Sunday 25 June 2017

Fellbound's Tour in the Lakes Michaelmastide 2017

Many years ago I received as a gift a coffee table book, 'Wainwright's Tour in the Lake District, Whitsuntide 1931'.

The book describes a week long circular tour of the Lake District, devised by Mr Alfred Misogynist-Miseryguts himself. He planned to do the walk with some of his pals from Blackburn, staying at farmhouses and bed and breakfasts en route. Not that Wainwright would have used the expression 'en route'. Not keen on foreigners was Alf. Never went abroad, if you discount Yorkshire that is, and never ate foreign food.  As it happened, his plan was too ambitious for them and they never completed the walk. The book may no longer be in print, but I see that it is available second hand on Amazon from just a couple of quid. It's worth a look, not least to see his marvelously written handwritten plans of the route.

As a Lake District obsessive I have, for many years, thought it would be a good thing to do something similar. Thus, I have recently sketched out a 10 day circular backpack of the Lakes, which I fancy doing later this year. I describe it below, and welcome any comments and suggestions for improvement from readers who know the Lake District well.

In passing, it is worth commenting that despite the oft mentioned compactness of the Lake District, my 10 day itinerary hardly scratches the map, and leaves many wonderful parts completely untouched, including the entire Northern Fells, much of the central area and so on. However, having climbed all 214 of the Wainwrights at least once, almost all twice, and some 20 times or more, I am happy to limit my ambitions for the walk. It does not need to be a peak bagging exercise.

Fellbound's Tour of the Lake District, Michaelmastide 2017
Some larger scale maps of the route feature at the bottom of this post, together with a table showing distances and so on. The plan is to tackle the walk this Autumn if I can create the space in my diary. This is rather tight for reasons too boring to mention. I hope to camp out every night, mainly wild camps, but staying on a few commercial campsites when necessary. If the full 10 days is not available then I have an option of doing a semi-circular trek from Windermere to Keswick taking either 3 or 7 days, depending on whether I take the clockwise or anti-clockwise version of the full route.

When I finished my initial sketch of the route my first concern became the lack of resupply points on the western section -  potentially requiring seven days of food to be carried, something which I am not really prepared to do. A possible solution is to send a food parcel to the camp site at Boot if the manager there is prepared to allow this. I have not mapped out foul weather alternative days, but a quick look at the map suggests that these are easily available for each day that my main plan takes me up high.

Ascent (m)
Est Time

Windermere to Baystones / Wansfell Pike
4h 35m
Baystones (poss add Sour Howes and Sallows

Baystones to Greenburn Beck
5h 40m

Greenburn Beck to Boot
9h 25m
Great Carrs, Swirl How, Old Man, Dow Crag etc

Boot to Wasdale Head
6h 40m
Irton Fell, Whin Rigg, Illgill Head

Wasdale Head to nr Starling Dodd
7h 55m
High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike

Starling Dodd to Grasmoor
7h 40m
Great Borne, Whiteless Pike, Wandope, Grasmoor

Grasmoor to Keswick
4h 55m
Eel Crag, Sail, Outerside, Barrow

Keswick to nr Watson’s Dodd
7h 05m
Clough Head, Great Dodd, Watson’s Dodd

Watson’s Dodd to Brother’s Water
7h 15m
Stybarrow Dodd, Raise, Whiteside, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike, Dollywagon Pike, Fairfield, Hart Crag

Brother’s Water to Windermere
7h 40m
Thornthwaite Beacon

I now have to sort out some dates to put this plan into fruition. I also need to arrange some decent weather and make plans for the dog, as I will not be taking him with me. Frankly, I do not want the extra weight that would entail, or the extra responsibility of looking after him, nor do I want to have to leave him outside the shops in Keswick or Ambleside when I am buying food.

And one final thought. A ten day backpack? Sounds like a good excuse to buy any new gear that I might possibly need. Happy smiley face, cheeky winky face.

Days 1 to 3
Day 4 and part day 5
Day 5 continued to part day 9
Day 9 continued and part day 10 (which finishes in Windermere)


  1. If you need it I can more than likely have a food drop address for you in the Duddon valley. Seathwaite to be more precise.

    1. Hi Alan. That's very useful to know thanks. When I've got dates sorted I will get back to you if I still have a problem.

  2. That's a really interesting plan, I'd not heard of the book until reading this.
    20+ years ago I came across a copy of Uncle Alf's 'A Pennine Journey' (which I annoyingly loaned to someone - the book hasn't been seen again) and I'm looking at that route as an alternative to the PW.
    I look forward to reading your report on your trip, with or without doggy.

  3. Thanks JJ. Definitely without doggy but I may have a human companion with me as at least one fellow walker I know has been silly enough to say he may tag along.