Alfred Wainwright, the legendary fell walker and author of the incomparable and unique Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells was also a fluent, eloquent and diligent correspondent. Writing to old friends and to the many new ones gained through his books, and to his love, and later second wife, Betty, his letters display a much warmer, more sensitive and emotional character than his gruff popular image would suggest.
Hunter Davies, Wainwright's biographer, has here collected a selection of letters that range from his early years in Blackburn to his established position as Borough Treasurer in Kendal, and cover all aspects of his professional and personal life, as well as the voluminous correspondence that was a consequence of writing and publishing the Pictorial Guides. The latter vividly illuminate many aspects of that turbulent but ultimately triumphant process, while the former present a picture of a dedicated public servant whose personal life had been deeply unhappy until late in life he found unexpected but transcendent love and happiness.
In turn business-like and comic, wonderfully well informed and remarkably innocent, deeply moving and yet tough-minded, the letters present a vivid and unforgettable picture of one of the great but eccentric creative geniuses of the twentieth century.