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articles > 2007

Lost - A Trusty Friend – on Helm Crag 2 June 2007
15/06/07

The Society has been delighted by the recent Julia Bradbury walks series on BBC TV and I was privileged to recently work with Janusz Ostrowski, the cameraman, filming on the slopes of Yewbarrow in Wasdale. I received this from Jan today June 15th.

"For the past three weeks I've been filming the second series of Wainwright Walks with Julia Bradbury for the BBC. On Saturday 2nd June when we were filming near Grasmere, at the foot of Helm Crag, my trusty old wooden walking stick was left behind, leaning on a wall where the path splits to Helm Crag in one direction and Easedale Tarn in the other. The fell was busy that day and before we realized it a passer-by must have picked it up, thinking it had been abandoned or lost.

Janusz with Cameron McNeish"I know that some might ask why don't I just go and buy a nice new modern walking pole but I'm afraid that view ignores the rather strong (some might say silly and sentimental) attachment I have to it. I found it about 12 years ago on a Lake District fell side, I stripped off the bark, sanded and oiled it and shaped the handle to fit my hand. I put a rubber ferrule on the bottom to stop it splitting. This brings me to one of the stick's distinctive characteristics. When the first rubber ferrule had worn through I pushed up the remaining collar and fitted a second rubber ferrule. So, in effect, it has a double rubber ferrule. The handle, which is just a straight continuation of the shaft, is sanded into a round, domed end but also has a step" in it for a thumb rest. The walking stick itself is not ramrod straight but gently curves and bows along its length.

"During those 12 years that stick has helped carry my heavy camera equipment to the Lakeland tops and passes, over screes and scrambles, and along the rivers from sea to source. It has been a constant companion on all the Wainwright programmes I have shot for ITV, the BBC and Eric Robson's Striding Edge DVD catalogue.

"I feel as if I've lost an arm. Is there a way that you can help me try to recover it via The Wainwright Society? I can only think that a fell walker would have picked up my stick on such a day from such a place. That fact in itself hugely helps to narrow down the search."



A New Beginning

17/09/08

After my loss I experimented with various designs of walking pole but could not settle satisfactorily on any of them. Then Eric Robson very kindly gave me a suitable fallen branch from the woods on his Wasdale farm, which I trimmed and dressed. My new stick has already accompanied me on several new television series including Fred Talbot's "Fred's Family Walks" for Granada, the latest series of "Out of Town" with Eric Robson for Border TV, then "Railway Walks" and most recently "Coast to Coast" with Julia Bradbury for the BBC.

The new stick has a lot of miles and ascents to cover before it gets anywhere near the distance the original had covered, but we've made a start!

Janusz Ostrowski