Increasingly that’s how I’ve come to think of myself, a slave to the list.
“The List” in question being the 214 Lakeland fells described and documented by Alfred Wainwright – known colloquially as the Wainwrights. Beloved of many fell walkers, myself included; the Wainwrights are a collection of the best tops in the Lake District National Park. Each fell is lovingly described in minute detail and a number of different ascent routes are drawn in pen and ink diagrams, held in a collection of seven books.
I’ve completed (or bagged as we prefer to call it) 153 of the 214, leaving a mere 61 to do. Since I broke the magical 100 barrier earlier this year I’ve become quite focussed on them, to the exclusion of other walking areas. The smaller the number left becomes the more intent I’ve been on doing the ones that remain.
As the list dwindles, my choice of walks becomes fewer and my enthusiasm for some of the remaining walks (all plotted in Memory Map) is not great. I’ve found that over the past couple of weeks, when the weather has been marginal, I’ve arrived at the start of the walk and been so unimpressed with what’s in store that I’ve not even got out of the car – just turned round and driven home.
The list has become more important than the walking. I miss the freedom I felt 12 months ago when I could look at the map of northern England and pick any of a hundred walks I’ve done before or a limitless number of new ones. Now I look at the Lakes and try and pick one my 21 remaining walks; hopefully one that fits my mood, or my fitness level (which tends to drop sharply at this time of year). That has become increasingly difficult and the lack of enthusiasm leads to aborted walks.
So this morning I decided to take control of my walking choices again. I will be a slave to the list no more! The 21 walks I have left for the Wainwrights will go into the pot with all my other potential walks and will be chosen on merit – not on the basis that I have a list to complete.
I feel better already!