The great outdoors has been a passion of mine for most of my life. As a teenager, the South Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales became my hunting ground. I didn’t begin exploring the Lake District until well into my 30s. My admiration for the works of Alfred Wainwright came later still.
My wife Priscilla and I walked the Pennine Way and Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk in 2013 and 2015, respectively. This was when I discovered his guidebooks for the first time. I was instantly mesmerised by these works of art. Every page had been meticulously written and hand-drawn with no printer’s type in sight. I had never seen anything like it. I was determined to learn all I could about this enigmatic character.
Most of 2016 was spent researching Wainwright’s publishing history from 1955. Acquiring First Editions wasn’t a priority. At this early stage, I was struggling to find even later prints. I was finding multiple variants of the same book, 50th Anniversary Editions, Readers Editions, Second Edition and Walkers Editions. I didn’t understand why there were so many.
Locating other like-minded enthusiasts to learn from and share my findings was essential. I created an Alfred Wainwright Facebook Page in 2017 and the Facebook Group Alfred Wainwright Books & Memorabilia. From modest beginnings, many like-minded Wainwright enthusiasts started to join, which became the thriving community it is today. I have learned so much in the last few years and can’t thank everyone enough for their continued support.
My thirst for knowledge continued, so I reached out to Wainwright’s former friends and associates. In doing so, they kindly opened many doors for me. In 2019, I was honoured to become the custodian of all existing Westmorland Gazette Wainwright book printing materials, including negatives, plates, gold blocking, artwork, documentation and more.
This collection led to the creation of this website in the spring of 2020 to catalogue all these finds, which are a significant part of Wainwright’s publishing and printing history. In addition to the continued work on the website, I am working on other projects, including my first Wainwright exhibition for 2024. I think the timing is right to share – with the public – the fantastic catalogue of works passionately and painstakingly created by this great man.
The list of people who have assisted me on this journey is long. Everyone’s generous help has been fully acknowledged throughout the website. The support from my family has been invaluable—especially my wife, who has equally shared my passion and has been instrumental in progressing as far as we have on this journey.
Over the years, I have published numerous articles about Wainwright and have appeared on television and radio to discuss the life, work and achievements of the late, great fellwanderer. Following the publication of my first book, Wainwright Memories, I have given many talks on Wainwright’s publishing and printing history. As well as previously untold stories, I also reveal many unique and rare Wainwright-related memorabilia at these events. If I can inspire just one person to discover the timeless work of Wainwright and the landscapes he loved, then I consider my job worthwhile.
For any speaking engagements or other business inquiries, please use the contact form on the website.
The title photo was taken by Richard Else, BBC Producer, near Haystacks using the same Nikon FM2 camera used to photograph Wainwright in the original 1980s TV series.