. I clicked on Facebook and started to scroll. Several days…hours… god knows, later I was a member of The Tim Vine Appreciation Society. Here’s one of my favs.

Puns are …


Lockdown 22 – Introduction

Had another go at animation, you’ll be glad to know.

Here I am doing a summary of the first page of The Lake District Survival Guide. Hope you like it.

This took me all day.…


Lockdown 21 – TikTok

WARNING: Before you watch this video, it wasn’t my fault. My daughter said let’s do a TikTok, I didn’t know what that was or what I was getting myself into and then this happened.

I know it really doesn’t look like it, but we actually practiced this for half an hour before the final edit. I’ve decide to give up art and writing because I’ve obviously got a natural gift for dance.

Sorry for wasting 15 seconds of your life.…


Lockdown 20 – Beer

I don’t know about you but beer is playing a much greater part of my lockdown than I would’ve hoped. So I thought I’d look into some beer history (how bored am I?)

Beer has been around from the start. Shortly after we descended from the branches and could stand on two legs, we devised a beverage that reversed this pinnacle of evolutionary struggle and returned us, face down, into the primeval ooze. 

The Babylonians knew the importance of beer, excessive use of the Euphrates during fermentation was, by law, death for the diluter. The ancient Egyptians, who felt beer …


Lockdown 19 – Cycling the Cumbria Way

Last summer I decided to combine my two favourite occupations, cycling and whinging, so I tackled The Cumbria Way Cycle Route.

The route starts at Ulverston and follows The Cumbria Way Walk Route, as the guidebook says, ‘loosely’. It takes in Coniston, Elterwater, Grasmere, Thirlmere, Derwent Water before heading off behind Skiddaw and down to  Carlisle.

If, like me, planning isn’t your thing and you find yourself in Ulverston without a guide to the route, firstly, you idiot and secondly the Tourist Information Centre in Coronation Hall, County Square has them. Also, you can buy a bike from Gill Cycles …


Lockdown 18 – Making a video

Okay, I’m not Walt Disney and this took me a lot longer than the 2 hours I talk about in the video and it doesn’t make any sense, but it was fun and isn’t that the main thing…


Lockdown 17 – Staying happy

In these terrible times it’s important to stay happy, when I’m on a downer I always use this device to stretch my miserable chops into a cheerful smile.

It’s fully adjustable to any head size and comes in useful when my daughter comes downstairs in her dressing gown at about 11 every morning. Without this her face isn’t flexible enough to be happy until at least 4.

We are trying to get these out to everyone so don’t worry, you’ll soon be happy again.…


Lockdown 15 – Family Hike

About this time last year, we did our annual family hike. This time it was starting and finishing at Elterwater. .

It took three days.
Day 1: Elterwater to Hawkeshead
Day 2: Hawkeshead to Coniston
Day 3: Coniston to Elterwater

I love a family hike. With the kids there’s always a bit of complaining to begin with, but once I get into it I’m okay. There’s only one mountain top on this walk, Holme Fell, which is the second smallest Wainwright and the rest of it is little ups and downs. Easy peasy. That’s how I presented it to the …


Lockdown 14 – Bucket List

I was looking online at what other people were doing with their time during lockdown. One suggestion was to make a bucket list, so I got right on it and this is what I came up with.


Lockdown 13 – Paintings

I’m missing the Fells (imagine a sad emoji right here)

I had an essential journey yesterday to help my wife out at work in Cockermouth and as I was driving along the A595 when I saw them in the distance for the first time in weeks, they looked amazing.

Grasmoor and Whiteside looked stunning as always, Skiddaw over to the left looked, I’m going to say majestic, even though I sound a bit like a football pundit. But Skiddaw’s in acres of space and looked good on paper. If I was hiking up it, I’d be giving it 110% even …


Lockdown 12 – A Cultural Visit

Today the whole family went to the US of A. I decided a bit of culture might be good for our well being so we took a trip to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. There was no one there on the virtual tour, so we felt safe.

First things first, with any Natural History Museum, where’s the blinkin’ T-Rex. I found one munching on a Stegosaurus’s head just off the main foyer. It took me a long time as a child to grow into my head, but the T-Rex, especially as a skeleton, never has. In my mind, being the …


Lockdown 11 – Board Games

We’ve been getting through a few board games in the last few days. I don’t want to boast too much, but I’m absolutely brilliant at Monopoly and unbeaten in our kitchen (the living room doesn’t count, I was tired).

For all those parents out there who want to claw back a tiny bit of self-respect in a relentlessly undermining universe, the key to victory is a continual irritating verbal bombardment. Getting the first full set and being the first to get those houses on the board is essential, from then you can apply the mental pressure. 

‘You’re coming round,’ rubbing …


Lockdown 10 – Moot Hall, Keswick

I sketched this today, from a photo I took last November. In the photo, there are a load of people milling around in the rain but I left them out because that was the old world we used to live in.


Lockdown 9 – Exercise

So we need to keep fit and my daughter forced me to do Joe Wicks PE workout. He was in a Spiderman outfit and we had a full Spiderman workout and, guess what, I enjoyed it. Spiderman is still my favourite Superhero, despite Toby Maguire crying all the time, so I was loving it, especially running away from the Green Goblin, climbing skyscrapers, shooting webs at baddies on the left and then on the right. A couple of times I actually did go ‘phhetewww’ which is the sound a web shooter makes, but my daughter found that embarrassing so I …


Lockdown 8 – Boredom Explained

Because you’re reading this page, you will have no idea about the concept of boredom. But the moment you’ve finished and you again feel a bit lost and wistful in a big bad coronavirus world, then I think it might be helpful if you knew what causes this strange sensation we call ‘fed up to the back teeth.’

The good news is, to be bored you need to have a certain level of brain stimulation and it’s a comforting thing to know something is still happening behind your vacant features. If there’s nothing going on in there and you don’t …


Lockdown 7 – The Fells

I decided to draw Grisedale Pike today.

And after I’d finished I realised I had another 16 hours and 58 minutes before bedtime, so I continued with a few more, in some of them I actually added some detail.

Then I tried a bit of this with pencil:

And then the kids got their butts out of bed, so that was that.…


Lockdown 6 – The Dog

The dog is fed up. Amazingly, everyone in the house wants to walk her, because if you’re walking the dog you don’t feel as if you’ll be beaten with truncheons. It’s a legitimate outdoor activity. 

But our dog hates walking locally. This is her when she realizes we have walked passed the car and we are just going around the block again.

There’s no new places to wee, all the local lamposts are already saturated and there’s no fresh bums to smell. It’s an outrage.

There are a few rules we must comply with to keep the dog happy. She …


Lockdown 5 – Shopping

Over the past 5 days I’ve cut the grass, tidied the garage, hoovered, cleaned mould off the bathroom ceiling, discovered our cupboard under the cooker was full of plastic bags and walked the dog in various disguises 4 times a day. To be clear, I was in disguise, not the dog, because that would be weird.

So today, I decided to do a post.

About an essential trip to Lidl, just down the road. Note the word essential just so you know I’m not being frivolous with my public time, although I did get haribos and gin while I was …


Quick Pen Sketches

For, wait let’s count, the last 44 days I’ve been doing a quick celeb sketch using my bog standard biro pen. I thought, if I couldn’t make a mistake then that would focus my mind, inspiring me to greater levels of artistic innovation and transcendental…

Ok, I can’t keep that sentence going.

I just fancied doing it.

And you know what, I really missed my most used creative device, my rubber.

Here’s my sketches, some are better than others. And, yes, I did watch James Bond, Lord of the Rings and Friends during this 44 day period.


Born Lucky

Hands up, are you lucky or unlucky? Well let me put you out of your misery, you’re lucky – you found this amazing website didn’t you?

And after you’ve read this post you’ll be even luckier.

Let’s be scientific before you become skeptical, because skeptical is not going to help.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman did an experiment on over a thousand people. He gave them all a newspaper and told them to count the number of photos in the whole newspaper. On the second page he placed an advert taking up half the page. The advert said: ‘Tell the experimenter that …


Hiking Thoughts 1: Why does time speed up when you get older?

I’m writing this using my feet, sitting on the roof of my house, wearing a Viking hat. It’s a bit windy and my laptop is difficult to balance on the roof apex, but I don’t care, I can get more done up here. And I will prove this using science.

You’ll have noticed that someone has moved the earth closer to the sun and messed up the length of our year. It’ll soon be Christmas… again and a week definitely isn’t a week anymore. If you’re young (jealous rage) you might not have noticed this phenomenon quite as much, but …


Back in the Day

I’ve known quite a few of my friends from school and every time we go out drinking we always have a  portion (most) of the night talking about the good old days, so I thought if we’ve talked about it for 40 years then maybe other people might be doing the same.

Here’s a few cartoons I’ve called ‘Back in the day’


Comfy Lightweight Sleeping Mats

I have trouble sleeping in my own king-sized bed at home so imagine what I’m like hiking. If possible I would carry my Coleman Comfort airbed and rechargeable pump with me always, but since it weighs 2.3 kg and won’t fit in my tent or my bag and my mates would laugh at me, I don’t.

They wouldn’t be laughing in the morning when I’m as fresh as a daisy and they’re looking like Andrew Lloyd Weber’s dog.

On a long trek, sleep is important and you have to juggle the old weight verses comfort dilemma. As the previous owner …


Versatile, wind resistant, durable, no not me, Pertex

It’s worth buying a Pertex jacket/windshirt just so you can show how clever you are to your thick friends.
Thick Friend: ‘You haven’t been sweating at all, you look as dry as a bone.’
Clever You: ‘That’s Capillary Action Technology for you…’ glancing with affection at your Montane Litespeed.
Thick Friend: ‘eh…?’
Clever You: ‘Capillary action – draws water through narrow spaces. Pertex has thousands of capillaries within the fabric which moves moisture between the fibres and spreads over the surface of the jacket and evaporates.’

Once your cleverness is beyond doubt, whip out your Nobo board and move on …


Reproofing and Waterproofing your Jacket

When it comes to waterproofing and cleaning waterproof jackets I’ve never known men discuss ironing so much down the local on a Friday night, here’s what I heard last week:

‘After I’ve reproofed, I always iron my waterproofs, it’s basic physics isn’t it?’
‘Two pints of Cumberland Ale, please?’
‘Adding heat to a chemical reaction increases the energy of that reaction.’
‘Do you want some pork scratchings?’
‘Yes please. You see, heat helps the fluorocarbons in the proofer bond with the molecules in the original fabric.’
‘Bloody ‘ell, it’s gone up in here since I was last in’
‘You see, …


Which Baselayers are the Smelliest?

When we owned the shop in Keswick we got a lot of people through the door who had spent a week on the fells without scraping out their arm pits or changing their under garments. I did a little survey and asked the whiffiest people what baselayers they were wearing – don’t cringe, I was subtle.

‘Hey, stink bomb is that a Helly Hansen baselayer you’re wearing or have you bathed in dog’s urine recently?’

The results of my survey were this – if you don’t wash for a week and wear the same clothes you’re going to stink no …


Lake District Blogs

I have a few favourite Lake District blogs that I look in on frequently and I’ve listed them below. But I was having a look around for more blogs that concentrate on The Lake District just to see what was out there. One thing I’ve noticed is that people get really fed up with blogging. There’s loads of great blogs out there that died after about 2 years never to be looked at again.

The one’s below are Lake District bloggers who have kept going.

I’ll keep looking and when I find more good ones with frequent posts I’ll add …


Three Peaks Walk

Me and Doug did The Three Peaks Walk a couple of years ago (2011) on the Bank Holiday in August. We did it with 10 minutes to spare, so no problem at all…

Here’s a list of don’ts to help your day go smoothly:

Don’t do it on the Bank Holiday in August – there were tailbacks, collisions, bottlenecks, wide loads and that was just on the hills.

Don’t order a haggis from a chip shop in Fort William – it took 45 minutes for them to catch it and fry it.

Don’t go home before you’re finished – always …


5 Ways to Combat Downhill Knee Pain

I inherited my great grandfather’s knees, they’re 143 years old and they felt it coming down Place Fell last week. I can walk forever on the flat (slight exaggeration) and for days uphill (massive exaggeration) but coming down, some days it feels like someone’s shoved a load of broken glass under my knee caps (no exaggeration, I’m a man and men never exaggerate their ailments…)

So what’s the best thing to do if your knees hurt walking downhill?

1. Don’t do too much too fast (a motto of mine for the last thirty years). Walking downhill is stressful for the …


Food on The Fred

I did the Fred Whitton Challenge in 2012. For those of you who are not familiar with it check out It’s a cycling challenge that includes Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose passes and a 112 miles of amazing Lake District county side.

I’m happy to use the word ‘gruelling’, I could even stretch to ‘excruciating’ if you pushed me (and I wish you had when I got to Hardknott), but there’s one thing that got me through it – Graham Obree’s jam sandwiches.

Graham wasn’t happy, but what the ‘eck.

Just to be clear, it wasn’t …


Derwent Water – Some fact about the lake to impress your friends

I know you’ll be coming up to the lakes during the holidays and obviously you’ll be coming to Keswick, and then you’ll nip down to the lakes to feed the ducks and maybe have a stroll or roll up the bottom of your Craghoppers for a paddle. When you get down there, remember a few of these Derwent Water facts and your friends and family might finally think you’re clever. It didn’t work for me – but I won’t stop trying.

Why is it called Derwent Water? First chance to be impressive

First thing you can do, while wiggling your …


How to choose a tent

If 4 people are camping, what sized tent would you buy?

I just read something like this in my daughter’s reception numeracy book. She answered 4, so I sent her to her room without any supper. If we’re going to run a family business, you’ve got to stop this sort of thinking early.

If 4 people are camping, don’t buy a 4 person tent unless you like someone else’s saliva dribbling in your eye at 2.00am. 4 people in a 4 person tent is cozy. 2 people in a 2 person tent is cozy – don’t do it. The manufacturer’s …


Vicious Pregnant Blood-Suckers

This isn’t the headline of an article I wrote for Mother and Baby magazine, I’m talking about midges. If you’ve ever been bitten by a midge, it was a pregnant female one. It wasn’t just being nasty and hormonal; your blood is essential to feed her developing eggs, in that way her children can grow during the winter, pupate, hatch and bite you some more next year.

Before you go whacking things, I’m not talking about all midges, just a select few that spoil it for the rest. There are around 30 odd different species of midge in the UK …


Sneak Peek

Here’s a couple of pages from the book

I thought I’d give you some walking advice, because, obviously, without my help how would anyone ever walk. These techniques have served me well on the fells.

I have a section called Wainwright in Therapy. Here Alfred is traumatized when he is forced to go to a fancy restaurant.

Walking with your children in The Lakes, if you have children you’ll know what I mean.


Some Pubs I like in The Lakes

Old Dungeon Ghyll – Langdale

Bit of an obvious choice, but it’s the best cow barn in the world, so it’s worth a mention. Every climber that ever lived as been to this bar, this is obviously not true but it sounds the right thing to say. It’s old, it’s got beams and a fire and no one cares if you spill your beer.

Drunken Duck

This feels a bit more upmarket than other hiking pubs, so make sure you give your armpits a quick sniff before you enter or you might get booted out.

Apparently, there were some ducks …


Coleridge and Wordsworth: The Muse

Coleridge and Wordsworth are in the book quite a bit, Coleridge wasn’t the easiest house guest, by all accounts. So I thought I’d be literary and have a go at a play. This is a contemplation on the muse and how easily an idea can be lost. So over to Wordsworth and Coleridge.

WORDSWORTH and COLERIDGE out for a stroll.

I wandered lonely as a…

Hang on buddy you’re walking too fast.

I’m just admiring the clouds that float on high o’er vales and hills.

It’s gunna bucket down I reckon.

Wait, I have a …


Mountain Rescue called for drug-taking tourists

I read about those, I’m trying to think of a nice word but idiots is the only one I keep typing, who called Mountain Rescue because they were ‘incapacitated’ with cannabis on Scafell Pike. I couldn’t comprehend what they must have been thinking about, so I wrote this stupid post to make myself feel better.

I don’t know where they were from, but in my mind it was some posh guys from a posh place

Here’s what I imagine their Trip Advisor review of the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team would look like.

Zebedee from Notting Hill – 5 Star Review …


Beware of horses

I was walking down a narrow country lane and four massive horses came round the corner, filling the lane.   

‘Keep very still and you’ll be fine,’ the first rider said to me as she approached. ‘It’s not you it’s the rucksack, they hate them.’  

Since the lane was bordered by dry stone walls and the horse was almost upon me, I did exactly as I was told, not particularly wanting to be pounded by a frenzied hoof.  

The horse passed very close. It jerked and twitched and pulled a face exactly like this. 

Its eyeball rotated with menace. It sniffed and bumped me with its rib-cage, and there was a definite nibble on …


Watch out for Artists

I was cycling up to the Blencathra Centre the other week. Just before a cattle grid, I had a run in with some sticky sheep droppings which adhered to my tires for a couple of hundred yards before flying off in directions beyond my control.  

The artists, painting Lonscale Fell over the valley to the left, who had just got the perfect blend of ultramarine and cadmium yellow, weren’t happy with the addition of a flying blob of burnt umber. 

They rip their ears off, as is the artistic custom, and threw them at me.  

I pedalled on apologetically. 


Our clouds are better than yours

If you’re from the south of England, your sky probably looks like this for most of the year.

Those fluffy bits of cotton wool floating in the sky are not the only cloud options available.

When you come to the Lake District you get a much better selection, as illustrated clearly by this sketch I did from my bedroom window.

Enjoying clouds will make your stay in the lakes much more enjoyable, especially if you like this type.…