Great Mountain Days in the Lake District

50 classic routes exploring the Lakeland Fells

By Mark Richards

An inspirational guidebook to 50 challenging walks on the high fells of the Lake District. The graded circular routes, between 4 and 14 miles in length, cover classic Lakeland summits like Fairfield, Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Blencathra, to the lesser-known High Spy, King's How and Brund Fell.



Suitable all-year round, but winter walking is not for the inexperienced or under-equipped.


Ambleside, Keswick, Patterdale, Seatoller, Boot, Ennerdale, Wasdale Head


Circular routes, between 4 and 14 miles in length. Navigational skills needed. No special equipment required - only the mildest of scrambling will be encountered.
Must See

Must See

From classic summits like Fairfield, Scafell Pike and Blencathra, to the lesser-known High Spy, King's How and Brund Fell, the walks will deepen your knowledge of the whole Lake District.
27 Mar 2008
1 Mar 2017
24.0 x 17.0 x 2.0cm
  • Overview

    This is an inspirational guide to 50 memorable expeditions through the high fells of the Lake District. From the favourite summits of Scafell, Bowfell, Great Gable, the Crinkle Crags, to lesser-known fells, this guide offers only the best walks to explore all that is pure Lakeland.

    Some of the 50 walks described in Great Mountain Days in the Lake District are well known classic challenges – such as Scafell Pike and Esk Pike, or the Gable Girdle – while others approach a favourite mountain from a new angle or combine several in a testing way. Each one can be crammed into a single, long day or backpacked over two to spend a little longer in this rugged and addictive landscape.

    The circular walks are all graded, making this guidebook equally suitable for less experienced walkers looking for new summits and undiscovered areas of the Lake District, as well as experienced walkers looking for a challenging day out on the fells. The walks are categorised between the grades Energetic, Strenuous and Arduous.

    • 50 graded walks throughout the Lake District National Park area
    • routes illustrated with Harvey maps and pictorial route diagrams by artist and outdoor writer, Mark Richards
    • some routes include mild scrambling or long days in rugged country

    This is one title in the Cicerone Great Mountain Days series, which includes Snowdonia, Scotland and the Pennines.

  • Contents
    Foreword by Sir Chris Bonington


    About the guide  
    Caring for the fells  
    Fix the Fells  
    Weather to walk?  
    Before you start 

    The Routes

    1     Lingmoor Fell   
    2     Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle   
    3     Loft Crag and Pike o’Stickle   
    4     Bowfell and Rossett Pike   
    5     Pike o’Blisco and Crinkle Crags   
    6     Wetherlam   
    7     Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man   
    8     Dow Crag, Brim Fell, Swirl How and Grey Friar   
    9     Black Combe   
    10     Harter Fell (Eskdale) and Hard Knott   
    11     Scafell Pike and Esk Pike   
    12     Scafell and Slight Side   
    13     Illgill Head and Whin Rigg   
    14     Great End, Scafell Pike and Lingmell   
    15     Pillar, Scoat Fell, Red Pike and Yewbarrow   
    16     Kirk Fell and Great Gable   
    17     Buckbarrow, Seatallan and Middle Fell   
    18     Crag Fell, Caw Fell and Haycock   
    19     Steeple, Scoat Fell and Pillar   
    20     Mellbreak   
    21     Whiteside, Hopegill Head, Grasmoor, Wandope, Whiteless Pike and Rannerside Knotts   
    22     High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike   
    23     Haystacks   
    24     Fleetwith Pike, Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson   
    25     Green Gable and Great Gable   
    26     Rosthwaite Fell and Glaramara   
    27     Eagle Crag, Sergeant’s Crag, High Raise and Ullscarf   
    28     High Spy, King’s How and Brund Fell   
    29     Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head and Hindscarth   
    30     Robinson, Knott Rigg and Ard Crags   
    31     Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Eel Crag, Sail, Outerside and Barrow   
    32     Ullock Pike, Long Side, Carl Side, Skiddaw Little Man, Skiddaw and Bakestall  
    33     Carrock Fell and High Pike   
    34     Bowscale Fell, Blencathra and Souther Fell   
    35     Blencathra   
    36     Clough Head, Great Dodd, Watson’s Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd and Hart Side   
    37     Raise, White Side and Helvellyn   
    38     Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, Calf Crag and Sergeant Man   
    39     Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar   
    40     Red Screes, Litte Hart Crag, High Pike and Low Pike   
    41     Caudale Moor   
    42     Dove Crag, Hart Crag and Hartsop above How   
    43     Fairfield and St Sunday Crag   
    44     Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and Catstycam   
    45     Birkhouse Moor, Helvellyn, White Side, Raise, Stybarrow Dodd and Sheffield Pike    
    46     Place Fell   
    47     Steel Knotts, High Raise, Rampsgill Head, The Knott, Rest Dodd, Angletarn Pikes and Beda Head   
    48     High Street, Rampsgill Head and Kidsty Pike   
    49     Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag, High Street and Mardale Ill Bell   
    50     Shipman Knotts, Kentmere Pike and Harter Fell (Mardale)   

    Appendix 1:    Concise Walk Reference and Personal Log   
    Appendix 2:    Index of the Fells   
    Appendix 3:    Further Reading
  • Maps
    To aid visualisation the routes are depicted both on line diagrams and customised HARVEY maps (1:40,000). The former give an aerial impression of the walks, while the latter pin-point the key detail covered in the route description. The bold symbols of HARVEY maps make them well suited to outdoor use. HARVEY maps owe their origins to the dynamic sport of orienteering, and it shows. Note that key landmarks that feature on the maps and diagrams appear in bold in the text to help you plot the route.

    Although the guide contains map extracts and diagrams, you are strongly advised to also take with you the relevant sheet map for the route – not only for safety, but also to help you get to know the wider area in which you are walking.

    Six HARVEY Superwalker maps are required for the walks in this guide: Lakeland Central, Lakeland South West, Lakeland South East, Lakeland East, Lakeland West, Lakeland North.

    Alternatively, four Ordnance Survey maps are needed: OL4 North-western area, OL5 North-eastern area, OL6 South-western area, OL7 South-eastern area.
  • Updates
    Receive updates by email
    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction

    Jan 2019

    Page 22: IN CASE OF EMERGENCY The web link to the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA) has changed to

    MAY 2018

    Walk 38 page 215. You need both OS Maps OL6 (South-western) and OL7 (South-eastern) to cover this walk.

    April 2016

    Page 54 (Route 7) Ascent figure in the info box is wrong for this walk. It should read 742m not 555m.

    September 2008

    Page 4 The correct website address for Jon Allison is

    Route 39 Both Map OL5, North-eastern area, and OL7, South-eastern area, are needed to cover this walk.

    Page 180 (Route 31) Start point grid reference is incorrect. It should read GR227237 and features in the Route Information box and also below in column 1, para 1, line 5.

  • Reviews

    Mark Richards was encouraged to produce illustrated guides by the late Alfred Wainwright, with whom he used to stay regularly. The 50 graded walks include famous peaks such as Blencathra, Great Gable, horseshoe ridge routes such as Fairfield and Helvellyn, ridge walks and scrambles and family days out.
    It is illustrated with many fine photographs, most of them by Mark, his pictorial diagrams and map extracts.

    In his forward Sir Chris Bonington writes: “ … Mark’s book reflects an exuberant affection for, and pleasure in, the exploration of the Cumbrian fells. He brings an artistic touch to the creation of a very practical and inspiring guide…”

    (Cumbria Life, June/July 2008)

    It is always a precarious task to write a new guide to classic walks. Mark Richards manages the balancing act pretty well and still manages to put a spin on some well-loved walks in this handsome collection. While old favourites such as the Mosedale and Fairfield Horseshoe are there, others are given an unexpected twist. So the familiar Newlands trio of Dalehead, Hindscarth and Robinson find themselves teamed with Fleetwith Pike and ascended from Buttermere while the Kentmere round is split into two. It may offend some purists and some walks smack ever so slightly of novelty for its on sake but at least it makes for different views and interesting days. Each walk is enthusiastically described with a Harvey’s map and a 3D drawing of the route and some excellent photography.

    (Cumbria, May 2008)

    'It is well said that a knowledge of the fells and mountains provides an alternative map of the terrain, alternative to the road-maps used by motorists and visitors who appreciate landscape more from the valleys and viewpoints that from higher and more strenuous vantage points. Mark Richards is an experienced guide to anyone planning serious walking in the area. His fifty great mountain days capture the high moments (literally and metaphorically) that, for any keen walker, will be unforgettable.

    Richards provides an introductory chapter on gear and emergencies and weather, all fairly standard for such guides : this is after all an area of publishing where there are books for every level of capability and ambition. Because of this, Great Mountain Days will be one of many considered by the serious walker, and by any library and bookstore stocking such books. It stands out because its choice of the fifty routes is spot on, the information and advice really does distill what anyone would need for planning (have maps alongside you at this stage as well as later!), and, as an illustrated introduction to the more graduated walks in the Lakes, it makes an attractive addition to the shelf.

    This is a book for planning and doing yet it does not ignore dreaming and recalling – and reminding readers that you really do want to go back. Responsibly, too, Cicerone are donating part of the profits from this book to the Fix the Fells project (enabled by the Tourism & Conservation Partnership). The trade-offs between conservation and boots continue.'

    (Library Review publication / May 2008)

    '...most of the well-known ridge walks and scrambles are covered, including Scafell Pike, Fairfield, Sharp Edge and Great Gable, but with expert commentary, as well as some stunning colour photos and Harvey's map extracts.

    It's a quality addition to the bookshelves'

    (Walk magazine / Autumn 2008)

  • Other eBook Retailers

    Google Play

    Google Play Books available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

    Google Play


    Kobo eReader devices plus Kobo App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS



    Kindle Reader devices plus Kindle App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

  • Downloads

Mark Richards

In 1980 Mark Richards began his three-part guide to the Peak District for Cicerone Press, and in 1987, with Chris Wright, wrote a guide to walking around the former county of Westmorland. He now lives in Cumbria and, after 14 years' dedicated research, has completed his series of Lakeland Fellranger guides covering the entire region. He has also written a guide to Hadrian's Wall.

View Articles and Books by Mark Richards