It did indeed appear that way Dave... though this set me on a course of working out just how much road my route choice involved compared to Wainwright's.
Well, just to clarify the matter, with a little free time on my hands of late, I've had some time to check over my figures from last year:
Day1 - I make W/W's total mileage between RHB and Lovesome Hill (depending on how much road is used at the head of Rosedale) to be just over 12 or 13 miles.
My own route has a mere 4.86 miles.
WW's longer stretches are from the caravan park to Graystone turn off at 2.22 - (the longer being 3.03 if all rd is used at the hd of Rosedale) - Grosmont tarmac accounts for 1.5m.
My longest stretch comes early on at Bridgeholme Lane - 1.62m, followed by Ingleby to A19 at 1.02m (which is WW anyway)
Day 2(L/Hill to Keld) via W/Wright longest section looks like the long Streetlam to Whitwell section @ 3.48m*- which compares favourably to my own of 3.89 (Hard Stiles)
My own daily total of rd miles coming out provisionally at 12.85m compared to WW's 11.11m - slightly over on Day2 then, but not so much to get excited about...
* both calcs using the Footpath section between DW and Streetlam - ie. rd from DW, then Fpath and back to rd to Whitwell (all rd would make this 1.27m more tarmac)
Day3 (Keld to Kentmere) works out less favourably:
Relying on the road section in Birkdale (mine - not your suggested alt to boundary Dave - though this may prove better yet) becomes the longest stretch at 3.66m (though there is a footpath stretch that would reduce this by 1.45m) and a section to Tebay of 2.39m. Daily total road currently then works out at 11.67, whereas WW's is a mere 7.22 (7.37 if using Brownber, R/Stonedale Moor to Orton route) enroute to Shap.
Day4 (Kentmere to SBees) entails 7.26m (longest stretch being at Skelwith Bridge @ 1.94m followed by Cleator Moor @ 1.81m.
WW's road total section from Shap to finish works out at 6.67m (though this does include Sandwith up to quarry - not shown as metalled on O/S but is in fact all the way to Quarry Bungalows)
So, for what it's worth, total road sections:
To be fair Alf chose quiet roads where possible, but something has to go to reduce the overall distance and my choice of Kiplin to Bolton Cross, Hard Stiles alt and Birkdale to Lune Valley can clearly be justified with the outcome of a swifter crossing. If anyone can come up with a better plan, I'd like to hear it,