Wainwright Memorial Walk


Wainwright memorial plaque, St James Church, Buttermere

Wainwright's Walking Tour in the Lake District

'This tour is a most comprehensive one. Limited as we are by time, it is impossible to visit every corner of Lakeland, yet this programme, if followed conscientiously, will lead us everywhere worth mentioning.

It will be ARDUOUS, but the reward will be well worth the work. It will avoid the tourists, the roads, the picnic-spots.

It is the claim of this programme that EVERY lake, EVERY valley, EVERY mountain, will be seen if not actually visited.'

A. WAINWRIGHT, 1931

The above are AW's words on his proposed walking tour in the Lake District, Whitsuntide 1931. The plan was to do a six day trip around the Lakes with three colleagues from the Borough Treasurer's office in Blackburn where he worked at the time, the route was 102.5 miles long with 38,850ft of ascent. In the end they did not manage the full route having to leave out climbing Blencathra, Grasmoor and Pillar and took seven instead of six days.

Anne and I are trying to do the walk during 2007 to mark the centenary of AW's birth, we expect to take more than seven days.

There are a couple of books on the the walk:

  • 'Wainwright's Tour in the Lake District', a coffee table book published in 1993 with photos by Ed Geldard. The book includes an introduction by W.E. Maudsley one of the walkers in 1931. Published by Michael Joseph.
  • The second book is a guide to the walk published in 1998 called 'The Wainwright Memorial Walk'. The guide splits the walk into eleven stages, each with more realistic mileages than the punishing six day schedule set by AW. This does however increase the walk from 102 to nearly 124 miles with the additonal drops back to the valley and returns to the tops at the start of following legs. The six day schedule combines days 2,3 and 4 into one, days 5 and 6 into one, days 7 and 8 into one and days 9 and 10 into one. Again published by Michael Joseph.

AW's proposed route over six days is detailed below along with links to the walks we have undertaken to complete the tour.

A Wainwright's Itinerary

Day 1: Windermere to Patterdale

RouteTime (hours)MileageAscent (ft)
Orrest Head 0.25 0.50 400
Windermere Reservoir (Dubbs Reservoir) 0.75 2.25 550
Garburn Pass (summit) 2.00 4.50 1,250
Yoke 3.00 6.50 2,100
Ill Bell 3.50 7.25 2,450
Froswick 3.75 8.00 2,650
Thornthwaite Crag 4.25 9.25 3,100
High Street 4.75 10.25 3,400
The Knott 5.00 11.50 3,600
Angle Tarn 5.50 13.50 3,600
Angletarn Pikes 6.00 14.00 3,850
Patterdale 6.50 16.00 3,850

 

Day 2: Patterdale to Keswick

RouteTime (hours)MileageAscent (ft)
Grassthwaite Howe 0.25 0.75 300
Striding Edge 2.00 3.00 2,750
Helvellyn 3.00 4.00 3,118
Helvellyn Lower Man 3.25 4.50 3,150
Raise 3.75 5.75 3,550
Sticks Pass 4.00 6.25 3,550
Stybarrow Dodd 4.25 6.75 3,850
Watson's Dodd 4.50 7.50 3,900
Great Dodd 5.00 8.50 4,150
Calfhow Pike 5.25 9.50 4,200
White Pike 5.75 10.50 4,500
Wallthwaite 7.00 14.25 4,500
Scales 7.25 15.00 4,800
Sharp Edge 9.00 17.00 6,300
Blencathra 10.00 18.00 6,900
Threlkeld 11.50 20.00 6,900
Bus to Keswick      

 

Day 3: Keswick to Buttermere

RouteTime (hours)MileageAscent (ft)
Portinscale 0.25 1.00 50
Catbells 2.00 4.00 1,500
Maiden Moor 2.75 5.00 2,200
Eel Crags (High Spy) 3.25 6.00 2,550
Dalehead Crags 3.50 7.00 2,550
Dale Head 4.00 7.75 3,200
Hindscarth 4.50 9.00 3,400
Robinson 5.25 10.00 4,000
Newlands Hause 6.00 11.00 4,000
Knott Rigg 6.75 11.75 4,700
Ard Crags 7.25 12.75 4,900
Sail 8.00 13.75 5,900
Crag Hill (Eel Crag) 8.50 14.50 6,150
Grasmoor 9.25 15.75 6,550
Wandope 10.00 16.75 6,650
Whiteless Pike 10.50 17.50 6,650
Buttermere 12.00 19.00 6,650

 

Day 4: Buttermere to Wasdale

RouteTime (hours)MileageAscent (ft)
Red Pike (via Far Ruddy Beck) 2.00 2.50 2,479
High Stile 2.50 3.50 2,800
High Crag 3.00 4.50 2,900
Scarth Gap Pass 3.50 5.50 3,000
Haystacks 4.00 6.00 3,450
Blackbeck Tarn 4.50 6.75 3,500
Brandreth 5.25 8.00 4,100
Green Gable 6.00 9.00 4,450
Windy Gap 6.25 9.25 4,450
Great Gable 6.75 9.50 4,950
Kirk Fell 7.50 10.75 5,550
Black Sail Pass 8.00 11.50 5,550
Looking Stead 8.25 12.00 5,750
Pillar 9.00 13.00 6,650
(Detour to Pillar Rock) 9.50 13.50 7,150
Windy Gap 9.75 14.00 7,150
Scoat Fell 10.25 14.75 7,350
Red Pike (Wasdale) 10.75 15.75 7,550
Dore Head 11.25 16.50 7,550
Wasdale Head 12.00 18.00 7,550

 

Day 5: Wasdale to Langdale

RouteTime (hours)MileageAscent (ft)
Brown Tongue 1.00 1.50 1,000
Scafell Pike 2.50 3.50 3,210
(Detour to Mickledore Chasm) 3.50 4.50 3,750
Broad Crag 4.00 5.00 3,900
Great End 4.50 6.00 4,150
Esk Hause 4.75 6.50 4,150
Esk Pike 5.50 7.00 4,550
Ore Gap 5.75 7.50 4,550
Bowfell 6.25 8.00 5,000
Three Tarns 6.50 8.50 5,000
Shelter Crags 6.75 8.75 5,250
Crinkle Crags 7.50 9.25 5,500
Cold Pike 8.00 10.50 5,600
Red Tarn 8.25 11.00 5,600
Pike O' Blisco 9.00 11.50 6,200
Blake Rigg 9.50 12.50 6,300
Wall End 10.50 13.75 6,300
Dungeon Ghyll Hotel (Old) 11.00 14.50 6,300

 

Day 6: Langdale to Windermere

RouteTime (hours)MileageAscent (ft)
Dungeon Ghyll Hotel (New) 0.25 0.75 100
Dungeon Ghyll Force 0.75 1.00 400
Pike of Stickle 2.25 2.50 2,000
Harrison Stickle 3.00 3.25 2,300
Pavey Ark 3.25 3.75 2,300
Sergeant Man 3.75 4.75 2,500
High Raise 4.00 5.50 2,650
Greenup Edge 4.25 6.00 2,650
Calf Crag 4.75 7.00 2,800
Gibson Knott 5.50 8.00 2,850
Helm Crag 6.00 9.00 3,100
Grasmere 7.00 10.50 3,100
Red Bank 7.25 11.50 3,400
Loughrigg Terrace 7.50 12.00 3,400
Pelter Bridge 8.25 13.50 3,400
Ambleside (by-road) 9.00 15.00 3,400
Bus to Windermere      
Walk   Distance Ascent
Sat 11 Aug 2007 - Newlands Hause to Buttermere
Newlands Hause - Knott Rigg - Ard Crags - Sail Pass - Sail - Eel Crag (Crag Hill) - Grasmoor - Wandope - Thirdgill Head Man - Whiteless Edge - Saddle Gate - Whiteless Pike - Whiteless Breast - Buttermere Village
8.00 miles3,150ft
Sat 28 Jul 2007 - Keswick to Newlands Hause
Moot Hall, Keswick - Portinscale - Cumbria Way - Hawes End - Skelgill Bank - Catbells - Hause Gate - Maiden Moor - Blea Crag Cairn - High Spy - Dalehead Tarn - Dale Head - Hindscarth Edge - Hindscarth - Littledale Edge - Robinson - Buttermere Moss - Newlands Hause
11.75 miles4,250ft
Sat 26 May 2007 - Scales to Keswick
Scales - above Mousthwaite Comb - Scales Tarn - Sharp Edge - Blencathra - Hall's Fell Ridge - Gategill - Threlkeld - Keswick Railway footpath - Moot Hall, Keswick
8.25 miles2,250ft
Sat 28 Apr 2007 - Patterdale to Scales
Patterdale - Striding Edge - Helvellyn - Helvellyn Lower Man - White Side - Raise - Sticks Pass - Stybarrow Dodd - Watson's Dodd - Great Dodd - Calfhow Pike - Clough Head - White Pike - Mariel Bridge - Lobbs - Wallthwaite - Scales
15.50 miles4,450ft
Sat 14 Apr 2007 - Windermere to Patterdale
Windermere Railway Station - Orrest Head - Dubbs Reservoir - Dubbs Road - Garburn Road - Garburn Pass - Yoke - Ill Bell - Froswick - Thornthwaite Crag - High Street - Straits of Riggindale - The Knott - Satura Crag - Angle Tarn - Angletarn Pikes - Boredale Hause - Patterdale
15.00 miles3,850ft