PEAK TIME: Richard follows one of Wainwright`s favourite walks to the majestic Place Fell
Alfred Wainwright became synonymous with the Lake District through his illustrated guides. To mark the 80th anniversary of his first visit, RICHARD WEBBER takes on five of his celebrated walks PILLAR Distance: 8 miles
Pillar is likely to "fire the imagination of youthful adventurers", said Wainwright and it doesn't disappoint. Towering above the head of Wast Water, England's deepest lake, the 2,927ft fell is named after a column of rock, popular with climbers, below its north face.
This walk winds up Black Sail Pass to a ridge offering stunning views on either side. Rather than retracing your steps, bag the summits of Scoat Fell and Red Pike by completing a route dubbed "the Mosedale Horseshoe". The path descends to the shore of Wast Water, voted Britain's Best View by ITV viewers. Stay:
Wasdale Head Inn (01946 726229/www.wasdale.com
) is ideally situated in this tranquil p art of the Lake District. Many walks begin here, including to Pillar and Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain. Doubles from £118 per night (two sharing), B&B. Click here now for amazing offers to the Lake District!BLENCATHRA Distance: 5 miles
Wainwright described this northern fell as "a mountain that compels attention, even from those dull people whose eyes are not habitually lifted to the hills".
Minutes from Keswick, it's impossible to miss the imposing grandeur of 2,848ft Blencathra rising high above the village of Threlkeld. The fell is notable for Sharp Edge, the most challenging crest of rock in the Lakes and has various routes to its summit.
Hall's Fell is direct and, at times, a scramble but brings you to within feet of the summit cairn.
Walk along to Blease Fell before returning across the ridge, passing the White Cross, a collection of stones carried to the top by a local man in the Forties in memory of a fell walker who perished on the mountain.
There are various routes down, including Doddick Fell. Grab a photo of Scales Tarn, tucked beneath the shadow of Sharp Edge, en route. Stay:
The Skiddaw (0800 840 1243/ www.skiddawhotel.co.uk
) is a comfortable, family-run hotel in the heart of Keswick with an extensive menu. Doubles from £90 per night (two sharing), B&B. HAYSTACKS Distance: 4.5 miles
A must on any Lakeland itinerary, 1,959ft Haystacks was Wainwright's favourite fell.
He spent many hours sitting alongside Innominate Tarn, remarking: "For a man trying to get a persistent worry out of his mind, the top of Haystacks is a wonderful cure." In keeping w ith his wishes, his ashes were strewn along the tarn's shoreline.
It may not be the highest or grandest mountain around, but Haystacks is an unassuming, tranquil fell squeezed between the loftier Fleetwith Pike and High Crag. This walk is the easiest and quickest route to the summit.
Heading up from Honister Slate Mine, the path weaves its way to the top where, if lucky, you'll find yourself alone to unwind beside the tarn.
To extend the walk, find the path below Innominate Tarn and return to the mine via the fell tops of Brandreth and Grey Knotts. Stay:
Honister Cottage (01900 825011/www.discoverparadigm.com
) in Seatoller is a converted former miner's cottage just down the road from the slate mine.
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Three nights from £600 (sleeps six), self-catering. PLACE FELL Distance: 7 miles
Ullswater, the Lake District's second-largest lake, is many people's favourite. A gracious beauty flanked by high-rising peaks, its eastern shore is overlooked by 2,156ft Place Fell.
This walk begins in the village of Patterdale and crosses Goldrill Bridge before reaching a path climbing the side of the fell, signposted "Boredale Hause and Angle Tarn".
At a crossroads of paths, veer left for a steep climb to the summit. The effort is worth it when you pause to marvel at the panoramic views of the fells.
The path drops down grassy slopes, turning left below High Dodd, following Scalehow Beck off the mountain to the lakeside.
Once down, return to Patterdale along the shores of Ullswater, an undulating path which Wainwright called the "most beautiful and rewarding walk in Lakeland". Stay:
The White Lion Inn (01768 482214/ thewhitelioninnpatterdale.co.uk
) is a traditional, early 19th-century Lakeland pub in Patterdale close to the shores of Ullswater. Doubles from £68 per night (two sharing), B&B. LANGDALE PIKES Distance: 3.5 miles
Wainwright extolled the virtues of this region, enthusing that no mountain profile "arrests and excites the attention more than that of the Langdale Pikes".
This collection of fell tops dominates the skyline for miles and at its heart is 2,145ft Harrison Stickle, one of many highlights of this strenuous walk.
Behind the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel, a path heads steeply up to 50ft-deep Stickle Tarn, a water-filled corrie supplying water to Great Langdale below.
The path hugs the tarn before sweeping behind Pavey Ark, a superior crag boasting a multitude of photo opportunities, as does Harrison Stickle, the ultimate goal on this trek. Views abound and must be savoured before beginning the journey down. Stay:
Croyden House Guesthouse (01539 432209/www.croydenhouseambleside.co.uk
) is set in the pretty town of Ambleside.
Doubles from £55 per night (two sharing), B&B. INFORMATION: The Wainwright Society: 01502 731940/www.wainwright.org.uk. A Pictorial Guide To The Lakeland Fells, by Alfred Wainwright, Books 1-7 (Frances Lincoln, £13.99 each).Cumbria Tourism: 01539 822222/ www.golakes.co.uk