Having lived in London for nearly 20 years, Peter Burgess was inspired to draw his own map after musing over the fact that the seven colours of Wainwright's pictorial guides, incorporated with his '214' fells, could be used on a map drawn in the style of Harry Beck's iconic tube map from the 1930s. With his background in geography Peter realised he could reinterpret the fells in a new and entirely original way. So it was that each of the seven colours from the books became the colour for seven 'tube' lines on this new interpretation of the Lakeland fells.
Examining the underground maps in tube carriages on hundreds of journeys into London down the years, Peter realised he could manipulate a topological map to emulate the characteristics of a transport map featuring Lakeland's fells. Of course, the map is not intended nor is it designed for navigation. At the very least Tubular Fells is an aid memoir for the 214 fells that Alfred Wainwright arbitrarily identified and described in his now celebrated pictorial guides. Like Harry Beck's creation from 1931, AW's graphical works featuring the Lake District landscape are instantly recognisable. The two men should be remembered for what they were, the creators of some of the 20th centuries most iconic cartographic and graphic art.
Beyond the fells, 17 valley lakes are included on 'Tubular Fells' which of course gives the Lake District its name, as well as labels identifying other locations that neatly complete the map for the purposes of interest and design. Along with special symbols for boat services; the map also incorporates the Cumbria Way, Dales Way and Coast to Coast walk as well as the wheelchair access route ascending Latrigg, just as is depicted on many stations on the London tube. As it was appropriate and room allowed, the famous Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway has been included - one real railway line in an otherwise fictitious world of transport routes.
For interest and intrigue, other places and features are labelled, such as the ski tow on Raise, Jos Naylor's Cairn (a construction built by one of Lakeland's most famous fellrunners) and other interesting points like the Lingy Hut, which is known to some who explore the Northern Fells. The addition of these labels adds to the intrigue and lends itself to an interesting investigation of the map as you discover what's been included, or excluded. You might in fact disagree with the cartographer's choices and he'd be very keen to hear about your own opinions. He might even include your suggestions in future updates, so do get in touch.
There can be no doubt that at the minimum, 'Tubular Fells' is an interesting and unusual map which will have you engrossed for hours. At the very best, the map is an astonishing piece of art in its own right and will keep your focus as a point of reference for years to come.
To the Lake District aficionado it is a must purchase, perhaps as a reward for the conquest of the '214' fells or as a gift for someone who has completed this similar feat. For those of you less familiar with the fells, it is an exciting way to learn about the region and of course for those of you with even the slightest interest in Alfred Wainwright or, of course, Harry Beck, then Tubular Fells really fits the bill. It will make a surprising and unusual souvenir after any visit to the Lake District. To corrupt the words of AW slightly, "This is to announce the publication of a map that is quite out of the ordinary. Primarily it is a map for fellwalkers, for those who know the fells intimately and for those who know them but little. It is a map for all lovers of Lakeland. It is a map for collectors of unusual maps." I really do hope you agree.