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Wainwrights ? The Wainwrights are the 214 fells that appear in Alfred Wainwright's seven volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells which range in height from 985ft to 3120ft  There are over 500 summits above 1,000ft in the Lake District, 171 of them are above 2,000ft. These higher fells have been categorised as Hewitts and Nuttalls, some of them, together with lower fells, are classed as Marilyns; which list they appear in depends on their prominence, i.e. relative height.  These lists are subject to change as re-surveying takes place.  The list of Wainwrights is a definitive one and can never alter as it not dependent on the above criteria.  It is not clear why Wainwright chose these fells for inclusion in his guides but it is probable that he just liked the appearance of them when viewed from the valleys.  Climbing all the Wainwrights is a popular objective for many walkers.  
Site Banner The banner is a photograph of Haystacks, Wainwright's favourite fell, which was taken from near Low Gatescarth. The stylised sunburst effect emanates from behind 'Y' Gully, the approximate location of Innominate Tarn where Wainwright's ashes were scattered on the 22nd of March 1991  " All I ask for, at the end, is a long last resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn on Haystacks, where the water laps the gravelly shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch" [ source - Wainwright : The Biography]
Colours The colours of the content frames, table borders and fonts roughly correspond to the colours of the rexine cloth covers of the first editions of the seven pictorial guides when they were originally published by Henry Marshall and later by The Westmorland Gazette.
Heights The heights of the fells are as they appear in the first editions of the pictorial guides and some may vary slightly since the re-surveying and 'metrification' of the Ordnance Survey maps; such changes have been included in the second editions. 
Grid References These give the general location of the summits on OS maps but, being only six figures, they are only accurate to within 100 metres so don't use them on a GPS and expect to bump into the summit in thick fog! Ten figure references, accurate to 1 metre can be found on Sean McMahon's Striding Edge website (see Links)
Routes The walks follow mostly, but not always, routes depicted in AW's diagrams of ascent for that particular fell although the starting point may differ.  To the best of my knowledge the routes follow public rights of way or permissive footpaths onto areas of open access.  Some of the routes may involve scrambling on rock and are only suitable for those who have experience of that activity, such routes do carry warnings and brief explanation of what is involved together with the scramble grade.  
Distances Wainwright probably used a manual map measurer to calculate the distances of his walks and they are remarkably accurate.  The distances used on this site have been derived from mapping software, in this case using Anquet Maps.
Ascent This is the total amount of ascent in feet to the summit from the starting point, again derived from Anquet Maps.  Wainwright would have calculated his ascents by counting the contour lines on large scale maps, all the dips and rises, a laborious task and again he was very accurate.
Times  Always a contentious issue.  The times on the website have been calculated using Naismith's Rule, that time-honoured formula of 3 miles per hour plus 30 minutes for each 1,000ft of ascent.  Naismith's Rule makes no allowance for stops, difficult terrain, or bad weather so the resultant calculations have been increased by 10%.
Please note that the distances and times are only for the ascent to the summit and do NOT include the return journey times.  
Photographs The photographs were taken with a Nikon D80 or an Olympus mju 400.  In order to give an impression of scale I sometimes included people in the photographs so my apologies if you happen to recognise yourselves in one of them ... if you were really close I usually asked permission!  Locating the same positions where Wainwright stood proves to be very difficult, he was quite tall, even standing on tiptoes I found it hard to get the photos just right and I have no idea what sort of camera or lens he used.  Check out Andy Beck's website (see Links), he has done a great job finding the exact locations and reproducing all the illustrations in watercolour.  
Safety on the hills  The walks depicted on this site are not meant to be a resource for anyone planning a day on the fells.  All the walks end on the summit of a fell and there is little or no indication of how to continue.  They are merely intended to illustrate what you may see, given good conditions, if you take such a route.  Most of the routes follow well established and popular paths where you will no doubt have plenty of company, some are less frequented and are all the better for that.  Hillwalking is not without risk, indeed an element of risk serves to enhance the enjoyment of a day amongst the fells, perhaps that is why there always seems to be a constant procession of walkers on Striding Edge and Jack's Rake eschewing the easier ways to the summits.  It is the understanding of those risks and the ability to minimise them that is important and that can only come from experience.  If you are a novice there are plenty of low level walks to enjoy before graduating to the more demanding routes, start low and aim high. The Lake District has over 8 million visitors each year, many thousands of them venture onto the fells and each year on average there are over 250 accidents resulting in injury and tragically around 25 people lose their lives.  Hillwalking is immensely enjoyable but with that enjoyment comes responsibility, not only to oneself but to others who may have to come to your aid.  However I am in no position to offer advice as I habitually disregarded the "rules" through my own ignorance when I first started out, so for detailed advice on mountain safety click | HERE | all good tips from Mountain Rescue England and Wales.   
Links  listed below, my favourite Lake District websites which are always a source of inspiration


Rob Marsh's Fell Walking Journal
Fat Boys on Tour walking and climbing in The Lake District and Scotland
Karl's Walks, pictures and reports of walks in the English Lake District
Photographs of the Lake District uploaded daily by Tony Richards
Roger and Anne Hiley's website of walks based around Loweswater
Masarnen Ramblers, Dave and Angie Walsh's walking website
Gary Richardson's photographic journals of walks
Chris Drake and his dog Fudge walking the Wainwright fells
Peter Selwood's Walking Places journal
Paul Sharkey's Lake District walks
Sean McMahon's photo diary of Lakeland walks
 Richard Ratcliffe's walks and other activities
Artist Andy Beck walks the Wainwright fells to reproduce AW's guidebook sketches in watercolour


Prepare and share your walks
Events and newsletters for devotees of Alfred Wainwright
Walking and Hiking in the UK

"Some personal notes in conclusion"

One of the best bits of advice on hill walking that I ever read, but usually failed to follow, was given by that great Lake District author and mountaineer Harry Griffin  ..." always keep a mountain diary ".  Harry's own dairies were not written in huge desk type books but were merely jottings in small notebooks recording the date, route , weather and his companions, aide-memoires  for his wonderful essays.  I met Harry many years ago on the summit of Middle Fell  above Wasdale.  I was making my way up a grade 1 scramble on Iron Crag and not doing very well, when I saw someone opposite me on a grade 3 route climbing expertly up the buttress.  I thought he looked vaguely familar  when I joined him at the summit cairn, only recognising him when he started to eat a bag of raisins, his favourite hill food, the virtues of which he was always extolling in his books.

 By not keeping a record of walks I have no idea of how many times I've climbed a particular fell, some of them probably dozens of times  and a few just once.  In the earlier days I mainly walked the western and southern fells because they were close to West Cumbria where I lived at that time and only occasionally visited other parts of the Lake District.  The  result was that even after 15 years of fellwalking I came to realise that I'd only climbed about 50 individual fells and didn't really know much about the others .  I'd never set foot on any of the north western fells although they were very near, none of the northern fells ,apart from Skiddaw, and the far eastern fells were quite unknown to me.  So in 1979 I teamed up with a friend who was also a keen fellwalker and together we planned to complete all the fells in the Wainwright guides.  We decided on a logical way of doing the round by climbing them in strict order of altitude , we simply "forgot" about any that we 'd already done and started with the lowest one, Castle Crag at 985ft, finishing on Scafell Pike 25 months later.  Each fell was the subject of a separate ascent and we never ventured on any higher ground on the way to the days objective, I'm  glad we did it that way, it was a great experience.

 Since then I have done a lot of hillwalking in Wales , the Peak District and the Scottish Highlands, I have kept a detailed record of the Scottish hills because they are a bit special, 211 Munros and Corbetts.  Climbing all the Wainwrights is not too difficult a task, by careful route selection and ridge walking to link them  you can probably complete a round of them within a few months but I think they deserve more than that.  Just 214 fells but there must be a thousand different ways to climb them, these are but some of them .......enjoy them all. 

John Lennox

 This website is dedicated to the memory of Raymond Dacre Steel 1950 - 2010
To the times when we blundered our way over all the Wainwright Fells .... the best of days


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