Monday, March 9, 2009

Fairfield from Grasmere

Date : 9th March 2009
Wainwrights : Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Fairfield.
Distance : 6.5 miles  (10.5 km)
Height Gained : 2758 feet (841 meters)
Time Taken : 3 hours

The Route : anticlockwise from Grasmere

 Three weeks after my first solo hike I was back in Grasmere, this time with intention of climbing Fairfield. This was a considerably more substantial proposition than Helm Crag, especially as it was still quite wintery on the mountain tops. I set off towards my first fell, Stone Arthur, along a good path. About an hour later I was on the summit of this craggy outcrop which is a Wainwright all by itself but in reality is just a gnarled protuberance on the shoulder of Great Rigg.

The view over Grasmere from early in the walk

Looking over to Helm Crag

The view from Stone Arthur

Looking up the Greenburn valley towards High Raise from Stone Arthur

A straight and steady path then leads up to the summit of Great Rigg itself. At this point the weather took a turn for the worse. Dark clouds appeared and it started snowing. The wind then got up and by the time I reached Fairfield summit I was in a virtual whiteout. The following pictures were taken opportunistically during gaps in the cloud. The video was taken just under the cloud base on the approach to Fairfield. There were no summit views.

Great Rigg is up there somewhere

Looking back to Great Rigg from the path to Fairfield

Looking along the Fairfield Horseshoe to Windermere

The large summit plateau seemed quite disorientating in these poor conditions but I trusted my compass and headed off in easterly direction until a path appeared which wound its way steeply downwards. As I passed through the cloud level I got my first glimpse of Grisedale Tarn which was a fine sight and very reassuring that I was indeed on the right side of the mountain.  

Seat Sandal comes into view while descending from Fairfield

Grisedale Tarn & the Grisedale valley

Looking over Grisedale Tarn to Dollywagon Pike & Striding Edge

Looking back up to Fairfield summit which is now clear !

The Tongue Gill valley and the route back to Grasmere

It was lovely walk back down the Tongue Gill valley to the road. The bad weather passed over as quickly as it came and the sun was shining by the time I got back to the car. I was just unlucky with my timing on this walk. If I had been on Fairfield summit 30 minutes earlier or later I would have enjoyed a summit view. Ah well. A good excuse to come back soon.

Wainwright Count :  6/214

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