Wainwright Bagging – The Southern Fells
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Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
“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.
- Follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright exploring some of his favourite fells
- Bag all of the summits in his Southern Fells Pictorial Guide
- Enjoy challenging walking and a fantastic sense of achievement
Great reasons to join us
- 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
As an historic National Trust property, Monk Coniston is full of romantic, gothic-style charm. With a most attractive Lake District setting, it is well suited to a relaxing holiday. A perfect holiday whether it's walking or leisure you seek in this wonderful part of the country.
Monk Coniston has 33 bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the adjoining cottage and counting house.
Choose your room
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Dining room with lake views
|• Range of board games and books
• Free WiFi is available in some public rooms
• Our traditional Lakeland barn can be used for dancing, or as a games room
|• Large garden with views down to the lake
• Putting green and croquet lawn
• The National Trust maintains a collection of rare trees in the grounds
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board with breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
This itinerary may be subject to change, depending on walking conditions during the week. Please note this is an extremely challenging week of fell walking, suited to experienced fell walkers.
Day 1: arrival day
Day 2: Scafell, Eskdale, and Wastwater
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. 12 miles (19km), with 4,400ft (1,320m) of ascent, and 4,600ft (1400m) of descent.
Day 3: The Langdale Peaks and more
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. 10.5 miles (17km), with 3,700ft (1,140m) of ascent, and 4,100ft (1,260m) of descent.
Day 4: The lower fells of Lingmoor, Holme Fell and Black Fell
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. 11 miles (17.5km),with 2,400ft (720m) of ascent, and 2,900ft (870m) of descent.
Day 5: The Borrowdale peaks and Scafell Pike
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 Hawse. 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 to the main path. We 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. 9.5 miles (15.5km), with 4,050ft (1,240m) of ascent, and 4,150ft (1,280m) of descent.
Day 6: Harter Fell and the outlying peaks
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. 10 miles (16km), with 2,650ft (820m) of ascent, and 3,650ft (1120m) of descent.
Day 7: The grand finale - the Coniston peaks
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 Coniston Old Man, 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. 13.5 miles (22km),with 4,450ft (1,360m) of ascent, and 4,550ft (1,400m) of descent.
Having completed 28 of Wainwright's Southern Fells, we can spend the evening celebrating our remarkable achievement.
Discover the Lake District
Monk Coniston is an imposing Gothic property leased from the National Trust and set in 8 acres of grounds, including a restored walled garden and the impressive arboretum. Some particularly impressive specimens, including a giant sequoia (the largest tree in the world) and the wollemi pine can be explored on the Monk Coniston Tree Trail.
Views from the property offer breathtaking glimpses of Coniston Water and the surrounding mountains.
Coniston village is about one mile away – there is a direct path from the house to the village. Here you’ll find a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a Barclays Bank (open 3 times a week). A wider range of facilities is available in Ambleside, the nearest town, about 8 miles away. The Ruskin Museum is also well worth a visit - find out more about the lake's connections to Donald Campbell and Arthur Ramsome. www.ruskinmuseum.com
During your visit to Monk Coniston you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Steam Yacht Gondola
First cruising Coniston Water 150 years ago, the restored gondola is now operated by the National Trust, stopping at the Monk Coniston jetty at the bottom of the meadow below the house before gliding across the lake, calling at Coniston village and Brantwood House. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Ride ‘L’al Ratty’ a highly scenic narrow gauge railway which runs from the coast at Ravenglass along beautiful Eskdale. You could combine a visit with a walk over Muncaster Fell, or to Stanley Gill waterfall. www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk
Just a couple of miles from Monk Coniston, John Ruskin's former home commands superb views over the lake. www.brantwood.org.uk
A short walk from the Country House, this man-made water was created by Monk Coniston’s resident owner, James Garth Marshall in 1865, as he continued to develop the estate and expand his pleasure grounds. He built a dam to flood the area, amalgamating several smaller tarns, before planting the shores and islands with new woodlands and specimen trees.
Nearby Grizedale Forest is ideal for mountain biking and also has a popular sculpture trail. You can also experience the Go Ape! high-ropes course – a great option for active teenagers. www.forestry.gov.uk/grizedale
Visit this stately home, famous for its magnificent formal garden and topiary displays. www.levenshall.co.uk
Grasmere is about 30 minutes’ drive from Monk Coniston and is famous for its connections with William Wordsworth. The poet’s homes at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount can be visited, the former of which includes the Wordsworth Museum. www.wordsworth.org.uk
Take a cruise along the length of Windermere - England's largest lake. Ferries connect Ambleside in the north to Bowness and Lakeside in the south, where you can connect with the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk, www.lakesiderailway.co.uk
Gondola image ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris
Travel to Conistonwater
Our address is: Monk Coniston, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AQ
The nearest train station is at Windermere. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 13 mile journey from Windermere railway station takes approximately 30 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £27. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Monk Coniston Manager.
From Windermere station you can catch the 505 bus direct to Monk Coniston - the bus stop is right outside our Country House. Journey time is around 50 minutes. For bus times see www.traveline.info
From Ambleside take the A593 signposted to Coniston. Turn sharp left over a narrow bridge, then after half a mile turn left onto the B5286, signposted to Hawkshead. About 3 miles along this road, and just before Hawkshead, turn right onto the B5285, signposted to Coniston. Follow this road over Hawkshead Hill. The road descends then goes around a 180° bend to the left. The entrance to Monk Coniston is on the left about 100yds after the bend. There is car parking available within the grounds.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests the most convenient option is to book a flight to Manchester Airport. There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Oxenholme - this is straightforward journey - allow 1½ hours to Oxenholme. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Oxenholme station you can complete the journey to Monk Coniston by bus or taxi (see above).
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 4 hours to reach Oxenholme. From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. Next take the Underground train to London Euston. Finally the main line train from London Euston to Oxenholme takes 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Sandy has been leading for HF Holidays since 2002, and loves nothing more than being in the mountains, and sharing her enthusiasm and love of the outdoors with guests.
Sandy has led many walking holidays in the UK and Europe, as well as further afield in Patagonia, Nepal, Bhutan and New Zealand, all of which have helped to feed her passion for the mountains. Sandy has also led cycling holidays for HF Holidays in the UK and Europe, and her love of mountains also extends to cycling over them!
However, one of Sandy's great passions is closer to home - the Lake District. Sandy has completed all the Wainwrights, and has walked most of them many times over, with the high mountains of the Southern Fells being her favourite.
When not leading for HF Holidays Sandy loves to spend her time walking, cycling, rowing, sea- kayaking, cross country skiing - and of course, as much time as possible in the Lake District.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person