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Pioneers: The Men who Forged the Lake District 24-Hour Fell Record
Fellrunner (Winter 2019)

This page provides some further information to reference the information presented in an article published in the Winter 2019 edition of The Fellrunner. The article is the first in a series on the history of the Lake District 24-Hour Fell Record. A slightly extended soft copy of the article (without images or typesetting) is available here. The second instalment is available here.

These notes are set out in the order in which the relevant item appears in the article.

Notes: [endx] notation refers to the "endeavour code", essentially a unique identifier for each record attempt or walk. A full reference table is available here. [idnx] refers to newspaper references; [idx] refers to all other sources. Full references are available here



  • Wakefield’s quotation is from his 1906 article in the Climber’s Club Journal [id31].


  • Captain Joseph Budworth wrote A Fortnight's Ramble to the Lakes in Westmorland (1792).

  • An account of Joseph Clark and Harrison Walker’s 1832 walk is available here [end0]. The full quotation, originally from the Carlisle Journal but reported in the Morning Advertiser [idn62], was: “considering the difficulty of ascending and descending these stupendous mountains, it may be considered a most arduous task.”


  • It appears Elliott ascended Stirrup Crag but did not reach the true summit of Yewbarrow. Nonetheless, I count it as a summit as he did the lion’s share of the work. An account of his walk is available here [end1]

  • When in Switzerland, Elliott is said to have transformed from an “overworked clergyman” to an “unwearied mountaineer” [id100 / id104].

  • At the age of 30, Elliott was killed on the Schreckhorn. After completing the hardest part of the climb, Elliott and his party prematurely congratulated themselves on their approaching achievement. While Elliott’s regular guide went to cut steps in the glacier for the final push, Elliott pressed on. He slipped, unroped, holding no axe to arrest a fall. For a heart-stopping moment, a companion was able to catch his arm. Alas, the momentum was too great and he tumbled into an abyss. As his father’s biographer poignantly reflected: the same Alps which brought him such life were ultimately to cause him death [id100 / id104].

  • The three men from Langdale were John Bennett, Fleming Coward and Thomas Grisedale. An account of their walk is available here [end1b].

  • Between the Langdale three and Jenkinson, Thomas Watson of Darlington took the round to four summits by adding Blencathra. An account of his walk is available here [end2].

  • “For a liberal pecuniary consideration” [idn71].

  • Jenkinson’s first sleep was at Wythburn for an hour. In addition, he was later “overcome by sleepiness at the back of Skiddaw[,] having to rest a while at a gamekeeper’s cottage” [id36].

  • “The whole of this remarkable…” [idn71 / idn59].

  • An account of Jenkinson’s walk is available here.



  • Space did not allow a discussion of the Pilkington family, another highly relevant name for the cross-over between mountain climbing and record walking worlds. In 1871, Edward Pilkington – a later president of the Alpine Club – took Jenkinson’s record to seven fells, adding Fairfield for the first time (described here [end3]). This was matched by Charles and Lawrence in 1883 (described here [end8]). Lawrence is loosely credited with inaugurating “the masochistic sport of fell running” [id85 / id84], although I suspect he walked for the majority of his round.

  • “I am slow…” [id17].

  • An account of Robinson and Gibbs' walk is available here [end9].

  • Eustace Thomas’ musings on dropping the term ‘Fell Record’ “out of use altogether” are described in [id46].


  • An account of Broadrick’s ‘Four Fells Record’ is available here [end14]. He is said to have lost 45 minutes in having to backtrack on the slopes of Skiddaw after leaving his “purse” next to a beck.

  • “Enthusiastically welcomed by a large crowd” [idn32]. This relates to the 'Four Fells Record' set by Dawson, Poole and Palmer in 1895, described here [end10].

  • “Euphemistically-termed exaggerations” [id72].

  • An account of Broadrick and Dawson’s walk is available here [end15]. In an innovation for the time, they arranged for four Manchester men to be deployed along the route to organise supplies and serve as pacers.

  • The disaster on Scafell Pinnacle was the worst accident in British climbing until five deaths on Ben Nevis in 1954.


  • The two sources of inspiration are drawn from [idn55].

  • Different permutations of the foursome undertook at least three notable walks: (1) Westmorland, Johnston, Beaty and Strong in 1898 (only Johnston and Strong finished; described here [end11]); (2) Westmorland and Beaty, also in 1898 (described here [end12]); and (3) Johnston in 1903 (described here [end16]).

  • “They determined to take that bit of the journey for granted” [idn55]


  • None.

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