Showing posts with label great rigg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label great rigg. Show all posts

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Fairfield Horseshoe in Winter

Date : 3rd February 2012  
Start/Finish : Ambleside
Wainwrights : Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag, Hart Crag,  
  Fairfield, Great Rigg, Heron Pike, Nab Scar   
Distance : 11 Miles 
Height Gained : 3523 feet

The route : anticlockwise from Ambleside

 Horseshoe routes are always an attractive proposition. You walk along a ridge to a summit at the head of a valley and then return via the ridge on the opposite side. They are usually easy to navigate and are a good way of stringing a few fell tops together while spending most of the walk high up and enjoying the views. The Fairfield horseshoe perfectly defines all the characteristics of a great horseshoe route. Fairfield itself is the highest summit of the walk and stands majestically at the head of the Rydal valley around which which the walk circumvents. It is a classic Lakeland walk taking in 8 Wainwright fells and is enjoyed by many thousands of folk from Ambleside every year. It's also a popular route in winter due to its fairly gentle gradient and its wide ridges with good paths throughout. Today was clear & calm but with plenty of snow visible on the higher fells. Perfect weather to tackle this classic walk in winter.

I decided to take the anticlockwise option for the walk today. It doesn't really matter which way round you go but the views of Grasmere and Rydal Water on the way back are a great tonic for tired legs.   

Approaching High Sweden Bridge

How does it not fall down ?

Views over Rydal Water towards the snowy Coniston Fells

Looking back to Windermere in the early morning mist

Looking over the other side of the valley to Heron Pike and Great Rigg

First fell of the day : Low Pike

 For the first half of the walk you are accompanied by a wall which stubbornly follows the high ground along the whole ridge.

Low Pike summit panorama west

Low Pike summit panorama east
The snow line was reached at High Pike and became deeper with height. Thankfully the gradient is easy and the snow was fairly compact.

The onwards route from High Pike

Views eastwards over the Scandale valley
Dove Crag summit panorama west

Dove Crag summit panorama east

Looking back from Dove Crag

Hart Crag panorama south over the whole horseshoe

Hart Crag summit views east along the Dovedale valley

Link Cove looking over to St Sunday Crag & Helvellyn beyond

Striding Edge & Helvellyn from Hart Crag

Views back to Windermere
 Fairfield is the apex of the walk but its wide summit plateau tends to dilute the otherwise impressive views. A wander over to the eastern edge is recommended for great views along the Deepdale valley. 

Fairfield summit

Fairfield summit view east

St Sunday Crag and the Deepdale valley from Fairfield summit

The route back looking down to Great Rigg & Heron Pike

Views over to Seat Sandal, Grisedale Tarn & Helvellyn

Great Rigg summit panorama west

Great Rigg summit panorama east over to the route already trodden

Rydal Beck snaking its way towards Windermere

Crepuscular Rays over Grasmere

In was at this point that the decision to walk the route anti-clockwise was vindicated as the views down to Grasmere in the low sunlight were really quite something. Unfortunately my little pocket camera struggled to capture the dramatic light but perhaps the picture above gives some idea of the stunning scenery which kept me company all the way back down.

Looking back up the Horseshoe from Heron Pike

Heron Pike summit panorama across the whole horseshoe

Past Heron Pike the snow thinned and at Nab Scar had virtually all gone, which was just as well as from here the descent path is quite steep in comparison to rest of the walk.

Nab Scar view of Grasmere

Nab Scar view of Rydal Water and Windermere

Rydal Beck at Rydal Hall


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fairfield & Seat Sandal

Date : 30th May 2009
Wainwrights : Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Fairfield, Seat Sandal
Distance : 6.7 miles (10.8km)
Height Gained : 3168 feet (966 meters)
Time Taken : About 4 hours

The Route : anticlockwise from Grasmere

So far Fairfield had not been kind to me. I had stood on the summit twice in the last few months and seen diddly squat both times. This time I was taking no chances. The forecast was perfect and it was shorts and T-Shirt temperatures. I also had company today in the form of my 11 year cousin-in-law. I wanted to take him on a familiar route which was not too far or too difficult. I also desperately wanted to see a view from Fairfield summit so decided to repeat the walk from a few months ago and maybe tag Seat Sandal on at the end if the little lad could manage it. 

Grasmere from the path up to Stone Arthur

Looking over Stone Arthur to Grasmere

Glimpses of Grisedale Tarn with Seat Sandal left and Helvellyn right

 Despite it being essentially the same route as last time it felt completely different in the bright sunshine. It certainly makes a difference when you can see where you are going! The views I was denied previously on Fairfield summit were now laid out in all directions. Third time lucky.

Fairfield summit view over the Deepdale valley towards St Sunday Crag

Fairfield summit view towards Helvellyn

Glimpses of Ullswater down the Grisedale valley

Great Rigg and views back to Grasmere

Looking over to Seat Sandal

At Grisedale Hause we had a quick debate as to weather Seat Sandal was manageable. He felt fine so on we went up the steep ascent following the tumble down dry stone wall. The summit of Seat Sandal is largely a flat grassy plateau with superb views down the length of Grasmere and over Helm Crag to the Langdales. It would make a great wild camping spot.

Grisedale Tarn

Yours truly on Seat Sandal summit

A distant view of Easedale Tarn from Seat Sandal

Grasmere from Seat Sandal

Thirlmere from Seat Sandal

On the descent path - the little un did good

Wainwright count = 10/214

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