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back to Book Reviews

A. Wainwright's Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells: Book 5 - The Northern Fells
Revised by Chris Jesty
ISBN 0-978-7112-2667-8  Published by Frances Lincoln   

A number of members have wondered whether or not they should buy the revised series of the Pictorial Guides. On the evidence of this latest addition to the series, I would say undoubtedly YES!

The publishers, Frances Lincoln Ltd, advise me that there have been over 2,500 changes in this book. In the forty years since AW wrote The Northern Fells, the area has become much more popular, despite it still being one of the quieter parts of the Lake District, and an abundance of new tracks has appeared.

In every single chapter, I found numerous changes when comparing the new book with its original. Even diminutive Binsey has at least fifteen changes in its eight pages whilst Blencathra notches up a massive thirty-four changes to the text alone. Every ridge route from Great Sca Fell summit has changed (Great Sca Fell 10) and on High Pike 12, one of the original pictures has been removed to make room for a greater amount of text.

Although the new book is excellent in bringing routes and details up to date, it is sad to report that there is a bad mistake on Dodd 11. Where previously AW had written ‘…lived there for a few years in the last century…’, Chris Jesty has changed this, because we are now in the 21st century, to ‘lived there for a few years the nineteenth century’, omitting the word ‘in’ between ‘years’ and ‘the’. Was that AW I heard turning over in his grave?

I still find it difficult to pick out the changes since the typeface used by Frances Lincoln has been so well designed to replicate AW’s writing.

In view of the very large number of amendments to this new version of Book 5, I feel that even if members already have the original guide, it makes practical sense to purchase the revised version if only for the number of route changes. For a modest outlay, walkers can then have the most up-to-date guide to the Northern Fells. Frances Lincoln Ltd. and Chris Jesty are certainly to be congratulated on their endeavours but, please, no more proof-reading errors.

reviewed by John Burland - Member No. 2