Thursday, 10 May 2012

An Abandoned Fairfield Horseshoe...

Due to not being able to go walking as much as I would like this year I’m taking the opportunity to transfer some older trip reports across to the blog. An archive for me and a chance for other people to read about the walks. This walk is from last year and my first trip walking in the Lake District. I’d been there previously and done the standard touristy stuff (and very nice that is too) but this was my first ever mountain walk…
I had come up to the Lake District to meet up with some of the people off the Walking Forum who were going to be there as well.
So, having arrived in the Lake District, I set up camp in the National Trust campsite in Great Langdale - highly recommended by the way. Good facilities, friendly staff, great views and the Old Dungeon Ghyll on your doorstep - what more could you ask for

View towards Crinkle Crags from by the campsite

The next day, despite a forecast of showers I set off from Ambleside towards Fairfield intending to do the horseshoe. Walking out of town I soon found the path which took me through Rydal Park to Rydal Hall. From here the path to Nab Scar climbs quickly but does give wonderful opportunities to look back at Windermere whilst you get your breath back stop to admire the view.
View back to Windermere

However, the summit of Heron Pike soon came into view:
Heron Pike

Also visible was Helm Crag to the left. This photo also gives you an idea of how low the cloud was getting as the showers came through.

Helm Crag

Continuing on the top of Fairfield was going in and out of the clouds but I continued as, so far, the rain had come in short showers and had blown through with the clouds clearing after each shower.

Fairfield going in and out of the clouds...

Fairfield - visible again!

However the clouds were building up again as could be seen both behind and to the west:

Looking towards the Central Fells

Before too long the rain started again and the clouds had come in. Indeed, just before getting to the top of Great Rigg I was actually in the clouds. Proper clag...Thinking it would clear again I continued to follow the path but it never cleared and when I got to the top I could see about 10-20 yards. Pretty sure it was the top; big Cairns, shelter and some other poor sod who said it it was the second time he had got up there and neither time had he been able to see anything!

Anyway, given the visibility, I decided to return to Ambleside by the route of ascent rather than trying to find my way to Hart Crag in such poor visibility. Wainwright said that the route wasn’t a great idea in mist and I decided that discretion was the better part of valour. 
The Sun did come out again as I descended off Great Rigg, though it was a further half hour or so before the top of Fairfield had cleared. Did I regret turning round...No. It was the sensible decision at the time and the route will be there to do again in the future. But, now the sun was out properly I went from having winter gloves on to wishing I had sunscreen with me as I came back to the top of Nab Scar.

Windermere and Rydal Water from Nab Scar

Rydal Water and Grasmere from Nab Scar

So, while I didn't get the view off Fairfield, I did get some lovely views over Grasmere, Rydal Water and Windermere and my first 4 Wainwrights (even if I couldn't see anything from 2 of them!).
Wainwrights climbed:
Nab Scar
Heron Pike
Great Rigg

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