Discovering Wainwright

Article by Chris Butterfield

Cameron Hall, a professional filmmaker and photographer from Cumbria, recently reached out to me for an interview about Alfred Wainwright. This request evolved from his latest passion project, a YouTube series on ‘Walking the Wainwrights’, as Cameron aims to reconnect with the county of his birth by completing all 214 Wainwrights in 36 circuits – filming his walks and reading extracts from Wainwright’s guidebooks as he goes.

Cameron on Seat Sandal
Cameron on Seat Sandal

Intrigued by the enigma of the man who became so synonymous with the Lake District, Cameron expressed a genuine curiosity to learn more about Wainwright’s background, resulting in the production of a short film ‘Discovering Wainwright’ – getting to know more about the man himself – in a special episode complimenting his online walking series.

The Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells Collection
Wainwright’s seven Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells

I drove down to Cumbria for a sit-down interview with Cameron, and we discussed the life and times of AW, delving into his humble roots in Blackburn to his work at Kendal Town Hall – and the key moments that led him to become one of Britain’s most famous guidebook authors.

In Wainwright’s public life, he was well known for producing a series of guidebooks that meticulously documented the Lake District’s fells, paths, and landscapes. However, his private life remained somewhat elusive. Despite his fame and influence in hiking and nature exploration, he maintained a certain level of mystery and solitude. He was known for his reclusive habits, often shunning the public spotlight.

Chris Being Interviewed by Cameron
Cameron interviews Chris in Cumbria

Retracing some of Wainwright’s footsteps, we included a hike up to Hallin Fell, near Ullswater, which features in The Far Eastern Fells guidebook, helping bring the project to life.

The short film, which was brilliantly produced, contains a rare interview with Wainwright, aired originally by the BBC in 1982 and has never been seen since. So please do give this film a watch for some rare insight from the main man in his own words.

Discovering Wainwright

With special thanks to BBC North East and Cumbria, Derry Brabbs, Richard Else, Andrew Nichol, Sheila Richardson, and Ken Shepherd’s Estate.

To find out more about Cameron’s journey and watch current episodes, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel here or visit his film and photography website,

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