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on 14 September 2000
The legendry Alfred Wainright's 7-volume Pictorial Guide,which describes in loving detail his selection of 214 peaksin the Lake District, is the bible of devotees of these imcomparable hills. This new guide sets out single-mindedly to provide routes for climbing the "Wainrights" as the peaks have come to be called, and it's the first pocket-sized book to do so. The author has walked the whole round several times and now offers his best shot at a scheme allowing the peaks to be scaled with the minimum of time and effort. Just what is needed nowadays by all those keen, middle-ranking walkers who simply don't have the time, the confidence or the intimate knowledge of the district to plan a complete scheme of walks themselves.
This book fills a real gap in the market since although "AW" himself described ascents of all the tops, plus many ridge routes connecting them, he didn't suggest full-day walks linking the fells together to give complete outings. While there are other guidebooks that do this they're mostly big, heavy volumes so that you must buy a number of them. Walking the wainrights by contrast, is a comprehensive,portable guide, sized and designed so that when opened it will fit into a standard map case with the whole day's route laid out on just two facing pages. (the author rightly insists, however,that the relevent Ordnance survey or Harvey's map is an essential back-up which should be carried together with the book in the same holder.)
Thirty-six circular walks are described, each including at least two Wainrights. The routes are distinct-no summit is visited twice- and "height once gained is not lightly surrendered"! the instructions are very concise, with no purple passages or needless drawing of attention to the views(either you see them or you can't!) and no patronising references to the readers aching limbs. The sketch maps, in two colours, are keyed to the text by numbered waypoints. (the maps, like the photographs,the cover and the book design, are the authors own work.)
The walks vary in lenght and difficulty. The easiest is a five mile stroll ("for a sunny evening") covering Low Fell and Fellbarrow on the north-west fringe of the district. The toughest two are "The Newlands Watershed" (15 miles and 5,700ft of accent) and "A Buttermere Marathon" (16 miles and 4,400ft). These are demanding expeditions by the standards of most of us and the author must still be in good shape despite his fifty-odd years of peak bagging! Less fit or determined walkers, and those with mobility problems such as myself, may well draw the line at about ten miles and 3000ft of accent in one day. Such people, probably in the majority, will welcome a unique feature of this book, which is the measured and timed two-day alternatives that are offered for all the longer walks. readers who chose a lot of the alternatives will find that they'll take nearer sixty than thirty-six outings to traverse all tht Wainrights, but any who finish the task will, as the author says,"have set foot on practically all the highest ground in the Lakeland-a satisfying and pleasureable achievement and one to be proud of.
as well as the route information, and some very stern advice on footpath etiquette, the book has useful sections on Lakeland geology and place-names that will surely enrich the readers experience of the hills. There are moments of humour. Fun is poked at all those publications with "a guidebook's soul trapped in a coffee-table books body"-and the author is not afraid of controversy. He detests unnecessary gadjets, safety mania and overdressing for the fells. Clearly he wouldn't be seen dead with a pair of trekking poles(at least not just yet) or a GPS and he's not too keen on waterproof trousers or gaiters-or even on jackets. His navigation technique is over simple for me and most of my friends but he swears it works well enough for the Lake District hills (" small even by British standards") I'm told he is a scientist,and so at home with metric units, but he ignores them totally in this book and for "practical and sentimental" reasons sticks to miles, yards and feet, which may upset some readers. I personally think he has a bit of "The Wainright" in him.
However these are minor quibbles. The author has made his wealth of experience available to other Lakeland walkers, and his obvious love of roaming the fells is illuminated in his book.
It's quite simply a must for anybody who enjoys the mountains and even better for anyone who wants to climb the "Wainrights" in one lifetime
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on 3 September 2015
I needed a book which would detail the ideal routes in bite size format with easy reference to dip in and out of the book for my planned walks. This book highlights the AW fells at the start of each walk in the form of a summary. It is an easy to use quick dip guide. I read it everyday when planning my walks as I travel to the area every six weeks to undertake these walks. Many of the walks are navigated by the free walking tours from the Tourist Info Centre. The fells can be a dangerous place to walk and care must be taken to keep to the designated pathways or staircases as some describe. The fells must be treated with respect, unprepared walkers could easily become lost or disorientated if they do not carry a map and compass as a basic. This is photo of our walk up Catbells. Be sure to back up these walks with viewing the walks on utube. Getting as much information about the walk is the secret to a happy walk.
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on 16 November 2012
This book is worth buying for "efficient" Wainwright baggers, but with caveats; it's main value is for the basic routes and for the car parking information - both worth the price of the book.

In my opinion the shortcomings are:

- the route data is very much of a guesstimate in terms of distance and altitude gained. It needs to be updated using GPS data.
- I walk with my wife; we are in our fifties and fit enought to the extent that we keep going all day and few people pass us, yet we find the estimated times for the walks are overly ambitious.
- my wife's view is that many of the walks are just one peak too long for a comfortable days walk. For example, take a look at the (extended) Kentmere Round to see what I mean.

The book is NOT intended to be used as a detailed guide book - the author makes clear that the accompanying Wainwright guide should be used, and if it is then this is a rewarding companion to the original guides. But the routes do evolve over time and the book may make more sense on a second time around, or indeed (as other reviewers have commented) it allows readers to construct their own variations.
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on 18 September 2009
I bought this book as a starting point: I wanted to think about whether or not I might take on the Wainwrights, but their sheer numbers had left me wondering if I could. This book makes that this goal much more achieveable, encompassing as it does all 214 Wainwrights in a series of walks that allow you to bag them all within a manageable number of outings (36) if you follow the suggested routes over a period of years, probably (for those of us not living on the doorstep of these great hills).

It's quite brief in it's descriptiveness in places, but there is enough information there for anyone with a little mountain experience to be able to understand where the routes are meant to go and then navigate their own way around. No GPS information, if you're into that, as it pre-dates much of that technology, but a good resourse nonetheless.

By the way, I'm off next week to tackle my first route from this book. Onward and upward!
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on 18 June 2016
The book gives a series of routes for ticking off the Wainwrights as effectively as possible however it is let down by not having proper mapping and relies on you looking at the very basic sketches and figuring out what the route actually does on an OS map.

Also, whilst it is very good at giving you routes which tick of the summits they're not routes you'd particularly want to walk if you weren't peak bagging, the routes are very much designed as a means to an end.
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on 5 July 2009
Walking the Wainwrights: With Stuart Marshall

A well thought out text for those wishing to have a solid plan for tackling, what to many, are the 'must do' peaks in the English Lake District. A number of the paths are not shown on OS maps but this has not proved to be a problem as many of the routes are fairly obvious over good ground. One note of caution - there are one or two typos: one related to a compass direction, so check carefully before moving off!

I hope the author will consider a 'glossy version' as it would be nice to have one for the book shelf which included good photographs.
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on 11 May 2016
The book shows 36 circular walks that include all the "Wainwrights". The maps and descrptions are easy to follow. The only change I'd make it is to have it be able to open flat so it can fit in a map carrier easily.
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on 15 August 2009
I have had this book for a while and have been walking the Wainwrights for quite a few years. I thought it was time to 'bag' them, put them on iPhoto and the like.

I have attempted a number of the routes shown in this book and the book is lacking in many aspects. It gives mention of paths/stiles that do not exist (and no grid-references to be certain). There are areas that you are certain would be deemed as trespass and some, I believe, could be downright dangerous due to the choice of path (going up Great Gable, for example).

This book is now showing its age. In the days of internet and GPS more information should be given. I have relegated this book to give an idea of the walks and then do my own research with maps to back up the routes or modify them into something that is more useful. After doing 'An Elterwater Excursion' - fighting my way through 6' bracken for a chunk of it, possibly due to not finding the stile that didn't exist - I then threw the book to one side and planned my own route up Grey Knotts/Brandreth/Great Gable/Green Gable/Base Brown in a loop. My route was decidedly nicer and achieved the same result!

And no, I don't think I'm related, though we have the same passion!
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on 23 June 2012
A good easy to follow book enabling people like me keen walkers to complete all of the wainwrights over a shorter set of walks which makes it far more achievable as like many others access to the lake district cannot be visited on a either a weekly or monthly basis due to distance and family commitments.
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on 23 June 2014
Here's a concise and well thought-out guide to the Wainwright fells strung together in just 36 walks or up to 62 if you opt for the two day alternatives in their entirety. It's laid out in the order of the pictorial guides and you'll need those guides plus a good set of maps to make sense of the route descriptions and skimpy sketch maps. In truth, some of the more obscure fells eg Wansfell and Sour Howes need the help of a handheld GPS if you are to be sure where the referenced summits actually are when you are scratching your head on the fell. The occasional route has sections which are very difficult to follow (eg valley descent from Sallows and the approach to Gowbarrow fell), but that is all part of the romance of fell walking and work-arounds are easily crafted. Be prepared too for locked gates on some sections and a barbed wire fence on Little Mell Fell. I find the timings realistic, although they allow only for short rest breaks, ie a ramble rather than an amble. THe publisher claims that reprints are corrected and revised , although that appears to be a triumph of hope over reality.

All-in-all it does the job if you are well prepared and researched...and flexible on the day.
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