Monday, 14 July 2014

Steve Birkinshaw - Fell God or Nutter?

For those of you who've never heard of Steve Birkinshaw, he's just completed all 214 Wainwrights (those are all the Lake District Fells that appear in the great man's seven Pictorial Guides) in the mind-boggling time of 6 days and 13 hours, covering 518 km in the process.
You can read about his adventures at his blog:
Steve's Wainwright Challenge blog

I'm going to avoid the debate about why anyone would want to put themselves through such a physical ordeal and instead just marvel at the achievement by making a humbling comparison to my own efforts to conquer all the Wainwrights.

Current status of my Wainwright bagging - blue means climbed

As of a few Saturdays ago (when I climbed five fells over in the west), I have been able to tick off 179 - this leaves me only 35 left to conquer. I have, however, been climbing these hills since 1998 (when big bro Alex took me over Striding Edge to the top of Helvellyn…in May…in a snowstorm!) and I have, it must be said, climbed several mountains a number of times because they are just so damn fine, the views are just so beautiful…of course, good old Steve, when undertaking his mammoth challenge, wouldn't have had the opportunity to just stand at the summit of, say, Fairfield and count the number of mountains he could see; nor would he have had the time to sit with a sandwich watching a couple of young Peregrines swooping and diving off the cliffs above Whiteside…which, I guess, is my way of saying that although I have nothing but admiration for what Steve has achieved, and for the physical and mental toughness that he must possess to have done what he has done, I myself am more than content with just being able to amble up the fells at little more than a snail's pace, and to sit at the top, munching on a cheese and pickle sarnie, watching the clouds drift gently by…or bemoaning the swirling mist that doesn't want to leave!
And though Steve would probably be able to pick off the remaining 35 Wainwrights that I have left to bag in little more than a day or two, I'm more than happy to wait another year or so before I stand on top of St Sunday Crag and toast my own success.