On June 7th 1930, a 23-year old Alfred Wainwright decided to spend the £5 he had saved up from working as an Accountant at Blackburn Borough Council. It was just enough money for a week's walking holiday to The Lake District National Park.
After a bus journey of nearly five hours, he arrived at Windermere with his cousin Eric Beardsall from their home town of Blackburn. It was to be a momentous day that changed the whole course of his life. Emerging from trees onto the bare summit of Orrest Head, a hill 780 feet high overlooking Windermere, this view completely captivated the young Alfred. He wrote later:
“I was totally transfixed, unable to believe my eyes. I had never seen anything like this. I saw mountain ranges, one after another, the nearer starkly etched, those beyond fading into the blue distance. Rich woodlands, emerald pastures and the shimmering water of the lake below added to a pageant of loveliness, a glorious panorama that held me enthralled. I had seen landscapes of rural beauty pictured in the local art gallery, but here was no painted canvas; this was real. This was truth. God was in his heaven that day and I a humble worshipper.”
This was the moment that settled Wainwright’s destiny and led him to produce the famous 7 Pictorial Guides, his meticulous love-letters to the Lakeland fells. If you would like to visit Orrest Head and see what Wainwright saw on that fateful day, then we have holiday cottages nearby, so 84 years later you can climb to the top of Orrest Head just like Wainwright did.