Northern Lake District Wainwright Bagging Holiday – The Central Fells

Skiddaw & Thirlmere in Autumn
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Adventure Walks
Walking Grade: 6
from £949pp £909pp

Wainwright's third fell guide covers the high ground bordered by Borrowdale, Thirlmere, Grasmere, Rydal and Langdale, and includes hills ranging from the iconic mountain classics of the Langdale Pikes to little-explored ridges above Watendlath. In this week, not only do we climb all 27 of Wainwright's named Central Fells, we also explore routes between these well-loved valleys that would be impracticable if travelling by car. The Central Fells feature 8 mountains that are over 2000ft, so a good head for heights is a must on this challenging holiday!

Holiday Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright exploring some of his favourite fells
  • Bag all of the summits in his Central Pictorial Guide
  • Enjoy challenging walking with wonderful views and a great sense of achievement
  • Admire panoramic mountain, lake and river views from fells and peaks
  • Let an experienced walking leader bring classic routes and offbeat areas to life
  • Enjoy magnificent Lake District scenery
  • Stay in a beautiful country house where you can relax and share stories of your day in the evenings

What’s included

  • Great value: all prices include full board en-suite accommodation, a full programme of walks with all transport to and from the walks, and evening activities
  • Great walking: enjoy the challenge of bagging all of the summits in Wainwright’s Central Fells pictorial guide, accompanied by an experienced leader
  • Accommodation: enjoy a lakeside location just two miles from Keswick, with fantastic views of the surrounding fells

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea and take some time to settle in at Derwent Bank and discuss the week’s programme.


Distance: 11 miles (17km)

Total Ascent: 2,750 feet (850m)

An easier start to a spectacular week. We travel to Rydal, and climb lovely Loughrigg Fell. The ridge continues over Silver Howe above Grasmere and onto Blea Rigg above Langdale. Return via our highest point Tarn Crag, and Far Easdale to Grasmere for some well-earned refreshments and the coach home. We'll bag 4 Wainwrights today.


Distance: 13 miles (21km)

Total Ascent: 3,300 feet (1,020m)

We begin with a short coach or Derwentwater launch journey to Lodore, then ascend the beautiful Grange Fell via King's How and above Watendlath Tarn to Great Crag. We climb onto the central spine of the Central Fells at Ullscarf, then continue northwards over the lonely Armboth Fell to High Tove before dropping down to Watendlath hamlet. A chance for a cuppa at the tea shop, then down to Derwentwater and the coach/launch home. A long but adventurous day covering 5 Wainwrights.

Explore the local area of Keswick and Borrowdale or take a well-earned break to enjoy the facilities at Derwent Bank.


Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total Ascent: 2,850 feet (880m)

Journey to Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale, where we start with our first summit of the day, Pike o'Stickle via Loft Crag - high above the magnificent rock scenery of Langdale. Our route continues over Harrison Stickle, the highest of the Langdale Pikes, and via Pavey Ark and Thunacar Knott to Sergeant Man and High Raise, the highest Central Fell. An unusual descent takes us along the Coast-to-Coast path down Greenup Gill to Rosthwaite in Borrowdale and the coach home. We'll cover an impressive 7 Wainwrights today.                                 

Distance: 11½ miles (18.5km)

Total Ascent: 2,900 feet (900m)

We travel back to Rosthwaite to tackle the exciting ascent of lowly Eagle Crag with its fabulous views of Borrowdale. We follow the ridge to Sergeant's Crag, to cross the central spine at Greenup Edge, then along the long ridge to Calf Crag and on to Steel Fell. Our walk back takes us via Gibson Knott to the delightful Helm Crag, from where we descend to Grasmere in time for a pint or a cuppa before our coach home. A day of magnificent rock scenery and delightful views and 6 more Wainwrights.


Distance: 11½ miles (18.5km)

Total Ascent: 2,850 feet (880m)

Our final day is spent high above Thirlmere and Derwentwater. We travel to Dale Bottom and ascend High Rigg, then drop down to the shores of Thirlmere and onto Raven Crag, set impressively above the reservoir dam. A long detour takes us on to High Seat and northwards along a fine ridge to Bleaberry Fell and Walla Crag. We return from Keswick on foot or by the Keswick launch. The final 5 Wainwrights will be ticked off and we can celebrate our achievement back at the house.


Enjoy a final breakfast before making your way home. 

Derwent Bank

Close to Keswick and situated slap bang on the shore of Derwentwater, with the glassy lake on one side and the razor-edged ridges, humpbacked fells and muscular mountains of the Lake District on the other, beautiful Derwent Bank has been entrancing walkers since 1785. Extensive refurbishment and investment have seen this established walkers’ retreat transformed into a beautiful country house hotel perfect for people looking to explore the great outdoors. It’s also perfect for drinking in the views over a glass of something chilled on the terrace. With 41 bedrooms across the main house and garden rooms as well as a rustic ‘pod’ to sleep in, there’s plenty of space, along with a pretty orangery, large lounge and relaxed vibe. The lakeside land encompasses a formal garden, extensive lawns and mature trees. The emphasis is on enjoying the great outdoors and it’s all made super easy with walkers’ facilities from an inspiration point equipped with maps and route ideas to a boot room and drying space – this is the Lakes, after all. With views of Cat Bells and Grizedale Pike, the inspiration for adventure is never far away. Venture out from the house to head to the high peaks such as Scafell Pike, Blencathra and Helvellyn or stick to the lower slopes and lakes; Ullswater, arguably the most beautiful of the Cumbrian lakes, Borrowdale and Buttermere are all within easy reach.



Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s beautifully presented rooms or in the stylish outhouse where there are eight garden rooms with exceptional views for stylish, laid-back Lake District accommodation. In the main house, we’d pick room 12 for the extra space and stunning views over the gardens and Derwentwater. Alternatively, ask for rooms 46, 47, 48 and 49 in the outhouse, all first-floor garden bedrooms with their own glass balcony looking over the ornate formal garden and with views of the lake. There’s easy access to the boot room and orangery too, making these rooms a must to stay in. If you’re after somewhere a little more unusual to stay overnight, there’s a ‘pod’ in the garden that offers extra privacy, sleeps up to four and gives you a great story to take away!

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.


Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, formal garden, extensive garden, putting green, orangery, lounge and board games to borrow

After a day exploring the Lake District, settle in at our country house. Walk the pretty gardens, pause on the pier that juts out in to Derwentwater and look for the boats and ferry that sail on the lake. Try your hand on the putting green or at croquet. Grab a drink and sit on the terrace above the sloping lawns. Indoors, the spectacular orangery with its superb views, is the ideal setting for a bit of peace and quiet, or sink into the sofas in the large, comfortable lounge. Head to the bar for a great local ale and a cracking conversation with fellow guests.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea and cakes served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Derwent Bank is varied and eclectic but has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might tuck in to traditional Cumbrian fare from local river trout with samphire to a duo of local lamb. Look out for Eden Valley brie and red onion tart or Whinlatter Forest wild mushroom risotto. And to cap it all, Cumbrian sticky toffee pudding with English Lakes thunder and lightning ice cream.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

Derwent Bank hotel and Derwent Water area. Stills from drone.

Getting to Derwent Bank

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety is our priority and Britain is famous for its changeable weather, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares)
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers
  • Warm hat and gloves. Gaiters are an optional but useful extra
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner
  • Thermos flask for hot drink
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
26 Jun - 03 Jul 2019 Itinerary £949 £909 Save £40 Per Person Book Now
7 nights
Adventure Walks
Walking Grade:

7 nights from £949pp £909pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

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