Going Nowhere Fast – One family’s journey to bag the Wainwrights

This guest post comes from Andy Grigg. If you are wanting to get your family out walking more, get inspired by the Grigg family…

The Grigg Family going Nowhere Fast

All journeys have a beginning, and I suppose the logical beginning of any family journey is two becoming one. Tania and I first visited the Lake District not long after we met. I remember climbing Helvellyn via Striding Edge, although in a spirit of true gallantry I also remember abandoning Tania and summiting the mountain on my own.

Our family grew – Will arrived in 1997 and Tom in 1999. After the birth of our children we didn’t visit the Lakes for a fairly long period. I didn’t want to visit and not be able to walk anywhere, money was tight and options were limited.

climbed our first fell in autumn 2004

We returned with the boys and climbed our first fell in autumn 2004. Somewhat inauspiciously, after deciding to climb Wansfell, we checked our guide book carefully and then promptly planned a route to the top of Wansfell Pike. We all enjoyed the walk, but directional decision making would prove to be a reoccurring theme!

We had to wait another three years before we climbed our first Wainwright. In 2007, we decided to tackle one of our favourite areas – the Langdale Pikes. We decided on two objectives, Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle. The summit of Pavey Ark provided a special moment for all of us.

The boys managed to climb Scafell Pike and the Old Man of Coniston at a fairly tender age

Returning to The Lakes with an ever increasing frequency, the walks got longer, higher and more adventurous. The boys managed to climb Scafell Pike and the Old Man of Coniston at a fairly tender age.

Energised and emboldened by our experience of standing tall on some of the highest mountain in England, we got to thinking about what our next challenge would be. Now I love the Lake District, but when I thought about it, I hadn’t really covered much of the area. I think you tend to fall back on places you are familiar with and concentrate on well-known and famous summits.

we should try and climb all the Wainwrights – all 214 summits featured in Wainwrights pictorial guides

Tania and I put our heads together, what should we do next? What could be our next challenge as a family? It seemed all too obvious; we should try and climb all the Wainwrights – all 214 summits featured in Wainwrights pictorial guides. It would make us explore the whole of the Lake District, it would allow us to see and experience old, new and hidden places that we would otherwise not visit, and it would be a great achievement that we could complete as a family.

Decision made, our challenge saw us heading up to the Lakes as often as time and money would allow. We didn’t have an agenda in terms of timescale, but we had been bitten by the walking bug and our infectious enthusiasm drove us forward.

Andy, Will, and Tom - bagging another
Over the years our Wainwright odyssey has seen us share unique, wonderful and never to be forgotten moments; we have walked, talked and laughed, we have experienced highs and lows, successes and failures, and we have worked and acted as a team. You can read about our adventures in Nowhere Fast – Walking the Wainwrights, and then you can go out and have some of your own.


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Currently living and teaching Geography in Devon, Andy Grigg first visited the Lake District over twenty five ago. His first visit marked the beginning of a lifelong romance. Passions apart from the Lakes include; walking, reading, music and his family. He has been married to Tania for nearly twenty years, and they have two teenage sons – William and Tom.

  1. Hi Samatha

    We completed in May – you can read all about it in Nowhere Fast – published by Sigma and out in February 2014

    Hope you enjoy the Marilyn’s

  2. Sounds like a great adventure! We’ve started small – a couple of months ago we decided to try and conquer all the Marilyns in Shropshire. We have three young children (aged 5, 4 and 2) so it’s quite a slog for them but they enjoy getting to the top! Two down so far – will hopefully bag another few next spring/summer. Did you ever finish all of the Wainwrights?

    • Hi Samantha. That’s some good hill walking with little ones you’ve done.
      We’ve done all but one of the Marilyns in Shropshire I believe (Callow Hill is still to do) – looks like we’ll have to finish that list off 😉
      I believe Andy and his family did complete all the Wainwrights. The challenge is even greater as he lives at the different end of the country to the Lakes, so it’s not something they could just pop out and do at the weekend.

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