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back to Book Reviews

The Wainwright Companion
by Clive Hutchby

ISBN 978-0-7112- 3382-9
Published by Frances Lincoln

The jacket copy claims this book is guaranteed to ease the restless sleep of Lakeland exiles. That would certainly be the aim of a ‘companion’. However, I suggest the book should have been called The Wainwright Compendium. It is absolutely crammed with information, statistics and facts culled from the seven Pictorial Guides and The Outlying Fells.

I especially enjoyed the inclusion of Ken Garland’s 1996 talk ‘The Design and Execution of Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides’ – fascinating. You need the complete set of the guides – preferably the original editions – as you read through Hutchby’s chapter on the development of the books; he has an uncanny eye for picking up how the guides changed imperceptibly.

Each mention of a fell is colour-coded to match the colour of the jacket on the original edition, thus obviating the need to say in which book they appear. Any reproduction of AW’s maps is taken from his original artwork (i.e. not the revised version with the red pecked routes), but the statistics are taken from the revised editions – a tad confusing.

There are sections on specifics mentioned by AW – bridges, pinnacles, boulders – and when gathered together, make entertaining reading. I’m not sure about the Stats & Trivia section: does anyone really need to know the tenth shortest ridge walk? But maybe one can forgive those when there is the intriguing section on ‘the great illusion’ or geographical quirks.

Sean McMahon’s photographs are, of course, superb. As Hutchby comments: ‘There are plenty of people who have taken pretty shots of Lakeland from the usual places. The thing is, Sean doesn’t go to the usual places, nor at the usual times.’

Jenny Dereham - Member No 327




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