The Scafells
A Grand Tour


Scafell Pike's South Summit

This book is a “biography” of England’s highest mountain range - the Scafells in the English Lake District. The story of the landscape and our human engagement with it over centuries is told, not as a chronology, but during a long walking tour where points of interest prompt commentary and storytelling.

It describes the Ordnance Survey’s work in measuring the highest mountains in England and the bizarre story of the naming of Scafell Pike. It retells the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge's own account of his hair-raising descent from Sca Fell and the account by William Wordsworth's sister, Dorothy, of her ascent of Scafell Pike.

 It tells the story of the birth of the sport of rock climbing and the unusual upper-class Victorian gentlemen who enjoyed the physical risk to the bemusement of their hosts in the local Wasdale community. 

Interwoven with these and other stories, is the long history of sheep farming and its environmental legacy, and the pressures on the environment and local communities arising from the large numbers of visitors who are attracted to this ‘must see' mountain area.

Published by Lakeland Views Publishing on 28 June 2023 and on sale at £11.95. For sale in bookshops in Cumbria and online at Cordee, Walking-books, Amazon, Blackwells and Waterstones.


During the Grand Tour a number of defining stories about the Scafells is told. Here are eight of them.