Reviewer: Linda Hepworth

Vertebrate Publishing Ltd. 15th November 2021

ISBN: 978-1839811029 Paperback

I was introduced to the joys of fell walking in the Lake District in the mid-1950s when, as a young teenager, I
spent a weekend walking between the youth hostels in Ambleside, Coniston and Elterwater, climbing Dow Crag,
Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam and Loughrigg Fell en route. Although I had no idea at the time that I had just
‘bagged’ my first four Wainwrights, I can recall, as if it was yesterday, sitting at the summit of the Old Man and
feeling not only in awe of the panoramic views in front of me, but also being absolutely clear that I wanted more
opportunities to enjoy this feeling of ‘sitting on top of the world’. Throughout the intervening decades there hasn’t
been a year when I haven’t visited the area to enjoy days of fell-walking. When I was working that meant staying
for a week at a time (I’m sure I could never have ‘survived’ living in London for twenty-two years without
coming up at least twice a year to climb a few more fells!) but since retiring and moving to the North Pennines
area of Cumbria, the fells have been on my doorstep!

Over the years I’ve reached the summits of all 214 Wainwrights (with many revisited on numerous occasions) but
I’ve achieved this organically rather than in any systematic way. It’s been an enjoyable and rewarding
achievement but reading this beautifully presented guide, with its stunning photographs and detailed descriptions
of each walk, has not only brought back some wonderful memories but has also demonstrated how much more
efficiently I could have tackled the challenge! Although I’m not planning on putting this to the test by following
all forty-five routes described, I do feel inspired to complete several of them in the months (and years!) ahead and
decided to make a start by doing a ‘test-drive’ (or walk!) of one of them before writing this review.
I chose to tackle the Fusedale Circuit because it is the closest to where I live, an important consideration given the
shorter daylight hours at this time of year. Over a distance of 15.1 km the route takes in six summits (Bonscale
Pike, Arthur’s Pike, Loadpot Hill, Wether Hill, Steel Knots and Hallin Fell) and offers a variety of terrain, with
some impressive views over Ullswater, the Helvellyn ridge and, to the east, the Eden Valley and the hills of the
North Pennines. I found that the description of the route was excellent, including some helpful pointers about
features which could, potentially, cause confusion (for instance about where a true summit is) and warnings about
sections where multitudinous small paths could make navigation difficult and lead the walker to head off in the
wrong direction, particularly in misty conditions. I was fortunate in enjoying clear conditions for my very
enjoyable day on the hills so experienced no problems with following the route; the views were spectacular, with
the sunshine highlighting the wonderful autumn colours. Although I was able to park easily, I know that at busier
times of the year the limited parking spaces are soon filled so probably the best way to access the walk then would
be to take the Ullswater Steamer (from either Pooley Bridge or Glenridding) to the Howtown landing, which is
just 600 metres from the start of the route.

The publisher’s synopsis details the key features which are included for each the forty-five circular routes so,
other than to say how much I always appreciate the inclusion of this essential information when I’m planning a
walk, I’m not going to repeat it in my review. However, what I can confirm is its accuracy in relation to the
timing of six and a half hours for a walker because I managed this without any difficulty. As I don’t use an
electronic device to download routes, I used the guide at home to trace the route on my trusted 1:25,000 OS map
and used that for navigation so I’m not able to offer any comment on the GPX file which can be downloaded from
the publisher’s website. (However, I am pleased to note that the authors of the guide advise that even those who
do use digital maps should also carry a physical one – and a compass!)

This beautifully presented, well-researched guide is inspirational and would make a perfect gift (Christmas is fast approaching!)

not only for anyone who is considering the best way to ‘bag’ all 214 Wainwrights in the most
efficient way, but for anyone who loves the Lake District and is just wanting to plan an enjoyable day out on the
fells.