The Eastern Fells

On the 9th of November 1952, Alfred Wainwright began an obsessive thirteen-year project, producing seven Pictorial Guides to the Lake District fells. The guides incorporated 214 fells in total. Book one, The Eastern Fells, was published in May 1955 and was two years in the making. Wainwright dedicated it to: “THE MEN OF THE ORDNANCE SURVEY whose maps of Lakeland...

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The Far Eastern Fells

The Far Eastern Fells was published in May 1957 and was dedicated to: “The memory of THE MEN WHO BUILT THE STONE WALLS, which have endured the storms of centuries and remain to this day as monuments to enterprise, perseverance and hard work” Even before The Eastern Fells was published, Wainwright began work on the next book in the series....

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The Central Fells

The Central Fells was published in May 1958 and was dedicated to: “Those eager explorers of the fells THE DOGS OF LAKELAND willing workers and faithful friends, and an essential part of Lakeland life” Wainwright was already concerned that his first two guides were out of date due to man-made changes in the landscape. He made it clear that he...

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The Southern Fells

The Southern Fells was published in April 1960 and was dedicated to: “The hardiest of all fellwalkers THE SHEEP OF LAKELAND the truest lovers of the mountains, their natural homes and providers of their food and shelter” Even before its release, book four was expected to be Wainwright’s biggest-selling Lakeland guide. Not surprisingly, this area features many of Lakeland’s well-loved...

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The Northern Fells

The Northern Fells was published in April 1962 and was dedicated to: “Those who travel alone THE SOLITARY WANDERERS ON THE FELLS who find contentment in the companionship of the mountains and of the creatures of the mountains” Book five was a big seller because Keswick was a popular holiday destination, and most of the routes were based on Keswick...

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The North Western Fells

The North Western Fells was published in March 1964, and Wainwright dedicated it to: “Those unlovely twins MY RIGHT LEG and MY LEFT LEG, staunch supporters that have carried me about for over half a century, enduring much without complaint and never once let me down” Wainwright’s disciples were waiting impatiently for the next book in the series. Readers bombarded Cumbria...

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The Western Fells

The Western Fells was published in April 1966, and Wainwright dedicated it to: “ALL WHO HAVE HELPED ME” Wainwright finally completed his 13-year odyssey in December 1965, a week ahead of schedule. It was a remarkable achievement to compile this incredible body of work during his leisure time. He mapped the entire Lake District whilst holding a critical civic post in...

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Pennine Way Companion

Pennine Way Companion was published in June 1968, and Wainwright dedicated it to: “THE ONE WHO HELPED MOST OF ALL” The whole story behind this guide is quite complex and does not necessarily fit in with the focus of this article, which covers the publishing and printing history. However, there are certain aspects of the story that do need addressing. Wainwright’s...

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A Lakeland Sketchbook

Wainwright retired from his role as Borough Treasurer of Kendal in 1967. He could now focus more time on his passions, walking and writing books. In some personal notes in conclusion at the rear of Wainwright’s final Lakeland guidebook, The Western Fells, he considers a possible new series of books that would highlight the very best of Lakeland in pictures....

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A Second Lakeland Sketchbook

A Second Lakeland Sketchbook was published in November 1970. Wainwright was well into his retirement but showed no signs of slowing down. He worked nine hours a day, seven days a week, on his drawing books. Wainwright married Betty this year, who acted as his chauffeur for many of his book projects. Life was good. The General Printing and Book...

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