On 11th June 2020 thirty-four pages of letters relating to panoramas were added to the section ‘ scrapbooks’ of my website. On 1st September 2021 a further seventeen pages of letters not r elating to panoramas were added. Here are the details:

Page 1 – Pam Roberts (with a photograph of her in Epping Forest)

Page 2 – J. Curran of the Ordnance Survey

Pages 3 to 9 – Andrew Nichol, the publishing manager of the Westmorland Gazette

Page 10 – Robin Panrucker, my cousin

Page 11 – Betty Wainwright, the widow of the author

Pages 12 to 14 – Bill Jesty, a distant relation. He lived at Max Gate, which had been the home of Thomas Hardy from 1885 until 1928.

Page 15 – Adrian Mellors, an old friend

Page 16 – Jim Watson, the author of Lakeland Panoramas

Page 17 – Jenny Dereham of Michael Joseph (The Post Office forgot to forward this letter from Barrow to Kendal, and the tenant didn’t consider it worth redirecting.)

To read these letters click here.

In addition, here are some answers I gave to questions about the revision of the Wainwright books in 2005 and 2006. They have been rearranged slightly to avoid repetition.

Independent 1

I gave up my job and all other interests and activities when I started work two years ago.

My favourite pages from the Lakeland guides are the first two pages of A.W.’s Introduction to Book One and the last page of his Personal Notes at the back of Book Seven.

I should think that the most significant change in the Eastern Fells has been the appearance of a new path from Glenridding to Striding Edge. This affects not only the ascent notes on Birkhouse Moor 6, but also the summary of routes on Helvellyn 13.

I should imagine that A.W. was a person who, like myself, finds it easier to express himself by writing than by talking.

Independent 2

I divided the area covered by Book Two into 42 rectangles each represented by a piece of graph paper 280 mm x 180 mm. I have 193 pages of rough notes for Book Three. With 32 lines to a page that’s about 6000 lines, or about 40,000 lines for the seven volumes. In addition there is a pencil tracing for each page with all the alterations shown exactly as they will appear when redrawn in ink.

I started working for Frances Lincoln on June 2nd, 2003. I must say that the enormity of the project did get me down before I started. It hung over me like a black cloud and I didn’t want to do it, but as soon as I got started all the enthusiasm I felt in 1990 came surging back and I have never looked back since.

Westmorland Gazette

My favourite walk in the Lake District is a circular walk round the lanes of Kentmere which I prepared for the magazine Out and About, but which was never published.

Wainwright Walks television series

What was it about the Wainwright books that interested you?
Everything. I loved the detailed maps, the beautifully written text, the panoramas, the illustrations, the layout, the attention to detail and the sheer quantity of the work. When I was working on a similar sort of book I completed about 50 pages a year working seven days a week. He did about three times as much as this in his spare time!

What made you want to update them?
As soon as I saw a Wainwright book I recognised it as exactly the sort of book I would have liked to produce myself. The books will always be a pleasure to read, but they were intended to be practical guides to help people find their way about, and the more out-of-date they become the less useful they are in that respect. I want to make them as practical as they were when they were first published, but I want them to continue to be a pleasure to read.

Is the process difficult?
Extremely difficult. Of course the text is the most difficult thing, getting it to fit the space without hyphenating and without leaving too big a gap between words. But the maps are also difficult. Sometimes I can get the new material to fit in one place and it won’t fit somewhere else, so it has to be distorted, but not so much as to be noticeable.

What’s involved?
I start by planning a series of circular routes that link all the paths and other features that need to be checked. Then I walk the routes, making notes on all the changes and taking g.p.s. readings at intervals along the paths. When I get home I plot these readings on pieces of graph paper and work out what changes need making to the maps. I also make changes to the text where relevant, keeping the layout as close as possible to that of the original. Then I make any necessary alterations to the maps and diagrams in pencil on pieces of tracing paper, which I send to the publishers. They then provide enlargements of the author’s original artwork, with deletions made and text added, using a computer. The paths have to be drawn on a transparent overlay because these are printed in a different colour.

When did you first meet AW? (and related questions)
I only met him once, when he was writing a book about Wales and rented my cottage in Snowdonia, but my impression at that brief meeting was of a person who is very easy to talk to and get on with. We exchanged a lot of letters, the best of which are in the Kendal museum, and through these letters and his books I found that he was interested in the same sort of things as me and had the same sort of things to say about them.

What is it you like about the fells?
I like being out in the fresh air early in the morning when the birds are singing and there are very few people about.

Are people getting to recognise you on the hill?
Some of them do, but the vast majority don’t.

What will you do when the work is finished?
I spend a lot of my time thinking, and sometimes I come up with ideas that I would like to share with other people. At the moment these are all stored on a computer disc, which I copy and give to other people who have computers. I would like to reach a wider audience by transferring all my ideas to a book, but I don’t suppose that I shall be able to get it published.

What made you move to Kendal and drive taxis?
I worked as a taxi driver in Kendal because, when you’re based in a small town, you spend a lot your time in the surrounding country. It’s a wonderful life, just driving around the countryside admiring the scenery. The only trouble with taxi driving is that it has no status; nobody comes up to you and says ‘Are you really a taxi driver?’ I moved to Kendal because when I was living in Barrow and working in Kendal I spent so much time travelling to and from work I didn’t have enough time for other things.