Mountain Days

Paul Tierney – Wainwrights Record

Paul Tierney smashes Steve Birkinshaw’s record of running the 214 Wainwright fells of the Lake District set 5 years ago by 7 hours!

Finishing coming off Catbells, Lakeland’s most visited Wainwright, Paul sets a new record of 6 days and 6 hours and 5 minutes.

The Wainwrights

Walking The Wainwrights is a massive feat in itself. Setting out to conquer them all in a year get’s a wow on social. Paul Tierney set off last Friday, 15 seconds before 8am to run them all – in one go – AND beat the record held by Steve Birkinshaw!

Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide To The Lakeland FellsWainwright’s Pictorial Guide To The Lakeland Fells
Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide To The Lakeland Fells

Alfred Wainwright wrote about 214 lake district peaks in his 7 volume Pictorial Guide To The Lakeland Fells and although there had been many Lakeland guides, everyone wanting a challenge with regards the mountains adopted ‘The Wainwrights’. So much so actually, that these days most of us top the 214 peaks and complete without even thinking of summiting the ‘others’.

Running The Wainwrights

32 years ago in June 1987, now Lakeland Legend Joss Naylor, a farmer from Wasdale took to the fells and completed all 214 Wainwrights in one swoop, 7 days, 1 hour and 25 minutes to be more precise.

It took 27 years before anyone could top that and in June 2014 Steve Birkingshaw, with help from the fell running community, family and friends, after months of planning, he completed in 6 days 12 hours and 58 minutes. Steve says in his book There Is No Map In Hell that it’s the hardest thing he’s ever done, in fact after the trauma of doing it Steve developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which he told me he’s not fully shaken off.

214 fells – 318 miles – 36,000 ft of ascent (4 ascents of Mount Everest!)
Paul Tierney with Steve Birkinshaw – Running the Wainwrights..Paul Tierney with Steve Birkinshaw – Running the Wainwrights..
Paul Tierney with Steve Birkinshaw before the first leg.
Paul Tierney Beats Steve Birkinshaw’s Wainwright Record
Paul smashed Steve Birkinshaw’s record, running all 214 Wainwrights in 6 days.

Steve Birkinshaw’s Wainwrights Route

Helping out on a couple of legs, Steve gave advice to Paul who used the route that Steve devised 5 years ago to cover the 214 summits in the most efficient way. Steve told me that it took him 5 months to put that route together, making sure he was to avoid boulder fields, heather covered ground and dangerous river crossings or arêtes like Striding Edge.

Steve said that Paul’s best chance of success was always to focus on small, achievable goals, rather than seeing the run as a whole. Paul said before the record attempt, “I fully expect it to test me to the absolute maximum.”

Steve Birkinshaw’s Wainwrights route.Steve Birkinshaw’s Wainwrights route.
Steve Birkinshaw’s Wainwrights route.

The weather was shocking on one day, so windy fell walkers were being blown off their feet but settled in the last few days. Runners took it in turns supporting and running with Paul throughout, including doing all of the navigation.

Mind Charity

36 year old ex-policeman Paul is using the event to raise money for mental health charity MIND, in memory of his friend and fellow ultra-runner Chris Stirling, you can donate on his Just Giving page. He had raised over £16,000 by time he got to the finish line at Moot Hall in Keswick.

He’s been supported by groups of runners, taking rest stops where he could find the sliver van waiting for him.

Paul’s progress was tracked by OpenTracking.co.uk throughout, the service was excellent as we could all see exactly where he was. Steve’s last comment before Paul completed his Wainwright run started, ‘Paul is currently 4 hours ahead of my time.’

Wainwrights Map – Paul Tierney running the Wainwrights..Wainwrights Map – Paul Tierney running the Wainwrights..
Wainwrights Map – Paul Tierney running the Wainwrights..

Why not read about the last time I was out with Steve up Blencathra and down Sharp Edge: Talking Wainwrights with Steve Birkinshaw