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The Wainwrights

Alfred ("A.W.") Wainwright MBE (17 January 1907 - 20 January 1991) was a British fellwalker, guidebook author and illustrator. His seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fell, published between 1955 and 1966 and consisting entirely of reproductions of his manuscript, has become the standard reference work to 214 of the fells of the English Lake District.

Wainwright's Pictorial Guides have been in continuous publication since they were written and have sold more than two million copies. Although a large number of more up-to-date guides are now on the market, his books remain among the most popular available for their depth, detail and unique style. Moreover, his division of the Lake District into seven areas, and his choice of fells to include, have been followed in whole or in part by subsequent writers.

The 214 fells described in the Pictorial Guides are now generally known as the Wainwrights and visiting them all is a common form of peak bagging. The Long Distance Walkers Association maintains a register of walkers who have completed the Wainwrights; in November 2007 there were 459 people on the list, of whom 40 had completed more than once. It is estimated that the total number of completers could be over 50% higher than the LDWA's figure. Hopefully in a few years time the names of the rambling badgers will be added to that list. 

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Wainwright Ascent Totals by Book

Book No. Fells Completed Remaining
Eastern Fells 35 8 27
Far Eastern Fells 36 13 23
Central Fells 27 4 23
Southern Fells 30 1 29
Northern Fells 24 5 19
North Western Fells 29 1 28
Western Fells 33 3 30
Totals 214 35 233

Book 1: The Eastern Fells

The 35 fells comprising Wainwright's first Pictorial Guide are bounded by the River Glenderamackin and Dacre Beck to the north, the River Rothay and Stock Gill to the south, Dunmail Raise and Thirlmere to the west and the Kirkstone Pass and Ullswater to the east. The highest fell in this section is Helvellyn, being the...


Book 2: The Far Eastern Fells

The 36 fells comprising Wainwright's second Pictorial Guide are bounded by Ullswater and Pooley Bridge to the north, Longsleddale, Kentmere and Troutbeck to the south, the Kirkstone Pass to the west and Swindale Beck and the River Lowther to the east. The highest fell in this section is High Street, so called because of the...


Book 3: The Central Fells

The 27 fells comprising Wainwright's third Pictorial Guide are bounded by Derwent Water and Keswick to the north, Great Langdale and the River Brathay to the south, the valleys of Borrowdale and Langstrath to the west and Thirlmere and Dunmail Raise to the east. The highest fell in this section is High Raise, which is...


Book 4: The Southern Fells

The 30 fells comprising Wainwright's fourth Pictorial Guide are bounded by Borrowdale and Langstrath to the north, Birker Fell and the Walna Scar Pass to the south, Wast Water and Wasdale to the west and Great Langdale and Yewdale to the east. The highest fell in this section is Scafell Pike, which is also the...


Book 5: The Northern Fells

The 24 fells comprising Wainwright's fifth Pictorial Guide are bounded by Caldbeck and a limestone belt to the north, the rivers Derwent, Greta and Glenderamackin to the south, Bassenthwaite Lake (the only 'lake' in the Lake District) to the west and Mosedale and the River Caldew to the east. The highest fell in this section...


Book 6: The North Western Fells

The 29 fells comprising Wainwright's sixth Pictorial Guide are bounded by Bassenthwaite Lake and the Vale of Embleton to the north, Buttermere and the Honister Pass to the south, Crummock Water and the River Cocker to the west and the River Derwent and Derwent Water to the east. The highest fell in this section is...


Book 7: The Western Fells

The 33 fells comprising Wainwright's seventh and final Pictorial Guide have few easily discernable natural boundaries other than Ennerdale to the west, Wast Water to the south and Honister Pass to the north east. The highest fell in this section is Great Gable, which sees hundreds of walkers and climbers gather every year, at an...