Wainwright's Pictorial Guides are, probably, the definitive guidebooks of the Lakeland fells. TIP: If you are planning to do any fell walking, get the updated versions of the Pictorial Guides! Walking with an out of date guidebook can lean you astray, or leave you confused.
For example, Eagle Crag, in Borrowdale can be one of the most challenging climbs. Using the out of date version of the Pictorial guides will have you seeking a wooden gate that is no longer there! This may seem like a minor detail, but it could lead you to conclude that you are on the wrong path and cause you to waste a considerable time looking for a better one. On Eagle Crag's north face, there is only one safe route up, so having an up to date guide book is essential.
Below are brief descriptions of each guide book, along with links to pages containing more details. The Pictorial Guides can be purchased from most book and hiking shops, as well as online from Amazon.
The eastern fells comprise the area north of Ambleside, east of Thirlmere and west of Ullswater. Within this area are large mountains such as Helvellyn and Great Dodd as well as the small, but delightful, Gowbarrow Fell.
The far eastern fells is the easternmost part of the Lake District. It is one of the least commercialized and, therefore, unfrequented areas of the Lakes, and a car is really needed to get to all of this area. Wainwright describes the fells here: "for in the high quality of the scenery and the excellence of the walks they rank with the best"
The Central Fells contain some of the best know and best loved fells in the Lake District. The Langdale Pikes, Eagle Crag and Walla Crag are all in this area. The walking here is fantastic! And, for those who want something to do other than walking, the nearby towns of Grasmere and Ambleside and the many excellent pubs in the Langdale Valley are well worth visiting.
The Southern Fells contain the biggest of them all - Scafell Pike - England's tallest mountain. In addition, there are many beautiful peaks to ascend, such as Bowfell, Crinkle Crags and Pike O'Blisco.
The fells north of Keswick - Skiddaw and Blencathra and a host of others. Excellent walking and climbing, with Keswick being a fine base for visiting these and the North Western fells.
A favourite area - so many popular fells to climb, including Catbells, Castle Crag, Robinson and Hindscarth. Castle Crag is an excellent 'warm up' walk - varied, fantastic views but short enough to do in an hour or two. The Winlatter Forest affords easy access to Winlatter, Lord's Seat and Barf with lovely forest walks leading to easy peaks.
Wainwright may have left the best to last! Wasdale Head is superb - one of the best valley heads anywhere.
The Outlying Fells
Wainwright did not neglect the fells that were outside the 'boundaries' he set for the major peaks. This area comprises, generally, of easier walks.