Monday, 21 October 2013

My Wainwright Round – Facts and Figures

It’s almost two months since I completed my rounds of the Wainwrights and Outlying Fells and my thoughts are turning to what next – but that’s for a future blog entry.

To put a seal on my Wainwright completions, I thought that compiling a few facts and figures wouldn’t go amiss.  This blog entry is mostly for my own enjoyment and while I recognise that there are some of you who love this type of stuff, I appreciate that many will find it too dry and ultimately, boring.  If that’s the case, it’s time to look at my blog index for something more appropriate.

A cautionary note !

All of the figures quoted relate to my first ascent of each of the Wainwrights and Outlying Fells.  Subsequent ascents play on a tiny part in what you are about to read.  Which is a shame because I had some good days out on my 4 extra trips to the summit of Pavey Ark !

How long did I take ?

For the Wainwrights, 10958 days which equates to 30 years.  Exactly !  That means, on average, I bagged a new Wainwright every 51 (-ish) days.

For the Outlying Fells, 8509 days which is 23 years and 108 days.  That means a new OF was bagged about every 74 days.

Direct ascents

For many Wainwright baggers, once they have completed the 214, their aim is to ascend the fells by a “direct ascent”, that is by a route that doesn’t pass over any other Wainwright summit on the way.  I’ve not seen any mention of this philosophy for the OFs but there are probably 1 or 2 odd souls out there who will be doing this.  Completion of 214 DAs is not a goal for me but I decided to look at my log, out of curiosity only you understand, to find out how many of my 214 had been reached by a DA.  It turned out to be 74.  (The actual total of DAs is 87 because of 13 repeated fells.)

Miles walked and height gained

Although reasonably comprehensive in the latter years of the round, my log does not have enough information about my early walks.  So to give these figures I would have to make some fairly big guesses.  And as I’m a fan of accurate data (it’s part of my job), guessing data goes against the grain !

The productivity of years

My round took exactly 30 years, but as I didn’t start it on 1st January, it was spread over 29 full years and 2 part years.

In 11 of those years I bagged no Wainwrights.  Of those 11 years I had a continuous gap of 7 years that were barren, being distracted by a combination of beer, women, snowboarding and rock-climbing.  In 8 of the active years I bagged 3 or fewer summits – not very active at all really.  I bagged double-figures in 7 of the years with my best year resulting in 41 new summits.

My round of the Outlying Fells had similar gaps.  Spread over 22 full years and 2 part years, there was a gap of 4 years and then another of 7 years with occasional bagging occurring before the list got the better of me and I bagged 81 summits over the last 5 years.  My best year resulted in 25 new summits.

Popular days

Wainwright bagging is a leisure activity and we all need time off work to pursue our hobbies.  So it comes a s no surprise that Saturday was the most popular day for bagging (72 summits) followed by Sunday (49 summits).  Oddly though, the next most popular day was Thursday (30 summits).  The least popular days were Monday and Tuesday (12 summits each).  Tuesday isn’t such a surprise but it’s now obvious that I didn’t take full advantage of bank holiday weekends !

On the Outlying Fells Sunday was the most popular day (38 summits) followed by Friday and Thursday (26 and 25 summits respectively) with no OFs being bagged on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.  Maybe they were just not attractive enough for me to make a midweek trip.

Popular months

The most popular months for Wainwright bagging turned out to be May, August, April and December (37, 32, 30 and 21 summits respectively).  It should come as no surprise that these are the months with the most bank holidays, allowing me to snatch at least one day out on a 3-day weekend.  June was the least popular month, probably because there was no itch to scratch following all of the activity in May !

March was the most popular month for bagging Outlying Fells (26 summits) which can be explained by taking advantage of lengthening hours of daylight but on some less challenging fells when the higher fells might still be under snow.  July (!) and December were the least popular months – if I was out on the hills I was taking advantage of long sunny days or playing out in the snow and ice !

Walks per book

Some of the books are bigger than others – in size, area covered and numbers of fells listed.  I’ve always thought that the Central Fells (book 3) was the smallest with either the Southern fells (book 4) or the Western Fells (book 7) being the biggest.  So I wondered how long it took me to complete each volume.

I was a bit surprised that the North-Western Fells (book 6) was completed in just 8 walks, but the many ridges allow a lot of fells to be quickly bagged on many horseshoe walks.  The Central Fells were completed in 9 walks.

Three volumes tied for the most walks – the Eastern Fells (book 1), the Far-Eastern Fells (book 2) and the Western Fells – all taking 13 walks to complete them.  The Southern Fells needed 12 walks.

The Outlying Fells volume is a bit different as the 116 summits aren’t listed individually but as 56 walks – possibly 57 if Newton Fell is split into two !  These were completed in 49 walks as there is opportunity to link neighbouring walks.

Overall, I completed the Wainwrights and Outlying Fells in 127 separate walks.

Days per book

Following on from the number of walks per book, how many days were needed to complete each book ?  As most walks lasted a full day, there was only one difference – the Eastern Fells – the explanation being that 3 walks were needed to tick Gowbarrow and the Mell Fells were tagged onto days containing other walks.

As many of the Outlying Fells are shorter walks, 2 or more can completed on the same day.  I took 33 days to complete these.

Overall, I completed the Wainwrights and Outlying Fells on 105 hill days.

Number of fells per walk

Obviously, with the number of walks taken to complete being less than 214, there must have been walks with more than 1 Wainwright being ticked.  Walks that I did varied from ticking 1 Wainwright (23 walks) up to 7 Wainwrights (1 walk).  A common tally was 5 Wainwrights, this occurring on 11 walks.

The majority of Outlying Fells walks ticked just 1 summit, but such is the nature of these fells.  But the OFs did give me my biggest tally for any walk – 9, on the Bannisdale Horseshoe.


Wainwright-bagging is ultimately a selfish pastime, with a lot of summits that are not usually popular, so it comes as no surprise that 158 of the 214 Wainwrights and 95 of the 116 Outlying Fells were done on my own.

But I did have some companions.  24 individuals accompanied me up the remaining 56 Wainwrights and 12 on the other 21 OFs.  As 2 people had been to the top of both Wainwrights and OFs, the actual number of people who bagged some summits with me were 32.

It’s interesting to note that of the 32, 23 of them were members of the mountaineering club l joined 13 years ago, showing that there is some value to being in a club when looking for like-minded souls.


I’m not sure there is one really.  There are some obvious outcomes within my round and some less so.  But what I’d like to do is thank every one of the 32 who I stood on the top of a Wainwright or Outlying Fell with, many of whom didn’t realise at the time that they were helping me fulfil my personal 30-year quest.