“Wainwright Bagging” has become a popular challenge over the years. If you haven’t heard of it, it involves climbing to the top of all 214 Cumbrian fells that author Alfred Wainwright described in his famous walking guides. It’s an amazing way to see different parts of the Lake District and to challenge yourself to get to know the mountains.
If you’re starting out, though, you perhaps don’t want to be reaching for the highest heights right away. Wainwrights such as England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, and the infamous ridge of Helvellyn can be left for another day. For now, why not warm up and ease yourself into it with these easy Wainwright walks? They’re the perfect Lake District walks for beginners!
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The easiest of the easy Wainwrights, Latrigg is a fantastic place to start your bagging journey, or even somewhere to enjoy an easy evening stroll! Just outside Keswick, you can walk from the town directly, or make things even simpler for yourself and park halfway up the mountain!
Read our full Latrigg walking guide.
Castle Crag, Borrowdale
At just 300 metres, Castle Crag is the smallest Wainwright and makes for a pleasant and simple walk, with a gradual slope and clear path most of the way up. There’s a harder and much steeper section to the peak, which climbs up a loose stone path and won’t be suitable for everyone. However, the main path that takes you on a loop back to your starting point is a lovely walk and continues to be very easy. We won’t tell if you want to skip the peak!
If you choose this route, don’t forget to stop off at the hermit caves where adventurer Millican Dalton lived for many years.
Read our guide to this Castle Crag walk.
Orrest Head, Windermere
Orrest Head holds a particularly special place in the repertoire of any Wainwright Bagger. This is the spot where the great man himself is said to have first fallen in love with the area. It also happens to be one of the easiest mountains to climb in the Lake District!
In 1930, a 23-year-old Alfred Wainwright first visited the Lakes. A walk up Orrest Head, and the spectacular open views that greeted him at the top were to be life-changing for the young man. He eventually moved to Kendal, just outside the national park, and began his life’s work. And aren’t we glad about that?
So, for your own dose of inspiration, Orrest Head is a must-do easy Wainwright walk.
Ling Fell, near Bassenthwaite
There’s a good chance you won’t see anyone on a walk up Ling Fell. This little mountain, tucked away behind its big sister, Sale Fell, makes for an easy walk. You can park in a layby next to your starting point and follow the path around and up to the summit. From here, you’ll have beautiful views not only of Bassenthwaite Lake but of the North Sea and Lorton Vale too.
Take a look at this Ling Fell walking guide.
Rannerdale Knotts, Crummock Water
You may have heard of the famous “hidden” valley of Rannerdale, which bursts with bluebells during the spring. But did you know that there’s a lovely easy mountain walk above it? The sharp rise of Rannerdale Knotts, as viewed from the road, looks intimidating, but don’t be put off! Instead, head into the valley and follow the path around the mountain and up. This way, the route is longer but much more gradual, and you’ll be delighted with the view of three lakes (Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater), as well as the distant sea. You can head down the way you came or take the more challenging route down some steep rough-hewn steps.
Loughrigg Fell, Ambleside
Photo credit: Stuart Holmes
This one’s good to climb from either Ambleside or Rydal, and there’s the option of a longer 6-mile circular route if you can manage it. However, if you’d like a quick up-and-down-again route to walk off your breakfast, then this one’s easy peasy! Wainwright said of Loughrigg Fell “no ascent is more repaying for the small labour involved.” That means lots of beautiful scenery for minimal effort. Perfect!
You can expect magnificent views, patches of woodland and easy grassy paths. It makes for a beautiful walk that will be manageable for most.
Hallin Fell, Ullswater
Right on the shores of beautiful Ullswater, you would expect Hallin Fell to be a top spot for walkers visiting the area. However, its location is a little distant from the busiest areas so you can expect a pretty quiet experience away from the crowds. The twisting, narrow drive to this fell is part of the reason it’s a less-visited area, so you should be confident on the roads. Or why not hop on an Ullswater Steamer instead and save yourself the worry?
The paths are easy to follow and the view from the top opens up with Ullswater below you and the stupendous fells of Martindale behind. It’s certain to inspire you onwards with your Wainwright Bagging journey!
Silver How, Grasmere
This lovely little Wainwright route up Silver How is very convenient for Grasmere. You start in the centre of the village and pass through the grounds of Allan Bank (once home to William Wordsworth and now a National Trust property). The paths are easy to follow, and the only really steep section is towards the top, after which you’ll be presented with views towards the famous Langdale Pikes. The route down is mostly steps, which makes things a little easier on your knees!
Frequently asked questions
A Wainwright is one of 214 mountains in the English Lake District. They are named after the author Alfred Wainwright, who described them all in his famous walking guides. Wainwright Bagging is a popular term used by walkers aiming to summit all 214 peaks.
Latrigg is one of the shortest Wainwright walks available. If you start from the car park halfway to the top, you can reach the summit and get back to your car again in less than half an hour. A walk from the town is also reasonably short, simple to follow, and easy to complete.
There are 214 Wainwright mountains and multiple routes up each. Some are easy and some are very difficult, so pick your route accordingly. Remember that mountain walks will always be more difficult than low-level flat walks.
There is no specific order in which to complete Wainwrights. The author ordered them by region across seven books, and then alphabetically, making Arnison Crag the first and Yewbarrow the last. By height, Scafell Pike is the tallest and Castle Crag is the lowest.
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