Friday 27th January was Liverpool Trekkers first walk of the year and Fairfield Round in an anti-clockwise direction from Ambleside at 10am was the challenge - 17kms (10.5 miles) with a total ascent of 1,050m. As we leave Low Pike and head for High Pike we are in 4/6 inches of snow and it is not long before we are in near “white-out” conditions and much deeper virgin snow as we make our way over Dove Crag, Hart Crag and on to the massive flat top of Fairfield and at 873m (2,864ft), the highest point of the day. Careful navigation by Lee gets us safely to the top and from here we take a further compass reading to take us to Great Rigg, then Heron Pike and finally Nab Scar; a Wainwright count of eight!
At the back of 5.30pm we are all in The Golden Rule for a well earned pint. Some of the Group are going home while others are staying over for a night out on the town.
After the winter conditions of Friday, Saturday turned out to be a lovely sunny day with such clear visibility. Today the challenge is to get to the top of Loughrigg Fell which proves to be a lovely walk with lots of people on the Fells. It is then a long walk to Silver How, coming back to the start point of Rydal by Grassmere and Rydal Water. Starting at 11am I was back at the car at 4pm after such an enjoyable day.
Sunday was another good walking day – a little colder on higher ground and not such good visibility. Helm Crag was the first Wainwright of the day, “raising so abruptly” from the village of Grassmere. The Fell is affectionately known as “The Lion and The Lamb” and may well be the best known of the Lakeland Fells. The summit is altogether a rather weird and fantastic place. There is a remarkable array of rocks, some upstanding and others fallen and getting to the top of the two towers needs to be done with care. It was then on to Gibson Knott and Calf Crag before making a decision to turn right and head for Steel Fell. It was a steep decent off the Fell down to Mill Bridge and the A591 where my car was parked. Starting off at 10.15am I was back at my car at 2.50pm. This was an exhilarating walk with wonderful views all around and such beauty looking down on Grassmere. Underfoot it was frozen ground and ice and in places deep snow.
Monday morning saw me back again to park at Grassmere Village and today I had my winter boots on and crampons in my rucksack as I hoped to reach as far as High Raise and take in a total of four Wainwrights. My first stop of the day was at noon at Easedale Tarn below the cliffs of Tarn Crag with the Fell fully reflecting in the icy waters of the tarn. From here it was a steep walk up to Raw Pike and then to Blea Rigg my first Wainwright of the day. I was in deep snow and all around was basked in sunshine and such clear visibility – it was a white wilderness with few walkers to be seen. Looking ahead to Sergeant Man I realised this was going to be a demanding route and I was delighted to reach the mountain’s top at 2pm. Two walkers were having a quick lunch in a sheltered spot just below the top and it was ever so cold. For me I was pressing on as I wanted to get to the trig point on the top of High Raise and I was there at 2.20pm. The views were wonderful. I was back on the top of Sergeant Man at 2.40pm for a second time and decided that my best way back was to head for Tarn Crag and continue on the ridge back to Grassmere. This was ever such an enjoyable part of the day with the sun on my back and casting massive shadows of my profile across the deep snow I was making my way through. By 3.40pm I was on the top of Tarn Crag my last Wainwright of the day. By the time I reached the valley floor I was in darkness but on a good path and by 5.30pm I was at my car and having sandwiches etc which I should have stopped and enjoyed on the hills!
Alas my time in the Lakes had terminated and I had a two hour (110 miles) journey back to Chester. I was well satisfied with my Wainwright count.
31st January 2012