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back to Book Reviews

A. Wainwright's Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells: Book 4 - The Southern Fells
Revised by Chris Jesty
Frances Lincoln ISBN 0-7112-2658-6   

The Southern FellsWhen I visited Chris Jesty in Kendal about 18 months ago, just after the publication of the revised Book 2, he told me he was busy working on Book 4. This book is now published.

What is very noticeable about Book 4 is the great number of amendments that have been made. I counted at least 134 amendments during my comparison of the two editions although I may have missed an odd one or two along the way. This equates to an average of 4½ amendments per chapter. The fells with the most amendments are Scafell Pike, Scafell and Wetherlam. Some of these in the Scafell Pike and Scafell chapters relate to the changes in respect of Lord’s Rake but there are also others to do with routes of ascent, the spelling of some names (Hause was changed to Hawse in the Wetherlam chapter – this so everything ties up with the OS spelling), new or removed cairns, paths that have been paved as part of renovation work on the fells and also stream crossing points. Also in the Coniston Old Man chapter there is a great amount of revision, and particularly on page 11, where the safety information has been much revised.

Changes to the forested areas in the Duddon Valley also accounts for a number of changes to the Grey Friar, Harter Fell and Green Crag chapters where route alterations have been necessary due to this work.

Chris Jesty, as well as making the obvious amendments required to bring the book up to date, has taken it upon himself to include a number of new items in several of the chapters. These include an alternative name for Sprinkling Tarn on Allen Crags 3; the comment that Three Tarns should now be ‘better described as two tarns and a puddle’ on Crinkle Crags 11; and a mention about Walpole’s Rogue Herries book at the top of Great End 4. It will be up to individuals to decide whether they approve of this sort of extraneous information going in, and whilst I feel some is relevant, purists may think that AW’s work should not be added to, but merely amended to bring routes and other necessary parts of the guides up to date.

Although there have been so many changes, close scrutiny is again needed, however, to notice the difference between the original and Chris’s revised version. With so many amended routes, it is very helpful that the paths on the revised maps are printed in russet red so they stand out clearly. I have always loved the original covers with AW’s drawings featuring one of the fells in the book (Book 4 being Scafell Crag). However, the cover on this new version is an outstanding picture by Derry Brabbs of the Scafells looking up from Eskdale, which fair takes your breath away; itis an absolutely brilliant piece of photography. The first two revised books now have new photographic covers as well and if anyone bought these with the original covers, they can obtain new ones by sending £1.00 to Peter Linney c/o Kendal Museum, Kendal, LA9 6BT plus an A5 stamped addressed envelope.

In view of the large number of amendments to this new version of Book 4, I feel that even if members already have the original guide, it makes practical sense to purchase the revised version, especially for the number of route changes. For a modest outlay, walkers can then have the most up-to-date guide to the fells. Frances Lincoln Ltd. and Chris Jesty are certainly to be congratulated on their endeavours.

reviewed by John Burland - Member No. 2