A new online resource for walking the Lake District fells via public transport has been launched.
The Walkers' Guide has been put together by Hebden Bridge-based Drew Whitworth, who is currently nearing the end of a long-running personal quest to climb all 214 of the Wainwright fells over multiple day trips to the Lake District from his home in Yorkshire, without once setting foot in a car (first reported on UKH in 2011).
In compiling the guide, which forms part of his blog The 214 Wainwright Fells without a car, Drew has drawn on his not inconsiderable experience of the two-hour+ commute each way from Hebden Bridge to Windermere, and the variable quality of bus and train links within Lakeland.
'I hope the new Walker's Guide will help pass on some of the travel advice that I have to give' says Drew, 'and also help share my love of the District and the photographs I have taken, and my experiences more generally during the last few years of the Wainwrights project.'
'The District is accessible on day trips by public transport from as far away as Birmingham, quite easily, but many people don't realise this or can't find the information easily enough.'
To help rectify this the guide is aimed squarely at walkers who want to travel to and around the Lake District by public transport, but without compromising their hill days, says Drew.
The guide includes detailed walker-specific notes on travelling by bus and train, and because the transport cake has been divvied up among a number of private companies it serves as a useful central source of info to the various services available. The advice is as varied as which bus pass to buy, which train departure from Preston to catch in order to be on the fells in good time, which are the most convenient hubs for changing services and how to reach each of the main walkers' start points - a list of nearly 50 detailed entries from Ambleside to Wythburn.
Combined with Drew's route cards to the nearly 70 Wainwright walks he's so far completed via public transport, the Walkers' Guide makes a pretty comprehensive resource.
But why, when cars are so convenient, would walkers be willing to confine themselves to the straitjacket of public transport anyway?
'For me it started more for practical reasons in that I don't own a car' says Drew. 'In any case I prefer point-to-point walks to round trips, as it feels you're really walking somewhere instead of just going round in a circle. I also like a beer after a walk!'
'It soon became a challenge in its own right, a way to add some distinctiveness to the bagging of the Wainwrights. And, in the end, it's the way Wainwright did it himself.'