Okay. I admit it. I'm a bit of a peak-bagger.
I use 4 different list; Hewitts, Wainwrights, Marilyns and county tops (still not updated for the various local government re-organisations of the 1990s). I've developed a consolidated list on an Access database; 674 hills in England and Wales and I've been up 394 of them.
I was interested to find a commentary on peak-bagging on the TACIT tables web site; TACIT keeps a definitive list of Hewitts and Marilyns in England and Wales. It reckoned there were two clear schools of thought:
I have reflected on this. There have been days
when I have gone out purely peak-bagging; the usual key is that I've used the
car during the day to get between the different hills. The worst example was
when I did 14 Wainwrights in 3 days in 9 different walks (including the one when
failed to get up through a mixture of fatigue and inclement weather) There were
pleasures in this but overall there was a feeling of guilt and pleasure
diminished. You don't quite feel that you have been fair to the hill, however
much you try to savour the top.
So where does this leave you when you finish a list. Well I am driven by the cult of the new. I get most satisfaction from visiting a new summit and there is a slight sense of let down on completing the list. I know this from finishing the Wainwrights (after the incredible high of reaching the top of Harter Fell, my last one, on the perfect walk, in planning, in anticipation and in execution). It's certainly true that I haven't been as keen to go to the Lakes as at one time (although this is partly down to non-walking agendas). There are still quests there; new routes, new views (especially those hills where the cloud was down on the first visit) but these aren't as enticing as a completely new visit. It's good being able to name the peaks from Lakeland tops but is it quite as tantalising as not being able to name any without getting out a map and working them out?
Yes I do enjoy ticking off the hills on my list but (in most cases) the real pleasure is in getting out there and living the walk.