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Events > 2006

The fourth Wainwright Memorial Lecture
Saturday 21 October 2006 at RHEGED
by Stuart Maconie of Radio 2

From his opening line of ‘AW’s introduction to the Lake District was Orrest Head at Windermere, mine was The Queen’s Head at Esthwaite’ we all knew we were in for an excellent lecture. Stuart Maconie waved his magic wand and the audience was spellbound by his tales of fellwalking experiences whilst “bagging” the 214 fells depicted in AW’s pictorial guides. He mentioned that he had hoped to complete all 214 before giving the lecture but that there were five summits that still needed to be climbed before he could join the 214 completer’s club. These are Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Scoat Fell, Steeple in Book 7 and Catstycam in Book 1. Hopefully by the summer of 2007 this ambition will have been achieved.

Stuart had many hilarious tales to recount of people he had encountered on the various fells including meeting Sting’s drummer on Kidsty Pike, different equipment worn and carried by walkers on the fells, food and drink in the Lake District (particularly the drink and walks the morning after), and how he had learned his craft of fellwalking from ‘those beautifully neat, hand-written and illustrated works of art’ as he describes the pictorial guides.

For over fifty minutes the capacity audience in the Lecture Theatre at Rheged hung on his every word and as he concluded with a piece from the end of AW’s Book 7, The Western Fells, ‘The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits’, the applause was long and well deserved.

John Burland and Stuart Maconie

The committee had agreed at their meeting earlier in the day that they would make Stuart an honorary member of the Society and after his vote of thanks to Stuart, John Burland presented him with his Society badge.