My favourite Lake District fell? How on earth do you decide?

Published 18 October 2020

The top of Walla Crag. A contender for best fell? Maybe.

A few weeks ago I spent six days in the Lake District with nothing much to do other than climb fells. The results of that trip will appear here somewhere when I have a) sorted out the photographs, and b) written up the extensive notes I have written.

When I got back I was idly chatting with my other half, and she asked a question. What was my favourite fell?

And I sat there, stumped. Because how do you decide?

There’s a few problems with even trying. There are 214 Wainwrights, and many of them blur together.

What I knew I could do is split those I have visited into two groups.

  1. fells I wouldn’t bother visiting again
  2. fells I would like to visit again

I thought some more. Of the second group, why would I go back? Well there’s a couple of reasons, that one or more of the following criteria apply to:

  1. because I really enjoyed the walk
  2. because it had a great view
  3. because I’d been up there on a cloudy day, and I strongly suspected it would be a great if I went in the right weather
  4. because there was another route up that sounded better than the one I’d taken.

When it comes to it, it’s the first three that will be the deciding factors here. Now I haven’t done a comprehensive list based on the above criteria. And nor will I just yet. But there’s some obvious candidates springing in my mind.

Because I really enjoyed the walk: there’s quite a few contenders here, such as the Langdale Pikes, Black Fell and Holme Fell, and Illgill Head and Whin Rigg.

Because it had a great view: the list here would be huge, but there’s definitely overlap with the above category. But also the fells round the Newlands valley definitely fit in here. In fact anything with a good view of Derwent Water. I’m looking at you Walla Crag.

Because I’d been up there on a cloudy day, and I strongly suspected it would be a great if I went in the right weather: an even bigger list. But recent fell Crinkle Crags, is definitely the biggest one in this group.

I’ve barely done half the Wainwrights, and already I’m struggling to think of a best fell list that doesn’t cover something like 15% of the fells I have done. Just how do you decide?

I have a feeling that trying to do so, really is just the route to madness.



18 October 2020 at 12:44 pm

I’ve actually kept a league table over the years and just update it after each trip. Ok that possibly sounds like madness too..

Have your say