Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Deepdale Horseshoe from Patterdale

Date : 21st April 2009
Wainwrights : Hartsop Above How, Hart Crag, Fairfield, St Sunday Crag
Distance : 8.9 miles (14.4km)
Height Gained : 3377 feet (1029 meters)
Time Taken : about 5 hours (due to dismal visibility)

The route : anticlockwise from Patterdale

 Having been denied a view on Fairfield last month I decided I might have more luck tackling it from the other side. I didn't. Its a shame because this looked like a great route around one of the quietest and prettiest valleys in the region. Unfortunately though, I walked into clag at about 500 feet on the way up Hartsop Above How and didn't see more than about 50 feet in any direction until halfway down St Sunday Crag 5 hours later. I didn't take a single picture. At this stage I was not yet a Wainwright bagger and so walked right past Birks without even visiting the summit, which is a great excuse to do this walk again in better weather.  

Wainmwright Count : 9/214

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

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Quest Begins : Helm Crag to Calf Crag

Date : 20th Feb 2009
Route : From Grasmere up to Helm Crag, then along the ridge to Gibson Knott & Calf Crag before returning via the far Easedale Valley.
Wainwright's : Helm Crag (the lion and the lamb), Gibson Knott, Calf Crag.
Distance : 7.5 miles  (12.1km)
Height Gained : 2011 feet  (613 Meters)
Time taken : About 3 hours
 I write this post retrospectively in 2014 having decided it would be good idea to document all of the walks and routes in my quest to climb the 214 Wainwright Fells in the Lake District. I have posted, and will continue to publish the posts on the day the walk was done so as to keep everything in chronological order. From early 2012, when I started the blog, the walks were written as I did them, so the details are more thorough. Up until then I am writing from memory so please forgive me if the content seems somewhat sparse.

But first some back story. I had been hill walking for years on & off but always seemed to climb the same handful of fells and never with any variation or sense of purpose. The usual culprits were Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Great Gable & Loughrigg as well as numerous lower level walks in the Lake District. I suppose it was the Julia Bradbury TV series on Wainwright walks that re-sparked my interest and before I knew it I was on Helm Crag summit (AKA the lion and the lamb) on a cold February morning wondering why I had not climbed this fantastic little fell before and being totally mesmerised by the surrounding views. I didn't know what I was looking at though, and other than Loughrigg, I couldn't name any of the fells in sight. I think it was then that I decided I really must familiarise myself more with this amazing region. There was no initial intention to attempt climbing all the Wainwright's. I really just wanted to expand my knowledge of the fells and try to climb the ones which seemed most appealing to me. It was only after I had climbed a dozen or so that idea of tackling all 214 became appealing.

The route : anti-clockwise from Grasmere

 And so I set off on this first hike with a cheep & cheerful camera which I only remembered to use on 4 occasions, the results of which are below. So captivated was I from the whole solo walking experience that I even forgot to take pictures of Helm Crag summit. I had initially intended to walk up Helm Crag and then return the same way but having climbed up there in less than an hour, I really wasn't ready to head back. A quick perusal of the map suggested a route along the ridge over the 'unheard of' Gibson Knott and Calf Crag before joining a well marked path back along the valley to Grasmere. 

Blea Rigg from the path up to Helm Crag

The ridge to Gibson Knott from Helm Crag

Looking back to Helm Crag from Calf Crag

Walking back along the Far Easedale Valley

Like I said, not many pictures. One thing was certain though. I had most definitely been bitten by the fell frolicking bug. The sight of Fairfield dominating the eastern view from Helm Crag had whetted the appetite and that was going to be the next fell to explore.

Wainwright Count 3/214.