The complete set of pictorial walking guides to the Lakeland Fells

A library for those who hike in the shadow of giants…

Alfred Wainwright

Alfred Wainwright has arguably done more to popularise walking in the English Lake District than any other author. Some might feel that this is nothing to be lauded, preferring that numbers were reduced and the inevitable environmental damage from thousands of feet discontinued. Others might think his pictorial guides terribly outdated and of little help on the ground. However I give thanks to his legacy. Many is the evening my family have huddled around one of his books in the confines of a tent, or in one of those wonderful Inns with which the Lakes abound, together, we would plan our next days adventure.

Ill Bell and Kentmere are shown on the cover of 'The Far Eastern Fells' guide

Ill Bell and Kentmere are shown on the cover of ‘The Far Eastern Fells’ guide

Alfred Wainwright MBE (1907-1991) was a fellwalker, author and artist. His careful drawings and diagrams of the mountains and routes that he walked are scattered like confetti throughout his many books. He produced far more work than those that sit on the shelves of Three Points of the Compass, but it is the seven guides, shown at the head of this post, originally published between 1955 and 1966 (since updated) that have added much to my family’s enjoyment of the wonderful Lake District to which we returned for many years.

Three Points of the Compass hiking in the Lake District, invariably following one of the routes in a Wainwright pictorial guide

Three Points of the Compass hiking in the Lake District, invariably following one of the routes in a Wainwright pictorial guide

Evening planning of tomorrow's adventure, Lake District, 2017

Evening planning of tomorrow’s adventure, Lake District, 2015

The original guides remained un-revised for decades and welcome updates and revision were carried out by Chris Jesty between 2005-2009. I am not generally a fan of the use of sketch maps for walking guides, preferring the mighty Ordnance Survey maps instead. But Wainwright was such a proficient observer and artist that his detailed routes and descriptions can be transferred to a map with ease, preferably over a pint the previous night.

Two of Wainwright's routes (subsequently revised by Chris Jesty) to the summit of Haystacks. The fell on which his ashes were scattered

Two of Wainwright’s routes (subsequently revised by Chris Jesty) to the summit of Haystacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fine day on the fells is a wonderful thing indeed, just as frequent is a wet day! I cannot blame Wainwright for that, he always advises a cautionary note where required. On such days I have leafed through his guides and taken his advice, perhaps amended a day, taking in a lower top, or seeking one of his ‘easier’ paths to the summit or the descent and return to the car. It is possible, just possible, that on a day such as that, my family have cursed his books as much as I have praised them….

There have been various products made over the years that featured the drawings and work produced by Alfred Wainwright. Our family purchased the two Walkers Log Books, these were a great way of encouraging Three Points of the Compass's daughter to think on her day, the route we had taken and record her and our experiences

There have been various products made over the years that featured the drawings and work produced by Alfred Wainwright. Our family purchased the two Walkers Log Books, these were a great way of encouraging Three Points of the Compass’s daughter to reflect on her day, the route we had taken and record her and our experiences

Books in featured image:

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book One, The Eastern Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2007. ISBN 978 0 7112 2465 0

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Two, The Far Eastern Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2007. ISBN 978 0 7112 2466 7

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Three, The Central Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2007. ISBN 978 0 7112 2414 2

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Four, The Southern Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2008. ISBN 978 0 7112 2658 6

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Five, The Northern Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2008. ISBN 978 0 7112 2667 8

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Six, The North Western Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2008. ISBN 978 0 7112 2712 5

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Seven, The Western Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2009. ISBN 978 0 7112 2199 4

Another wet day! Three Points of the Compass and family setting off on a 'Wainwright Walk' in the Lake District, August 2008

Another wet day! Three Points of the Compass and family setting off on a ‘Wainwright Walk’ in the Lake District, August 2008

Alfred Wainwright's pictorial guide to the Western Fells. Buttermere with Haystacks beyond. His ashes were scattered on its summit

Alfred Wainwright’s pictorial guide to the Western Fells. The covers shows Buttermere with Haystacks beyond. Wainwright’s ashes were scattered on its summit

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s