A teddy bear from Ambleside has started to tick off the Wainwright fells.
The bear, named Livingstone Wainwright by guests, lives at the Smallwood Hotel which is the centre for peak-baggers walking the 214 felltops listed in the legendary guidebooks. When a couple of visitors wanted to take the bear with them on a day’s hike, owners Christine and Anthony Harrison gave enthusiastic approval.
Teddy’s first summits were Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag and Little Hart Crag. Then on Good Friday he was taken to the top of Helvellyn by walkers from Tees-side, Andrew Taylor and Callie Doyle. He’s been up Helvellyn again this week.
“The bear is now part of our Wainwright display,” said Christine. “We’re very happy for him to be taken out for a walk.”
Christine and Anthony are helping walkers share their achievements when ticking off the Lakeland fells, with a log book, wall charts, pictures and maps at their guest house.
They are also planning an online forum on the hotel’s website where walkers can share their adventures on the hills, and they encourage walkers to take photos of themselves on the summits to create a picture montage for the hotel.
Both keen walkers, Christine and Anthony say that many of their visitors are fell walkers using the ideal location to tick off as many summits as possible. The hotel lies within reach of many hills in the Central, Eastern and Far Eastern Fells, and bedroom windows look across the town to Wansfell.
“Our guests often come back after a day on the tops, full of pride and a sense of achievement, and we thought it would be good to provide them with a chance to talk about what they’ve done with other walkers,” said Christine.
“We want to encourage them to get out onto the fells, and encourage them to share their stories afterwards.”
They say that their scheme is not so much a tribute to Wainwright himself as to the walkers who now challenge themselves to follow in his footsteps.
Their plan has been welcomed by the broadcaster Eric Robson, chairman of the Wainwright Society, who made a series of programmes walking with AW for the BBC in the 1980s. He said: “Anything that encourages new generations of walkers to enjoy the experience of the fells is to be welcomed. Following in Wainwright’s steps, and being inspired by his guidebooks, has changed the lives of tens of thousands of people.”