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Fairfield from Deepdale with Raven

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:48 pm
by DaveB1
I chose this route after reading the report by 'old danensian'.

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I'd been wondering how to get Arnison Crag and Hartsop above How into the collection whilst making it interesting for my mates, Jim and Mick (Yes, I've only got two!!). Thus inspired we set off from Jim's about 8am with Mick driving and headed for Bridgend at the bottom of Deepdale. The journey went well until we were descending from the Kirkstone Inn and came round a bend slightly too fast to be confronted with a sheet of ice across the road,'don't brake' I shouted at Mick, he didn't and we survived the encounter with the wall. Jim in the back with Lassie (its his dog! Original name isn't it!) casually remarked 'I was waiting for the bang, I can see your colour is returning Mick'. Mick didn't reply, but did change colour.
So we parked by the phone box and were quickly joined by two other cars as we kitted up. Jim had bought an ice axe (his first) stuck it the wrong way up on his rucksack and wondered why it kept stabbing him in his upper thigh, soon remedied and we were off up the clearly marked path towards Hartsop above How and the snowline. I'd decided to do it clockwise and park at Bridgend to save the walk at the end.
It's a steady plod upwards following a wall and the views across to Place Fell with Great Mell Fell in the background were good.
St Sunday Crag - Jan 2012 004.jpg
Hartsop above How was reached in about an hour and we were into the snow.
At this point the snow wasn't deep nor was there much ice around, it was taking a boot without much effort and was quite powdery, nice to walk on. We stopped for a quick bite before going up the steep bit on to Hart Crag and encountered the raven eyeing up our butties and croaking at us.
St Sunday Crag - Jan 2012 007.jpg
Jim got a better photo but this will have to do.
The weather forecast (mwis) had predicted better than 90% chance of cloud free hills and was looking good until we reached the top of Hart Crag when the other 10% took over and we found ourselves in the clag! Following footprints always seems at the time, a 'good idea', but an earlier experience on High Street one February made sure we checked the GPS and compass before setting off for Fairfield. We passed a couple on the way up heading for Hart Crag and if her face was anything to go by I think he'll be washing dishes etc for the next fortnight at the least! She did not look happy!!
The summit appeared out of the mist, Great views, not.
St Sunday Crag - Jan 2012 009.jpg
However, it suddenly got busy as fellow adventurers appeared from all directions and plonked down to eat, topics such as 'best flask for keeping stuff hot', pros and cons of crampons and the effect on knees when the crampon stays put and you don't! and enquiries as to next move and potential snow conditions were roundly discussed.
Snow on the top was fine and not at all deep, lower down we found it up to thigh deep but only in spots. We packed up and set off for Cofa Pike, it wasn't until we were over the top and heading down for Deepdale Hause that I remembered just how steep it was, underfoot wasn't too bad if you were careful and I was using poles which made a difference and enabled good balance. In hindsight (wish I had a degree in it) probably should have brought crampons, it would have made the descent easier. Jim had got his ice axe out and was carrying it and quite a bit ahead of Mick and me, but the clag had lifted and got a good view of St Sunday Crag
St Sunday Crag - Jan 2012 011.jpg
and also Grisedale Tarn
St Sunday Crag - Jan 2012 012.jpg
It was at that moment feeling thirsty from the descent I went to drink from the water bladder only to discover that the water in the pipe was frozen and despite my best efforts couldn't get a drop!! Borrowed a slurp from Mick's water bottle and tucked offending pipe under my arm it eventually thawed out enough on the way down from Birks to Arnison Crag. Note to oneself to get a bit of lagging for the next trip!
St Sunday Crag came and went in a vicious blast of spindrift which scoured the face better than the most expensive exfoliant (ask the wife!). Then onward to Birks, we caught Jim up who thought his ice axe had been a good buy, he was sitting on it like a shooting stick! (He's having lessons soon whether he likes it or not).Then down to Trough Head and on to the path to Arnison Crag where Jim and Lassie blocked the view nicely!
St Sunday Crag - Jan 2012 019.jpg
It was pleasant to be out of the snow and we wandered down the path by the wall, which was steep (just when the knees are beginning to complain!)to come out by the White Lion, a short debate about stopping for a pint or going for the car (car won!) and along the road to the car. We stopped for a pint at the Queens Head near Troutbeck, which was very nice but expensive. Another good day and can recommend the walk.

Re: Fairfield from Deepdale with Raven

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:29 pm
by ChrisW
Entertaining stuff Dave and a lovely winter walk, shame about that bit of clag but if that was the worst of it you did OK :wink:

Re: Fairfield from Deepdale with Raven

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:53 pm
by SusieThePensioner
Enjoyed your report and photos! Lets hope there's still enough snow around for the ice axe to be put through it's paces :lol:

I was over in the Keswick area and both Skiddaw and Blencathra had clag up to early afternoon and then it all cleared :D

Re: Fairfield from Deepdale with Raven

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:54 pm
by DaveB1
Many thanks for the comments, glad you enjoyed it. Looking at Central Fells from Armboth next. Hoping for frozen conditions again! Dave