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Mark Richards Walking Blog

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Via Scotia... the Way to Scotland

march 09, 2018 02:39pm

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I have been invited to research a 20-mile cross-Border walking route initially founded upon the Roman road the Maiden Way. The far north-east corner of Cumbria has been identified as the Forgotten Lands. The journey offers perspective on the Debateable Lands, should it develop the route might extend further into Scotland via the Waverley Line trackbed to Hawick to join the Cross Borders Trail to Edinburgh.


WALKING THE LAKELAND FELLS All the Fells - All the Routes

december 16, 2017 04:41pm


More than four years after my eight volume LAKELAND FELLRANGER series was completed - following many years devotional walking research and detailed graphic and writing record - change is about to come to my great CICERONE work. Plans are now in place to re-structure the series to make it far more intuiative and meet the needs of the inquisitive fell adventurer. Far more than a cosmetic name-change, the eight volumes will cover subtly different fell groups and be re-designed to fit the smaller standard Cicerone size. Orientated to the valley approaches, importantly the new guides will be more practical to use on the fell. Walkers come in all shapes and sizes of ability and ambition and the series needs to offer a bedrock of sound advice, notably for those new to the thrill of these wonderful high places.


Wainwright Revealed - Kendal Mountain Festival 19th November

november 08, 2017 09:42pm

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Richard Else in conversation with Mark Richards

Sunday November 19th in Kendal Town Hall 15:00-16:30

This is the first EXCLUSIVE event for Richard, after the publication of Wainwright Revealed. Join him in Kendal Town Hall, where Alfred Wainwright worked, as he shares new insights into the man and reveals little-known aspects of his character. He will also be joined by another friend of Wainwright and Lakeland Fellranger guidebook author Mark Richards.

It was the most improbable of relationships - a struggling, unknown documentary producer with a film he was determined to make and an excessively reclusive man more than double his age. Yet Richard Else succeeded where many more famous names had failed and brought Wainwright out of the shadows and into the nation’s living rooms. It was to transform a cult guidebook writer into the most unlikely television star - one who attracted millions of new admirers with films that effortlessly made BBC2’s ‘top twenty’. Many people have claimed that AW was a reluctant television star, but Richard tells a different and more complex story - that of a man often at odds with himself and the ultimate outsider.

For the last 10 years of his life no-one, except members of his immediate family, knew Wainwright better than Richard. In a relationship that went far beyond the requirements of documentary making, he became AW's confidant and the only person allowed to work with him in a collaborative way. A genuine friend to a man who had virtually no close friends. A person whose social skills took second place to his work and the need for an obsessive order in all aspects of his life.

Throughout his time with Wainwright, Richard kept detailed notes and took many previously unseen photographs. These include AW’s last visit to Haystacks; a swan song tour of his beloved Scottish Highlands and Islands; the Coast to Coast walk he invented and a final emotional journey to Wainwrights’s Lancashire roots around industrial Blackburn. 

Drawing on this material featured in his new book, Richard gives a genuine insider’s view into their years together. At its heart is the first full assessment of the literary merit of AW’s work and his place in the guidebook tradition. Most importantly he gives a new insight into Wainwright the man, revealing little known aspects of his character. But Richard also recalls the lighter side of AW that was kept hidden from his public.

Richard will be accompanied by author and artist Mark Richards. Mark is widely considered to be one of the main experts on fellwalking in the Lake District. Mark is the author of the Fellranger series of guidebooks. Released in 2013 these are the most comprehensive guides to England’s most beautiful mountain landscape produced since Alfred Wainwright's own Pictorial Guides to the Lake District.

Mark was also a friend of Wainwright and has walked in his footsteps – literally and figuratively. Mark is one of the very few people to have accompanied Alfred Wainwright on a fell walk, evidenced by a grainy photograph taken by him that day, which depicts Alfred and his wife Betty on the summit of Hugh Laithe’s Pike above Haweswater.


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Mark Richards

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