Wainwright's Fells

Home Up The Eastern Fells The Far Eastern Fells The Central Fells The Southern Fells The Northern Fells The North Western Fells The Western Fells



Alfred Wainwright, or AW as he is often referred to, is probably most famous for his seven Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. Compiled between the years of 1952 and 1966, they have often been referred to as the fellwalker's bible. The seven Pictorial Guides list 214 fells of the English Lake District, and which many people aspire to climb, ticking them off as each one is climbed or “bagged”. Bagging these fells is commonly referred to as "doing the Wainwright's”. Meticulous pen and ink drawings and maps accompany each fell within the guides, which has become AW's trademark, giving detailed descriptions of the ascents of all 214 fells, along with ridge walks connecting adjacent fells. Each guide is indeed a work of art and completely hand-drawn.

It is generally accepted that AW, in compiling the Pictorial Guides, initially did so for his own pleasure and amusement, and not intending to publish them at all. According to AW he wanted to gather together all his notes and drawings and put them in a book so that when he became an old man, he could look at them at his leisure and revisit the fells in spirit long after his legs had given up.

AW divided the Lake District into convenient sections, making use of natural boundaries such as lakes, valleys and low passes, trying to make each district self-contained and independent of the rest. This division gave seven areas each being the subject of a separate book, hence the seven Pictorial Guides. How AW chose which fells to include in these guides is not an exact science but his definition of a Lakeland Fell was, first, height, and secondly, individuality. The 214 fells range in height from the lowly Castle Crag at 985 feet, to the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, reaching 3,210 feet above sea level (based on Alfred Wainwright's Pictorial Guides).

The seven Pictorial Guides are listed above in geographical areas. Following the links will display the fells listed in that particular volume.


Top of Page