Southern Lake District Wainwright Bagging Holiday - the Southern Fells

Lake District / Cumbria - Wast Water
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Challenge Walks
Walking Grade: 6
from £1,045pp

“All Lakeland is exquisitely beautiful, the Southern Fells just happen to be a bit of heaven fallen upon the earth” said Wainwright. The Southern Fells area of the Lake District is centred between the Langdale Valley to the north, Wastwater to the northwest, and Coniston village and Ambleside to the northeast, and includes England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. Within this area the fells are the highest and grandest in Lakeland, and make for a marvellous week of mountain walking. During the week we will ascend 28 of the 30 Wainwright Southern Fells which feature in Wainwright’s "A pictorial guide to the Lakeland fells, Book 4". As well as ascending the fells, the delightful valleys leading to them offer charming approaches and contrast to the rugged heights of the fells.

Holiday Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright exploring some of his favourite fells
  • Bag the summits in his Southern Fells Pictorial Guide
  • Enjoy challenging walking and a fantastic sense of achievement
  • Head out on guided walks to discover the varied beauty of the South Lakes on foot
  • Let our experienced leaders bring classic routes and hidden gems to life
  • After each walk enjoy fantastic accommodation at Monk Coniston which is beautifully located on the shores of Coniston Water; oozing history and all the home comforts needed after a day adventuring.

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 the summits in Wainwright’s Southern Fells Pictorial Guide, accompanied by an experienced leader
  • Accommodation: enjoy comfortable en-suite rooms at the beautiful National Trust property, Monk Coniston, overlooking Coniston Water

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.

Distance: 12 miles (19km)

Total Ascent: 4,400 feet (1,320m) 

Total Descent: 4,600 feet (1,400m)

After taking the coach to Eskdale we start our walk just beyond the famous Woolpack Inn. We begin our walk along the mile-long south ridge of Scafell which takes us to the first of our 28 Wainwright fells, Slight Side. Continuing along the ridge, with Eskdale falling away below us, we arrive at England’s second highest peak, Scafell. From here we descend steeply towards the delightful Burnmoor Tarn, and then ascend a grassy ridge to walk along the top of the Wastwater screes, taking in our last two peaks of the day, Illgill Head and Whin Rigg. We descend through Miterdale Forest to the charming village of Eskdale Green where we finish our walk for today and take the coach back to Monk Coniston.

Distance: 10½ miles (17km)

Total Ascent: 3,700 feet (1,140m)

Total Descent: 4,100 feet (1,260m)

The coach takes us to just above the Old Dungeon Ghyll in Great Langdale. A long day takes us over six peaks across the valley from the Langdale Pikes. We start on an easy ascending path through craggy terrain which takes us to the characterful, shapely peak of Pike O’Blisco. We continue to the three rocky summits of Cold Pike, the lofty, serrated ridge of Crinkle Crags aptly described by its name, on to noble Bowfell loved by all Lakeland walkers. We descend to Ore Gap and ascend the attractive summit of Esk Pike. Retracing our steps to Ore Gap we descend to the beautiful Angle Tarn. We then take in our last peak of the day, Rossett Pike. From here we descend steeply down Rossett Gill and along an easy section of the Cumbria Way to the Old Dungeon Ghyll where the coach picks us up to take us back to the house.

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Total Ascent: 2,400 feet (720m)

Total Descent: 2,900 feet (870m)

Today we return to the Old Dungeon Ghyll. We start with a short, steep ascent and then take a charming path to the varied and delectable, heather-clad Lingmoor Fell which sits at the heart of the Langdale area. We descend to the peaceful Little Langdale valley. Walking over easy, craggy terrain we continue to two of Lakeland’s lesser fells, Holme Fell and Black Fell, where their charming ruggedness makes up for what they lack in elevation. We finish our day by walking back to Monk Coniston via one of Lakeland’s famous landmarks, Tarn Hows.

Distance: 9½ miles (15.5km)

Total Ascent: 4,050 feet (1,240m)

Total Descent: 4,150 feet (1,280m)

The coach takes us to Strand’s Bridge near Rosthwaite in Borrowdale, where we begin our walk along a pleasant path through the green pastures of the valley for a short distance. We then ascend on a delightful path to the craggy-topped fell of Glaramara. A broad, grassy, undulating ridge continues over our next peak, Allen Crags. From here we descend to Esk Hause. A well-maintained path takes us to towards our next fell, Great End. A short distance from the main path brings us to the summit of Great End where we can hopefully admire the stunning views. We then retrace our steps and continue on an increasingly rocky path to ascend England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. Our next target is Lingmell, so we descend the rocky path from Scafell Pike and take a lovely grassy path to the summit of our final peak for today, Lingmell. We retrace our steps to the main path and descend, steeply in places, crossing over a small stream, to the beautiful grassy pastures of Wasdale to Wasdale Head, where we take the coach back to the house.

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total Ascent: 2,650 feet (820m)

Total Descent: 3,650 feet (1120m)

We take the coach to the top of Hardknott Pass. A short walk and ascent over a grassy path and short scree run takes us to the summit of Hardknott, most notable for its fine views of the Scafells in clear weather. We retrace our steps to Hardknott Pass and continue along the ridge to the beautiful, craggy, pyramidal summit of Harter Fell, with its glorious views of Eskdale and the Duddon valley. After descending from the summit we follow the Eskdale to Duddon path before continuing over heather moorland to the rocky summit of Green Crag. We retrace our steps to the main path, and follow a grassy path by Grassguards Farm, and walking beneath the towering Wallowbarrow Crag to reach the Duddon Valley. A short distance over farmland and through woodland takes us to Seathwaite in the Duddon Valley where we take the coach back to the house.

Distance: 13½ miles (22km)

Total Ascent: 4,450 feet (1,360m)

Total Descent: 4,550 feet (1,400m)

As the Coniston fells are almost entirely separate from the other mountainous parts of Lakeland, they afford a wonderful day’s walk, taking in all the fells which comprise the group. We start our day at Torver walking up the delightful Walna Scar Road to Walna Scar Pass. From here we ascend our first peak, Dow Crag, with its magnificent rock architecture towering above Goat’s Water. We continue to Goat’s Hause and the Old Man of Coniston, our highest point of the day. It’s then on to the whale-backed ridge leading over Brim Fell, up and over Grey Friar, Great Carrs and Swirl How. We descend to Swirl Hause, a fine mountain pass, and then ascend our last peak of the day, Wetherlam, a prominent peak in the area and which, according to Wainwright, ‘rises above the Brathay valley like a giant whale surfacing above waves of lesser hills’. From the summit of Wetherlam we descend along the Lad Stones ridge to the Coppermines valley and Coniston village, from where it is a short walk back to our Country House.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.

Monk Coniston

Wrapped in manicured gardens with stunning views over Coniston Water, Monk Coniston combines country house grandeur and romantic, gothic-style charm with contemporary touches to great effect among the rugged landscapes of the Lake District. Rocky mountains and grassy fells loom all around this handsome home, once owned by Beatrix Potter, and more latterly turned hikers’ hotel and owned by the National Trust. Fell-flecked scenery unfurls from the windows of the bedrooms in the main house, adjoining cottage and counting house. While the setting remains traditional and the grand entrance recalls a traditional era, the interiors have been swept into the present with bold patterns and comfy fabrics. Beyond the house, trails from the doorstep set off to explore the Lake District. Climb famous summits including Bow Fell, the Langdale Pikes and the Old Man of Coniston. Bag a series of Wainwright summits. Alternatively, slip into the beautiful valleys and stroll picturesque lakeside paths in search of secret corners such as Cathedral Cove in Little Langdale.


Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

We are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas. You must wear a face covering by law in public areas in hotels in Scotland. This is mandatory in public spaces; however, face coverings will not be required whilst eating and drinking in the restaurant and bar areas or whilst you are outside our houses. In Wales face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings for the HF Big Pub Quiz. There will be one other evening of entertainment at the start of the week, which will vary depending on the country house that you are staying at. Our Walk Leaders will also be on hand in the bar or lounge for individual or small group walks talks briefings, which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options and ask any questions. Swimming pools will be operated in line with maximum capacities.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.


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

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house. With 32 rooms, Monk Coniston has plenty of space and there’s a range of Classic, Premium and Superior Rooms to choose from. Rooms with a view are well worth the extra spend as you’ll be overlooking the gardens or the lake.  Our favourite is Room 9 on the first floor, which contains some of the original features from when it was first built in 1885, a striking sailboat-patterned wallpaper and opens on to beautiful views of the gardens and fields that slope down to the shore of Coniston Water.

All ‘Classic' rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 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, extensive garden, lounge, bar, Lakeland barn for activities, library and board games to borrow

After a day exploring the Lake District, return to the house. Stroll through the extensive grounds with their putting green and croquet lawn and uncover the hidden walled garden on the hill behind the house. Take a turn around the National Trust nature trail and look out for the fabulous, rare mature trees. Stumble on the small secret folly stood quietly among the bluebells when they’re out and the lush green grass when they’re not. Catch up with fellow guests in the bright and spacious lounge or grab a drink from the airy bar and wander down the garden to the bench overlooking Coniston Water for the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner – you might even spot the restored steam yacht Gondola cruising the five-mile length of the lake. After hours, duck into the converted Lakeland barn with its exposed beams and rustic chandelier for evening activities and skittles.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Food at Monk Coniston is varied with a strong emphasis on the use of seasonal British produce. Our experienced chefs create each dish using only the freshest ingredients and, when in season, use home grown herbs and vegetables taken from our own gardens to give a true taste of the local area.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Monk Coniston

Coniston - External.jpg

Getting to Monk Coniston

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

More Information

Essential Information

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.


  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.


  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

For 2022 departures, please note we are in the process of integrating a new booking system and you may notice some unusual pricing information displayed for a short while as we complete the work. Your patience is appreciated.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
15 Jul - 22 Jul 2022
7 Challenge Walk £1,045 Trip Notes Book Now
7 nights
Challenge Walks
Walking Grade:

7 nights from £1,045pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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