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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.
7 posts • Page 1 of 1
by Guinessman » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:38 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Fairfield
Hewitts included on this walk: Fairfield
Date walked: 10/02/2016
Time taken: 6
Distance: 13.7 km
Ascent: 1032m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Returned to Fairfield yesterday for some unfinished business after the last trip when the intention had been to go onto Cofa Pike and St Sundays crag
Got to the parking area at Cows bridge to find a walking group about 25 strong parked in the parking area. As I attempted to drive in as you can access the other parking area over the bridge the group did its best to walk as slow as possible about 4 across the road at a time. They seemed to be walking to Hartsop direction. In the valley it was like spring with sunshine and warmish temperatures.
Set off around 9.45hrs and took the previous route alongside Brotherswater to the farm and then the upper route through Dovedale. As I climbed higher onto the open hillside I could see the results of the storms with debris and landslips everywhere. Where the valley path meets the higher path there was a footbridge which is now flattened. The stream can be forded for anybody going that way. The temperature was warm and I had to open the pit zips of my jacket.
I got to the rock staircase and once starting to climb started to find that the steps, as they were in the shade of Dove crag, were ice covered. Once up rather than continuing up the pathway I skirted left and walked up the lower slopes of Dove crag. There was plenty of snow but it was good enough for foot placement. I climbed as high as the rock and then contoured left to meet the pathway of the Fairfield horseshoe.
The temperature had changed now the warmness of the valley long gone. From there I followed the track over Hart crag into the windy col and then climbed the slopes onto Fairfield. The top of Fairfield was very icy and bare of snow. The wind by now had started to gust requiring further clothing as I stopped for a rest.
I went over to inspect the slopes down to Cofa pike and met a walker coming up who had turned back. He stated that he had seen one person going that way. I sat down and removed my mitts which I just bought to fix the crampons on. Having put the right one on I found that the fastening buckle strap on the left crampon had snapped off the buckle fastening it to the crampon. As I attempted to fasten it a strong gust blew up and one of mitts blew out of my pocket and started to blow over Fairfield. Not wanting to lose it I gave chase abandoning the loose crampon, rucksack containing vehicle keys, ice axe and walking pole. I caught up with the mitt and returned to where I had been, thinking as I walked I hope that the other gear hadn't blown away. Thankfully they hadn't.
I managed, by manoeuvring the strap around to secure the left crampon and set off to the col before the climb up the first pinnacle of Cofa pike. Ice axe in one hand and walking pole I climbed over the first pinnacle, then Cofa Pike itself before the 500 feet drop down to the col ,where I removed the crampons and then walked up St Sundays crag. The top of St Sundays crag was icy.
From there I always ignore the path back to Glenridding and instead made my way over to Gavel Pike as I wanted to drop into Deepdale to get back towards the car. I normally go down the ridge of Gavel Pike but the snow slopes to the left of Gavel Pike were in the shade and looked good for a quick descent so I dropped down that way,dropping out of the snow around 1400 feet. From there its a case of making you're own way down over the grass until you meet a ATV track which drops down to the valley. From there you follow the track out of the valley to the road and then I returned to the car at 3.30pm via the road. There is a path over the fence by the road but I always find it wet and filthy so I avoid it.
Drove home in the daylight for a change and on getting home heard the unmistakable sound of a hissing punctured car tyre. They say things happen in threes, the crampon strap and puncture, I wonder what's next?
All in an excellent winter round. Fairfield is probably one of my favourite Lakeland hills, I will return time and time again.
Storm damage. What's left of the footbridge where the upper path meets the valley path
Back to Brotherswater and debris from the storms
The rock staircase
Staircase from above
Looking across to Hartsop from the slopes of Dove crag.
Looking west from the slopes of Hart crag
Catstyecam from Hart crag
St Sundays crag
Top of Fairfield looking south
First pinnacle of Cofa Pike looking back to Fairfield
Back to Cofa Pike and Fairfield from St Sundays crag
Ullswater from Gavel Pike.
Last edited by Guinessman on Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
by dav2930 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:56 pm
Excellent round Guiness. Quite a contrast from last time in terms of weather and views! The Patterdale side of the Fairfield range is magnificent and well worth exploring. Some nice photos
by ChrisW » Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:05 am
Stunning photos of an awesome round GM, I confess to laughing at the crampon break/mitt chasing event halfway through...the puncture though, that's just not funny. I remember getting the same en route to Mayer and Driesh some years back Anyway, well done for keeping on mate, some great shots as a reward
by Guinessman » Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:26 am
Thanks for the comments. I think this round is probably one of my two favourite rounds in the Lakes, the other being Pillar and Steeple from Gatesgarth.
by Kaz973 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:23 pm
Great set of pics - I love this walk ! Just wish I had visited the priesthole when I was up there ! Have you stayed in the priesthole GM ?
- Posts: 1
- Joined: Apr 27, 2014
by Guinessman » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:44 pm
Hi Kaz, don't need to guess who this is! and welcome to the forum. No I haven't stayed in the priests hole, I have however badly damaged an ankle coming out of it back in 2007, resulting in 5=weeks off work!
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