Books: Lake District Walks & More Lake District Walks (Pathfinder Guides)

Lake District Walks (cover) More Lake District Walks (cover)

I have found the pathfinder guides to be generally very good at providing interesting and varied walks in the various areas of Britain (I own and have used nine of them). These two books covering the lake district provide a good introduction to some very enjoyable walks in that beautiful region. The first book (Lake District Walks) is the best and will provide an excellent introduction to those not overly familiar with the area. The second (More Lake District Walks) is starting to push the boundaries of the area a little and I personally didn’t find the suggested walks as compelling – having said that, the Newlands Horseshoe is one of my favourite Lakeland walks, and the second book also includes Scafell Pike – the highest mountain in England – which is obviously a Lakeland classic.

The route descriptions are generally pretty reliable, and having extracts of ordnance survey maps rather than line drawings makes the walks (usually) easier to follow. There are however a couple of minor niggles – sometimes the route descriptions leave a bit to be desired – in some places there’s plenty of detail, but in others where a bit more detail would be nice, none is provided; the descriptions of how to get to the start points of the walks could also be improved.

Overall though, both books provide a good selection of routes with generally clear directions and can be recommended. Just make sure that you still carry a full map and compass (and know how to use them).

Fellwalking – Scafell

Sca Fell

A beautiful and very warm Saturday for another classic Lakeland walk:

“The most thrilling walk in Lakeland reaches the top of Scafell by way of an ingenious passage that penetrates the rocks of Scafell Crag … A struggle up this unfriendly ladder of rock debris … leads to the foot of Scafell Pinnacle in most impressive surroundings, the Pinnacle soaring above in a tower 500 feet in height. To the right at this point rises a steep narrow channel between rocks, and choked by stones and boulders. This is Lord’s Rake…”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

Parking at Wasdale Head we took the public footpath that leads south-east and then south to Lingmell Gill, then following the path as it proceeds upwards through Brown Tongue. Eventually the trail branches into two; following the southerly branch we proceeded to the bottom of Lord’s Rake.

We continued upwards for the traverse up Lords Rake and thus straight through Scafell Crag, before eventually (after a couple more up and down sections) reaching the high ground and a gentle stroll to the summit. Another option if you’d prefer not to climb Lords Rake would be to continue on the path and then take the gully up to Foxes Tarn. Don’t try going up Broad Stand – this is for roped climbers only!

Following lunch we took the path down through Green How to join a bridleway heading north to return to Wasdale Head and a beer (of course).

My rating: A+. Magnificent, but definitely for experienced walkers only
Map: OL6 – The English Lakes: South Western Area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: Book four, The Southern Fells

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Fellwalking – Great Gable

Towards Great Gable

“Great Gable is everbody’s favourite. The very name is a compelling magnet, the aspect of the mountain on all sides is challenging and its ascent a highlight in the itineraries of all active walkers in Lakeland.”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

We parked at Seathwaite, then took the path straight up Sourmilk Gill, rather hardwork so soon after breakfast, before following the path between Gillercomb and Base Brown, to ascend Green Gable and then Great Gable itself. The descent was down to Styhead Tarn and back along the Styhead Pass over Stockley bridge and back to Seathwaite.

My rating: A. A Lakeland classic.
Map: OL4 – The English Lakes: North Western area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: The Western Fells (50th Anniversary Edition): Book Seven (A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells)

Fellwalking – Blencathra

Hall’s Fell towards Blencathra

“Blencathra is a grand mountain standing aloof, independent, masculine, owing allegiance to no other, aware of its strategic importance as the cornerstone of Lakeland in the north-east, a sentinel charged with the duty of watching all who travel on the popular approach from Penrith”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

We approached Blencathra via Hall’s Fell, recommended by Wainwright as “positively the best way up Blencathra”. Parking at a small parking area north-west of Threlkeld, we took the public footpath north, and then turned east to meet the waterfall at the base of Hall’s fell. From this point – straight up the ridge! A great way to approach the fell tops, but not for nervous walkers. From Hallsfell Top we followed Scales Fell east and then looped back west to the base of Hall’s fell, dropping down the bridleway to join the old alignment of the A66, taking this into Threlkeld for a well deserved beer.

My rating: A. An exhilarating day’s walking, and highly recommended.
Map: OL5 – The English Lakes: North-Eastern area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: The Northern Fells (Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells): Book 5