Alfred Wainwright, a man spellbound by the majestic fells of the Lake District, poured his heart and soul into chronicling 214 unique summits. His passion birthed a series of meticulous guides that have since become a beacon for generations of hikers.
There were no specific criteria to select the 214 distinctive peaks that would be (intimately) chronicled in Alfred Wainwright's seven-volume pictorial guide. Rather, their inclusion was based on Wainwright's appreciation for their prominence and character within the landscape.
Each one of these fells carries a piece of Wainwright's legacy, beckoning walkers to trace his steps and create their own Lake District adventures.
An enticing challenge among avid hikers and trail runners is to conquer all 214 summits—a feat known as peak-bagging—within their lifetime. Each fell, varying in height, shape, and size, offers a different experience. Each Wainwright Fell, ranging from the highest, Scafell Pike, at 3,210 feet, to the smallest, Castle Crag, at 985 feet, presents a unique journey for walkers to explore the Lake District's diverse landscapes. All but one of these fells exceed 1,000 feet in height, lying within the boundary of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria.
In addition to the primary 214 fells, Wainwright also published a supplementary volume, The Outlying Fells of Lakeland (1974), which added another 116 summits to the roster, providing even more opportunities for walkers to engage with the captivating Lake District landscapes.
Who was Alfred Wainwright?
Alfred Wainwright was a British author and illustrator, best known for his seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells , which has been influential among fellwalkers (hill and mountain hikers) for generations.
Born in 1907, Wainwright spent much of his life in the Lake District of North West England, which inspired his detailed guides and meticulous hand-drawn maps.
Wainwright eventually settled in Kendal, in the southern Lake District, where he worked as an accountant. He spent countless hours exploring the fells in his spare time, mapping out routes and writing about his adventures in his famous guidebooks. Wainwright's writing style is distinctive and charming, and his books have become enduring classics, loved by walkers and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.
Dive into the world of Alfred Wainwright with these insightful YouTube videos, offering you a unique peek into the life and legacy of the man behind the famous Wainwright Fells:
This section showcases the culmination of Alfred Wainwright's deep appreciation for the Lake District's fells and meticulous labour of love. These eight guides, including the seven-volume Illustrated Walking Guide and the Outlying Fells book, offer in-depth insights into the scenic landscape of the Lake District's fells.
Each book serves as a trusty companion, providing valuable knowledge and guidance to both seasoned hikers and novice explorers, helping you navigate the breathtaking beauty of this unique region.
Wainwright's Fells by Book
Wainwright's Maps and Guides
Explore our curated selection of maps and guides that celebrate and aid in exploring the Wainwright Fells.
Ready to start bagging Wainwright peaks? This interactive Scratch Off Map is your perfect companion. As you conquer each of the 214 Wainwright fells, scratch them off to reveal a vibrant, colour-coded record of your Lake District adventures.
Step into the challenge of bagging Wainwright’s 214 iconic fells with “Peak Bagging: Wainwrights” by Karen and Dan Parker. This guidebook takes you on a thrilling journey with 45 expertly curated routes, each promising its own unique adventure. No matter your pace, this indispensable guide transforms your pursuit of the Wainwrights into an unforgettable exploration of the English Lake District.
Embark on a journey through the Lake District with this resourceful guide, designed to complement Wainwright’s iconic guides. With 64 carefully planned routes, this book not only helps you bag all the Wainwrights but also aids in crafting comprehensive day-long adventures across the fells. Embrace the blend of past and present as you navigate the routes using this modern guide and Wainwright’s timeless pictorial guides for a well-rounded exploration of the Lake District’s beauty.
How many Wainwright fells are there?
In addition to the 214 main Wainwright Fells, Alfred Wainwright also described 116 summits in his supplementary volume, The Outlying Fells of Lakeland. These are often referred to as the "Wainwright Outlying Fells".
What makes Wainwright's guidebooks so unique?
Wainwright's guidebooks are unique due to their combination of practical information, personal commentary, and detailed illustrations. Instead of simply providing a route description, Wainwright's books offer a deep appreciation of the landscape and its history. His hand-drawn maps and illustrations capture the character of the fells in a way that standard maps and photos can't, and his engaging writing style makes the guides enjoyable to read even when you're not on a hike.
How did Wainwright become interested in fellwalking?
Wainwright first visited the Lake District when he was 23 years old and immediately fell in love with the area. He found solace and inspiration in the fells, and walking soon became his main hobby. In 1952, he started working on his first guidebook to share his love of the fells with others.
What is the Wainwright Society?
The Wainwright Society was established in 2002 to keep the spirit of Alfred Wainwright alive and promote fellwalking as an enjoyable and rewarding activity. The society organises events, promotes conservation in the Lake District, and keeps Wainwright's legacy alive through various initiatives.
Are Wainwright's guides still relevant today?
Absolutely! Although some specific information about paths and landmarks may have changed since Wainwright's time, his guides are still cherished by fellwalkers for their personal touch, in-depth information, and beautiful illustrations. Many people still use them as their primary resource when exploring the Lake District, and they are a wonderful way to follow in Wainwright's footsteps and see the fells through his eyes.
What is “peak bagging”?
Peak bagging, also known as hill bagging or fell bagging in the UK, is the practice of attempting to reach the summit of a collection of peaks, hills, or fells. It's a popular activity among outdoor enthusiasts and often involves ticking off or "bagging" a defined list.