on 29 November 2009
I was directed to the Lake District by the BBC programme with JB which I'm sure every one here will have seen or heard about.
I have developed a kinship with the Lakeland fells over the last 3 years or so and have collected these revised books as they have been released. I use them in conjunction with a deep fascination and amazement of the technology behind GPS and Google earth, electronic mapping and also web sites where you can download pre-packaged walking routes, some times complete with uploadable GPS waypoints.
Wainwright is of course still the definitive reference for all things Lakeland Fell related. Were you may wish to invest in additional research or money is the actual route plans them selves. There are a great many classic well trodden routes in the Lakes and these books do not necessary give one an easy route off the page for a days walk. They make excellent reading as back ground study for the routes though. Indeed if ones objective is simply to climb Great Gable and explore the myriad alternatives and nooks and crannies then this is your book.
All to often when out walking on the fells you will see large groups of people all trudging up the same path to the same meeting place on the top of a fell. The expenditure of half an hour with this book and a little forethought and planning could easily turn a great day out into a spiritually uplifting , exciting adventure away from the masses where one can enjoy their own space. All that is needed is an understanding of where any main 'touristy' lines of attack reside and then a little work with the WR books.
So far as this book in particular goes, it is pretty much on par with the others in the series, Wast water and Wasdale head are probably a tad too much effort for the main accommodation areas of the Lakes, so it can be a bit quieter around these areas. You will also find that those who do make the effort to get this far ( upto 2hrs drive from Ambleside for example ) will often be heading up ScaFell Pike or Gable..
A great part of this book and all the others in the series is the summit panoramas. If one is fortunate enough to find oneself on top of any particular fell when there is a clear day, one inevitably wishes to put a name to all the visible peeks. I suggest a photo copy of the panoramas to prevent having to take the book itself, assuming you are using a printed out route ?
So far as the revised edition goes, I think the revised editions have undeniably added to the usefulness of the books. Assuming one's main reason for buying this book is as an informational tool to assist in planning a days walk obviously. There will of course be some who prefer the 'original' as intended. I have one of the original editions which I bought before the revised one was published so I can compare them. I would say that the updates are very well considered, made in such a way as to have limited visual impact to the general style of the book ( you can not differentiate the hand written lettering for example ) and of course they are highly useful. Missing or altered paths and fences , car parks, changed features.. the odd demolished land mark or rebuilt cairn.. it makes a big difference, I have a lot of faith in the revisions.
In summary the sheer amount of detail, care and loving attention that has gone into these book, means it has got to be money well spent. If you like reading about what's out there in the Fells, you want to wet your appetite for adventure, or if you want to explorer a new way to get to the top of your favourite then this is to be recommended. If you just want to do a Sunday afternoon jaunt from the car park or join a gang of your mates to race up the shortest route to Sca fell pike and be back , showered and in the pub by 5pm then I would say don't bother..
on 11 May 2012
An excellent updated copy of Alfred Wainwrights the Western fells,Chris Jesty has done a great job on this revised edition which was way over due i like the way he has made the paths stand out more in red much easier to see at a glance i will look forward to buying the rest of the updated versions,well done Chris,Thanks.