If getting out walking more isn’t one of your resolutions this New Year, perhaps it should be! Besides the obvious health benefits of walking; the chance to enjoy the beautiful Lake District landscape is the only reason you need.
If like us, you have decided to get out more this year; one of the most useful tools for motivation has got to be ‘Hill-Bagging’. And one of the Lake Districts most influential walkers and writers has spawned entire generations of ‘Wainwright Hill-baggers’.
About Alfred Wainwright
Best known for his pictorial books on the Lake District fells; Wainwright logged his walks of 214 Lakeland Fells over a series of seven books; including in -depth descriptions and hand-sketched pictures and diagrams of routes, views and natural features. Although he published several more books on outlaying fells, as well as his famous ‘Coast-to-Coast’ route- his initial 214 summits are by far the most popular amongst fell walkers.
Wainwright visited the Lake District for the first time at the age of 23. Journeying from his hometown of Blackburn via bus and alighting in the Town of Windermere, where he and his Cousin walked their first Fell- Orrest Head.
Orrest Head cast a spell that changed my life - A. Wainwright
Wainwright moved to the Lake District in 1941 and began writing his pictorial guides in 1952.
To this day, people follow in Wainright’s footsteps. Treading the same routes to the summits that he did, and taking in the same views that he once enjoyed.
For those of you just starting-out on your Wainright journey, or those of you with children to inspire; here are some of the best beginners Wainright walks in the Northern Lakes:
206 – Latrigg
With stunning views over Keswick and the surrounding Fells, Latrigg is one of the North Lakes’ most popular walks for day-trippers to Keswick. With a height of 368M, Latrigg is one of the lowest Wainright Fells. Its easy to follow route is perfect for beginners and children, as well as seasoned walkers.
211 Loughrigg Fell
A bit further South than the other recommended Fells, Loughrigg near Ambleside is certainly worth a mention here. Coming in at 335M, this little gem of a fell is perfect for family walks. There are several routes up Loughrigg Fell, so you have a choice of how easy or hard you want to take it.
205 & 208 Ling Fell and Sail Fell
These are a great two little side-by-side fells, overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake in the Northern Lake District, in-between Cockermouth and Keswick. Both can be easily walked in a day, with heights coming in at 373M and 356M respectively. The views over Bassenthwaite are astounding and the walk is perfect if you’re game for a full day of adventuring.
189 – Catbells
Another popular Keswick walk. There are several routes and add-ons when walking Catbells, one of which takes in the full ridgeline, following the river Derwent up the Borrowdale Valley, taking in the added peaks of Maiden Moor and High Spy (this is a full day with more elevated walking). Alternatively, you can walk to Catbells summit from the far-side of Derwentwater and take in the breath-taking views from the peak. The short, sharp and steep climb up to the peak will take you to a height of 500M, but with an easy to follow path, this walk is great for beginners and slightly older children.
214 – Castle Crag
With so many unique and interesting features, Castle crag is a great walk for families, as well as being one of the best ‘first Wainwrights’ to ‘bag’. En-route you’ll come across a cave, a quarry filled with piled ‘cairns’ (created by walkers as they pass through), as well as a memorial at the summit- where you can also take in views of the Borrowdale Valley and Derwentwater. At a height of just 300M, Castle Crag may be one of the lowest Wainwrights, but is certainly not the underdog in terms of a great walk!
Now we’ve given you a few ideas, here’s to your New Year of hiking and Wainwright Bagging. Go for it!