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Wainwright Bagging Southern Fells 

Duration: 10 nights
Type: Challenge walks
Walking Grade: 5
from £1,899pp

Conquer all 30 fell tops from Alfred Wainwright’s legendary Southern Fells guidebook on this 11-day adventure. Let one of our experienced leaders guide you through some of the Lake District’s most spectacular landscapes, from the tranquil valley of Langdale and sparkling waters of Coniston, to the rugged peak of Scafell Pike - England’s highest mountain. Discover this incredible slice of the Lakes which Wainwright once described as, ‘a bit of heaven fallen upon the earth’. Experience it for yourself and finish this wonderful walking trip feeling a profound sense of achievement.

What you’ll love

  • Following in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright on some of his favourite fells
  • Bagging all 30 summits in his The Southern Fells guide
  • Challenging walks that provide a huge sense of achievement
  • Admiring panoramic mountain, lake, and river views from fells and peaks 
  • Summiting Scafell Pike, Bowfell, Coniston Old Man, and more
  • Staying in the comfort of our two Lakeland country houses

What’s included

  • Comfortable en-suite accommodation in our country house
  • Cream tea on arrival day
  • Cooked or continental breakfast every morning
  • Daily packed lunches
  • Three-course evening meals, plus tea & coffee
  • Guided walks with experienced HF Holidays Leader
  • All transport to and from walks where necessary 
  • Transfer between Monk Coniston and Derwent Bank

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

You're welcome to check in at Monk Coniston from 4pm onwards. Enjoy a complimentary cream tea on arrival. 

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km) 

Total ascent: 2460 feet (750m) 

We'll warm up by linking the three lowest Southern Fells on a scenic and varied walk. Starting from Blea Tarn, we'll ascend the long ridge to Lingmoor with fine views over the Langdale valley. Dropping down into Little Langdale, we'll pass the Hodge Close quarries before gaining Holme Fell. Our final top, Black Crag, will give us fine views over most of the fells that we'll tackle in the coming days. On our descent back to Monk Coniston, we'll pass the picturesque beauty spot of Tarn Hows. 

Distance: 12.5 miles (20km) 

Total ascent: 4430 feet (1350m) 

This long day will start in beautiful Eskdale, Wainwright's favourite valley in the Southern Fells. We'll get plenty of chance to admire it as we make our way up Scafell via Slight Side. After enjoying the awesome views across to Scafell Pike and beyond, we'll descend to Burnmoor Tarn and start another long pull up to Illgill Head. The crags and screes will fall away into Wastwater, but we'll continue along the ridge line to Whin Rigg before finally descending back into Esdale and the King George pub. 

We'll enjoy a well-deserved rest day. 

Discover more about Monk Coniston and the local area for ideas on how to make the most of your free day. 

Distance: 10.5 miles (17km) 

Total ascent: 3775 feet (1150m) 

Today, we'll tackle the fells on the southern arm of Langdale. Starting from Blea Tarn, it'll be a long haul up to our first summit, Pike-o-Blisco, from where we'll enjoy views over the Langdale and Coniston Fells. We'll descend via Red Tarn, then up onto Cold Pike. Wainwright's infamous "Bad Step" will be just one obstacle as we press on to Crinkle Crags. Over unrelenting rocky terrain, we'll make our way to Three Tarns and a steep clamber onto Bowfell. We'll descend to Ore Gap and push up to Esk Pike. Our descent will be via Angle Tarn, and we'll divert to bag Rossett Pike before eventually joining the Cumbria Way path back to the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub – hopefully in time for a well-earned refreshment. 

Distance: 9 miles (14km)   

Total ascent: 2135 feet (650m) 

Today's walk will link Hard Knott, Harter Fell, and Green Crag. A quick up and down from Hard Knott Pass will gain us our first summit. Harter Fell will lead us above the Duddon Valley, where the terrain is softer and greener than the rocky fells of the previous days. The route to Green Crag will feel remote as we cross the moorland. Eventually, we'll descend into the Duddon to reach the iconic Newfield Arms. 

Distance: 14 miles (22km) 

Total ascent: 4760 feet (1450m) 

The main Coniston fells are relatively tightly grouped, and by staying high, we'll knock them off in one continuous round. It'll make for a long but exhilarating last day in Coniston. From Torver, we'll follow old quarry tracks up to the Walna Scar Pass. A fine ridge walk will take us gradually up to the rocky summit of Dow Crag. We'll descend into Goats Hause and up to the Old Man of Coniston. Following another fine ridge, we'll soon reach Brim Fell, then set our sights on Grey Friar. Looking North, we'll have fine views over the Langdale fells and also the Scafell range. The great views will continue as we reach the lofty summits of Great Carrs and Swirl How at the centre of the Coniston range. A steep and rocky descent of the Prison Band will put us on the path to our final peak, Wetherlam. We'll descend the ridge and miners tracks back to the village, and via the lakeshore path, return to the house. 

This morning, we'll transfer from Monk Coniston to Derwent Bank, where we'll be based for the next 3 nights. The afternoon will be another chance to rest our legs before the final two days of walking. 

Discover more about Derwent Bank and the local area for ideas on how to fill your free time. 

Distance: 8 miles (13km) 

Total ascent: 2790 feet (850m) 

We'll drive into Borrowdale and starting from Seathwaite, follow Grains Gill up into the high fells. We'll cross the head of the valley and ascend Allen Crags for fine views over the grand central peaks and valleys. We'll follow the impressive ridge line back over Glaramara and Rosthwaite Fell to reach our final top, Bessyboot, then descend to Seatoller. 

Distance: 10 miles (16km) 

Total ascent: 3530 feet (1075m) 

We'll finish on a high with a horseshoe that includes Scafell Pike – the highest point in England. Starting out again from Seathwaite, today we'll cross Grains Gill and ascend steeply to the summit of Seathwaite Fell. We'll continue up past Sprinkling Tarn with the huge buttress of Great End ahead of us. We'll gain the lofty summit via Esk Hause and then press on over rocky terrain to Scafell Pike. Descending to the col, we'll do an out and back to Lingmell. We'll descend down the famous Corridor Route to Styhead Tarn and follow Styhead Gill back to Seathwaite. 

We'll enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making our way home from Derwent Bank. 

Monk Coniston

With a desirable address overlooking Coniston Water (the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s 1930 novel, Swallows and Amazons), this characterful Grade II-listed house delights with lakeside and woodland walks from the doorstep, décor that stays true to the period feel, and plenty of Beatrix Potter references. While the children's author and illustrator did not live at the Monk Coniston estate (her beloved home was Hill Top, bought in 1905 with the royalties from The Tale of Peter Rabbit), she campaigned with the National Trust to save it from development. She then purchased the entire estate in 1930 and as the new owner she immediately sold half to the organisation, bequeathing them the other half in her will.


Derwent Bank

Adored by poets, painters, and literary giants for centuries, the Lake District has always had an irresistible pull. It’s no surprise, then, that this country house near the market town of Keswick holds such appeal, not least for its setting in lovely grounds that slope down to the shores of Derwentwater. The location couldn’t be more perfect; to the west is Cat Bells, to the east is Keswick, Walla Crag, and Latrigg, and to the south is the entrance to the Borrowdale valley. There’s a wealth of big-name attractions within easy travelling distance, including Blencathra, Helvellyn, and Ullswater. Also visit-worthy for walkers is Scafell Pike for its well-trodden routes and trails and the 73-mile-long Cumbria Way for its mist-shrouded peaks, glacial valleys, and many excuses for pit-stops and picnics.  



Monk Coniston
Cumbria LA21 8AQ

Tel: +44 (0)1539 441566

By train

The nearest station is Windermere. From Windermere you can take a taxi or bus to Monk Coniston (see below).

The nearest mainline station is Oxenholme which may be more convenient for you, however there are no direct buses from Oxenholme to Monk Coniston. There are frequent trains from Oxenholme to Windermere.

Check National Rail for journey times and routes. 

By taxi

The journey from Windermere train station to Monk Coniston is 10 miles.

From Oxenholme, it’s double that at 23 miles.

For pricing, please contact Ace Taxi directly.

Ace Taxi
You can pre-book a taxi from our recommended company, Ace Taxi*. We recommend booking your taxi at least seven days in advance by contacting:

Tel: +44 (0)1539 445445

A return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the HF Holidays House Manager at Monk Coniston.

*Ace Taxi is not owned or managed by HF Holidays.

By bus

The 505 takes you directly from Windermere station to Monk Coniston, taking about 50 minutes. The stop is right outside Monk Coniston. 

Check Stagecoach for bus times. 

By car

Car parking is available at Monk Coniston.

If travelling from the south, you’ll need to leave the M6 motorway at junction 36. Follow the A590 to Greenodd Roundabout, take the second exit and follow the A5092 before turning right onto the A5084 signposted to Torver. At the T junction turn right onto the A593 and follow into Coniston village. Turn right onto the B5286 and follow for 1.5 miles. The entrance to Monk Coniston will be on your right.

By air

The nearest airport is Manchester International Airport.  

There are direct trains every hour to Oxenholme with the journey time around 90 minutes. From here you can change to Windermere or get a taxi (we recommend pre-booking one).  

National Rail have up-to-date information on times and routes. 

Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but it’ll take you at least four hours to reach Oxenholme. Take the train to London Paddington station, then the London Underground to London Euston where you can connect to the main line train to Oxenholme. The journey from here is 2.5 hours.  

The UK has a famously unpredictable climate so it's best to be prepared for weather that’s sunny one minute and raining the next.  To make it easier, here’s a list of items you should consider packing.   


  • Suitable footwear such as waterproof walking boots that provide ankle support and good grip  
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket 
  • Comfortable clothing (jeans & waterproof capes are not suitable)  
  • Mid-layer(s) to keep you warm. Fleeces make a good choice
  • Waterproof overtrousers  
  • Gloves and a warm hat  
  • Rucksack with waterproof liner 
  • Spotting scope and/or binoculars 
  • Flask for hot drinks   
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)  
  • Sunscreen  
  • UV sunglasses  


  • Several base layers (long-sleeve or short-sleeve)  
  • Cushioned walking socks to avoid blisters  
  • First aid kit, including plasters and insect repellent 
  • Sit mat   
  • Waterproof pouch for valuables  
  • Rubbish bag (remember to always leave no trace)  
  • Wallet/purse  
  • Camera 
  • First-aid kit 

Monk Coniston Calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take an alternative route, or vary the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Holiday prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book

09 May - 19 May 2025

10 nights

Challenge Walk

Single from


Double from

£1,899 pp


£1,899 pp



Trip Notes
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12 Sep - 22 Sep 2025

10 nights

Challenge Walk

Single from


Double from

£1,899 pp


£1,899 pp



Trip Notes
Book Now
10 nights
Challenge walks
Walking Grade:

10 nights from £1,899pp

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