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articles > 2017

The Wainwright Society has chosen Fix the Fells, the body that repairs upland paths in the Lake District as the main beneficiary of its fundraising during 2017.

Photograph: Looking down on Long Stile from High Street © Lake District National Park Authority

Long Stile from High Street © Lake District National Park Authority

The money will be used to repair Long Stile, the final ascent on to the summit of High Street in the Far Eastern Fells, between Ullswater and Haweswater. Alfred Wainwright, who wrote seven Pictorial Guides to the Lake District fells, considered this ascent from Mardale to be the finest way to the summit.

He wrote: ‘The ridge of Rough Crag and the rocky stairway of Long Stile together form the connoisseur’s route up High Street, the only route that discloses the finer characteristics of the fell. The ascent is a classic, leading directly along the crest of a long, straight ridge that permits of no variation from the valley to the summit. The views are excellent throughout.’ High Street p.6 The Far Eastern Fells

The scree ascent of Long Stile has suffered much erosion in recent years and is now in need of a stone-pitched path to stop it getting worse. The land on either side of the path also needs to be repaired and protected from further damage. This will require stone to be brought in by helicopter, which will add to the cost of the repair. The work is scheduled to be undertaken during 2018.

Fix the Fells undertakes the repair of eroded and damaged footpaths in the Lake District. The work is undertaken by National Trust fell rangers and Lake District National Park Authority volunteers. In the last ten years, it has repaired more than 200 sections of fell paths using a variety of traditional techniques.

Joanne Backshall, Fix the Fells Programme Manager, said: ‘We are delighted that The Wainwright Society is being so generous and supporting our vital work to protect some of the most beautiful parts of the Lake District. It will allow us to repair a popular route that was loved by Alfred Wainwright and mean that generations to come can enjoy it as well.”

It costs £150 to repair just one metre of path. At the moment, Fix the Fells needs to raise £350,000 per year to carry out all of its work. Fix the Fells is a partnership between the National Trust, The Lake District National Park Authority, Friends of the Lake District, Nurture Lakeland, Natural England, Cumbria County Council and volunteers.

The Wainwright Society was founded in 2002 to keep alive the ideas which the author promoted in his guidebooks. Over the years it has raised thousands of pounds for causes it believes he would have appreciated and supported. Money will be raised from donations by Society members taking part in its annual charity ‘Challenge’ together with sales of its Society calendar. The ‘Challenge’, based in the Far Eastern Fells, celebrates sixty years since Alfred Wainwright’s guidebook to this area was published in 1957. It hopes to raise most of the money needed to fund the expensive repair to this classic Lakeland route.

Derek Cockell