All 214 Wainwrights Completed By Public Transport

A man has climbed all of the Lake District’s 214 Wainwright fells using only public transport to get there.

Lewis Jevons might be the first person to do so since Alfred himself wrote his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells in the 1950s and 60s.

Unlike the author though, Lewis had to travel from his home in west Wales. 

It’s taken him nearly five years but what he admits turned into an obsession started out almost by chance.

“I headed to the Lakes for a week’s holiday. I didn’t have a car, so it was a case of get the train and then use the buses.

“It was there that I saw the word ‘Wainwrights.’

“The bug bit me. I do have a car now but once I started, I thought, well, Wainwright himself did it all without a car. Then I saw just how overwhelmed the Lakes gets with cars, particularly in peak season, it’s absolutely horrific.

“I thought I don’t want to be part of that problem, I want to be a responsible tourist, because I’m from west Wales, we’ve had our own fair share of over-tourism. I want to do it the right way and environmentally it’s the sensible thing to do.”

Lewis, 29, who manages a branch of outdoor clothing chain Trespass, settled into a routine – a train from Aberystwyth to Wolverhampton then join the West Coast Mainline to Glasgow, getting off at Oxenholme or Penrith, depending on which area of the Lakes he was heading to. 

As the challenge took shape, Lewis, 29, set himself certain rules – as well as sticking to public transport he would do each fell on his own. 

But it took a while for the scale of the task to become clear.

“I didn’t really understand what I’d got myself into. The number 214 sounded big, but I hadn’t really pored over the maps. 

“So, to begin with it was the central ones, the ones that are on the beaten path, where buses run every 20 minutes in the summer.

“When I got more serious after the first 50, it dawned on me that there were quite a few in the further reaches of the national park where the buses might not be so frequent or the winter timetable which reduces where you can go. 

“It was very much a case of planning areas to book into a campsite or a hostel somewhere. Then use the buses and do the surrounding 20 or 30 fells in a week.”

He added: “My partner doesn’t like walking and none of my friends have time off at the same time as me. 

“So, it was by necessity and then I realised just how much I love the quiet and time alone by myself.”

He stayed true to his principles throughout and doing so only added to his enjoyment.

“Half of the fun was the fact that because you’ve got to start and finish at a bus stop, you’re working out how you can get from place to place. 

“Sometimes the bus stop might not be exactly where you wanted it to be, so you end up walking up a hidden valley or following a stream for a couple of miles. 

“Taking the car, you drive to the bottom of a hill, walk up it and drive home. You don’t really experience the other stuff that the park has to offer. Whereas if you’ve got a three-mile walk back to the bus stop you see all of that stuff.”

The reliance on Cumbria’s buses – all of them run by Stagecoach – has turned Lewis into a standard bearer for the county’s public transport system and hopes that more people will follow his example, helping spread visitors away from the county’s tourist spots.

“I can’t think of any other national park in the UK which is served as well as the Lake District for public transport,” he said.

Lewis’ Wainwrights marathon came to an end at the start of May and for the last walk he wasn’t alone. 

His parents Susan and Alan and partner Cate accompanied him part of the way up the final fell, Rannerdale Knotts.

There was a Processo toast but also mixed feelings for Lewis.

“It’s been something that I’ve sort of obsessed over in all of my free time and you’re left with a bit of a vacuum now. 

“I’ve done them all once, but I don’t really feel like I know them all inside out yet. It actually feels like I’ve only just begun.”

Getting around the Lake District by bus is easy, relax, take a break from driving and explore the tranquil waters and outstanding scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Enjoy unlimited all-day travel from as little as £9. Amble around Ambleside, wander round Windermere or go carefree in Keswick – all without the palaver of parking – Download The Lakes by Bus timetable here