I must say that I am indeed impressed by the FELLWALKERS, as you call them, in the photos on your message board. Not one of them is falling down!
If, like this contributor, you haven't got a clue what fellwalking is, read on........
Fellwalking is action, and fellwalking is fun!
These are the words of the great walking protagonist, Alfred Wainwright. However, to the unitiated this is probably still no help.
To those in the know, fell is an Old Norse word meaning mountain. The word fjall or fell as it is now seen in England is a result of the Scandinavian insurgence into England during the latter parts of the first millennium. In the south many Scandinavian placenames were obliterated as new waves of invaders entered Britain especially in the Norman conquest. In some areas, particularly in the Celtic fringes of Great Britain (such as Cornwall, Wales, Cumbria and Scotland) many place names survive from earlier periods. In these areas can be found Celtic and Latin place names from the Roman, Iron Age and periods before. The Norman dominance was obviously much weaker further north and as a result some placenames in remote places remained. Some academics and others believe that the last Norman battle on British soil was in Rannerdale, near Crummock Water - and the locals won! In some instances later placenames repeated the earlier such as Pendle Hill. Pen is welsh for hill already so why add another hill to Pendle!
For those interested in the origin of names the word fell or fiall is probably Icelandic. The more modern Norwegian form is fjeld, pronounced fi-ell. The later Anglo-Saxon field is from the same root and has similar meaning. Thus a fell is a place where the ground is on the fall. A field is a piece of ground where the trees have been felled.
Fell is used throughout the Lake District and other parts of Northern England as a synonym for mountain. As an example we have Bowfell.
In this way, fellwalking literally translates nicely into mountain walking. I hope that answers it for you!
An anecdote - the origins of fellrunning, or 'When I fell running!"
One fine summer day I was descending from Grisedale Tarn. I guess it had to be about 1989 on one of my annual two week summer holidays. For quite a way, the path keeps to the western side of the beck until just below Ruthwaite Lodge the path drops down into the valley for a crossing of the beck. On this particular hot day, I had just completed a Helvellyn round. I was particularly hot, clad rather sparesly in just t-shirt, running shorts, short socks and Walsh runners. I hit the water with a resounding splash - I guess I thought it would be a great way to cool down. In my youthful innocence I was unaware of what might happen. My calf muscles obvioudly contracted a good few inch, my legs suddenly stopped functioning and I fell running!
I guess that's what makes it funny. However, I think what really made it, was that when I looked up from my prostrate slumber, there was a sweet old couple eating their sandwiches on a boulder. We all have that scene in our minds, but on that day I guess that elderly duo were rather surprised to have their lunch time relaxation interrupted by me. I can still see their faces in my mind. I quickly picked myself up and mumbled some apology. I think back to that time and smile!