Scrambles in the Lake District - Volumes 1 & 2


Title: Scrambles in the Lake District - Volumes 1 & 2
Author: Brian Evans
Publisher: Cicerone Press - 2005
Price: £12.00 each

Review of two new scrambling guidebooks for the English Lake District


Scrambles in Lake District - Volume 2 North
© Cicerone

Based on the original 20 year old classics ‘Scrambles in the Lake District’ and ‘More Scrambles in the Lake District’, these two guides have been fully re-printed and combined to form the two-volume ‘Scrambles in the Lake District’.

Where as the originals each covered the entire Lake District, the two new volumes have been logically split north and south. Volume 1 covers the southern fells (Langdale, Coniston, Duddon, Eskdale, Longsleddale and Kentmere) and volume 2 covers their northern neighbours (Wasdale, Ennerdale and Buttermere, Borrowdale, Thirlmere, Patterdale, Mardale and Swindale).

With over 200 scrambles in all the grade ranges there are more than enough to keep a regular visitor to the Lakes going for years. Owners of the original two volumes (of which I am one) may think, why should I buy two new guides which contain just same information? It’s a valid question but on delving into the books you will see there is much more to these than a re-organisation and new cover.

Scrambles in Lake District - Volume 2 North
© Cicerone

All of the routes have been updated with new photography and maps. Some of the photos looked very dated in the original guidebook, with a lot in black and white. While a few of the originals remain, there are plenty of new ones and all are in colour. The maps have also been updated using a style similar to other Cicerone guidebooks that readers will be familiar with. No computer generated or photographic topos in these guidebooks. Many of the original topo sketches by the author have been retained, with the addition of colour labels and arrows to add clarity. This is a nice touch and it is good to see that the editor has not felt the need to replace what are already excellent topos with fancy imagery.

Some of the less popular routes from the previous volumes have been dropped and some new routes have been added. The other key difference is the introduction of a 1-4 grading system, as apposed to the existing 1-3 and 3s that most people are familiar with. I’m not so sure about this as I felt the other system works OK and was consistent with all other guides. Time will tell and it may be that other guides follow suit but personally I prefer the existing grading system.

As with all Cicerone guides, there is extensive background information at the beginning of the book including an overview of the different kinds of routes and techniques. It’s good to see that a lot of attention has been paid to the environment with sections on access and conservation and the environmental impact of gill scrambling.

These guides retain all the quality of the originals, the addition of extensive colour photography and enhanced maps mean that they are an excellent addition to anybody’s collection. The more logical split of the routes into two separate north and south volumes and the addition of some new routes mean that if your old editions are looking a little tired, then I would recommend you consider purchasing these at the earliest opportunity.

The guidebooks can be purchased directly from Cicerone for £12.00 each.

Review written by Giles Thurston on April 01, 2007


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