A Wainwright, the man who uniquely mapped the landscape of the Lake
District, was the author of over fifty guidebooks and volumes of drawings
covering the Lake District, the Pennine Way, the Limestone Dales, Scotland
and the Coast to Coast Walk. It was his love of the fells, desire to escape
from office life, and his longstanding fascination with maps that caused AW,
on the evening of 9 November 1952, to pen the first page of his seven
Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells; a singular act which lead to him
becoming a household name particularly with those who share a love of the
mountains and valleys of the Lake District. He compiled his famous Pictorial
Guides to the Lakeland Fells between 1952 and 1966 and for this 'labour of
love', as he called it, he was awarded the MBE. He was chairman of Animal
Rescue in Cumbria and with royalties from his book collections, a permanent
shelter has been established near Kendal.
as he is more often referred to, was brought up in a terraced house in
Blackburn, poor but happy. He left school at the age of thirteen and rose
from a lowly office boy to a trainee accountant in the Borough Treasurer's
office. He moved to Kendal in 1941, to take up the position of Borough
Treasurer itself and, living on the doorstep of the Lake District, walked
over them time and time again until he was familiar with every summit, tarn
and shepherd's path.
wanderings in those silent and lonely places, as they were then, developed
within him an intimate knowledge of the geography of this delectable corner
of England. AW never sought publicity preferring to shy away from crowded
places, even if approached, to deny his identity. It was in his later years
that he came out of hiding to feature on several BBC programs depicting his
Ironically, the production of so many well illustrated guide books lead to an
upsurge in popularity encouraging the exploration of the more remote
previously uncharted regions; this has resulted in many popular routes be so
eroded that special teams are now fully employed in the management of paths.
eyesight fading, AW prolific output reduced to mere trickle ; AW died in
January 1991 at the age of eighty four leaving a legacy of books to be
enjoyed for ever.
resting place lies beside the Innominate Tarn on Haystacks; one of his