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A day catching up around Fairfield.

A day catching up around Fairfield.

Postby martin.h » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:00 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Birks, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Seat Sandal, St Sunday Crag, Stone Arthur

Hewitts included on this walk: Fairfield, Great Rigg, Seat Sandal, St Sunday Crag

Date walked: 04/08/2018

Time taken: 8

Distance: 18.5 km

Ascent: 1560m

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Denise and I are hoping to complete the Wainwrights together but she is 22 behind me so we need to close that gap, looking at my Wainwright map there are several combinations where we can do just that and also include some of the ones I need to do, this was one of those routes I'd pondered over for a while and, starting from the Grasmere side, was a logical choice although it was quite a long day out.

Stone Arthur is one of those lumps on the landscape that I can see why Wainwright would treat it as a viewpoint worth getting to, I'd never heard of it before until I'd started to take an interest in the mountains of the Lake District and, until we decided to get to the top of them all, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. But it's there to do so, knowing Denise had a couple or so to catch up in the area I concocted this route.

Starting from the lay by at NY335096 on the A591 we set off on the easy walk down the road to the start of the path leading to Stone Arthur.

ImageSteel Fell from the road

This only took 15 minutes or so and it saved a bit of time and distance at the end of the day. The weather was pretty good so we were looking forward to a good day out.

The start of the walk beside the plantation is steep and it certainly gets the heart pumping, if you look at the map there's a small path marked at around NY346087 heading in the right direction, I'd put this into the GPS and, when we got to the point it leaves the main path, we started up it, it's non existent on the ground higher up so we were soon battling our way up a steep slope through thick ferns, not at all pleasant, don't get tempted like I did, use the green path marked on the map, it's much more friendly as we discovered higher up.

Out of the ferns at last.
ImageLooking down to Grasmere, the Coniston Fells in the distance.

ImageTowards Ullscarth

ImageGrasmere Pano

When we got to the "summit" the views are worth the effort and I guess that's why Mr Wainwright included it in his guide book.

ImageOn Stone Arthur.

We could see the Coniston fells, the Langdales, Helm Crag, Steel Fell and Ullscarth it's a nice spot to be.
Looking up hill we could see the way ahead.

ImageGrasmere village and Grasmere

ImageConiston Fells

ImageOnwards to Great Rigg

Setting off for Great Rigg the walk becomes a steady plod on a well defined path, there's no fear of losing it on the way and just before you get to Great Rigg it joins the Fairfield horseshoe path. The clouds were swirling around the tops of Hart Crag and Dove Crag, Fairfield was clear.

ImageSeat Sandal

ImageFairfield and Hart Crag

ImageSummit, Great Rigg.

ImageHart Crag

ImageThe Helvellyn range.

The path up to Fairfield is excellent and once on the summit most of the mountains around us were clear of cloud apart from Helvellyn and Skiddaw away in the distance.

ImageSt Sunday Crag.

ImageOn Fairfield summit.

ImageDeepdale and the Eastern Fells

We had a good break on the top looking at the views then set off for Cofa Pike and the path to St Sunday Crag.

ImageCofa Pike and St Sunday Crag.

ImageDollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn.

It's 40 years since I was on Cofa Pike and St Sunday Crag, I can remember having a winter weekend in Ruthwaite Lodge and climbing Fairfield and St Sunday Crag in full winter conditions, today was a complete contrast, on the way over to St Sunday I wondered why I'd left it for such a long time for a re-visit.

ImageCofa Pike scrambly bit.

ImageSt Sunday Crag.

ImageCofa Pike.

On the top of St Sunday Denise was on catch up number one, we could see our next objective, Birks which was catch up number two, it looked a long way off and we had a lot of descent to get to it so after a bit of re-fuelling we were on our way.

ImageSt Sunday Crag summit, Helvellyn in the cloud.

ImageCloudy Helvellyn

ImageHart Crag, Fairfield and Seat Sandal.

ImageRed Screes, Dove Crag and Hart Crag.

ImageHighstreet and the Eastern Fells.

ImageStriding Edge.

ImageLooking North

ImagePlace Fell

It is a long drop down to the col between the hills, all the way down we were thinking about the return trip, retracing our way back up St Sunday Crag, on the way over to Birks we kept looking back and wondering if we were doing the right thing.

It didn't take too long to get to Birks, the walk to the top is easy going and it takes a bit of the sting out of the return trip. On the top we had a break then set off back to St Sunday Crag

ImageOn Birks, Helvellyn range behind.

ImageStriding Edge Pano

ImageLooking back to Fairfield.

ImageWe have to go back up there.

ImageNethermost Cove

ImageTowards Hart Crag

To be honest the climb up was easier than we thought it would be, a nice steady plod did the trick and we were soon on the summit for the second time today.



ImageUllswater and surrounding fells.

ImageCatstye Cam

From here we had one more big ascent so we set off to make our way to catch up number three, Seat Sandal.

In Deepdale Hause there's the start of a feint path that traverses around the mountainside above the one that brings you from Grisedale Tarn, it's a bit testing on the ankles but it eventually takes you to the remains of a hut at around NY350117 then it's a case of descending slightly to Grisedale Hause and the start of the last ascent of the day to the top of Seat Sandal.

We went about 100m along the path to the right of the Hause then headed straight up hill heading slightly left as we went meeting the wall at around NY348116 then followed a fairly well established path to the summit.

ImageGrisedale Tarn, St Sunday Crag and the path up Fairfield

ImageGrisedale Tarn.

This way up looks and is steep but it's soon done with and we were at the summit of our last hill of the day after what seemed a lot less effort than first thought.

ImageSeat Sandel summit with St Sunday Crag and Fairfield behind

ImageSt Sunday Crag and Fairfield.

On the top we had a well earned break spending half a hour or so looking around at the views, the weather was superb, we really wished we were up for the weekend so we could stay longer but we had a drive back to W. Yorkshire to come so, reluctantly, we set off down.

We descended the SSW then S ridge heading for the track around NY337096 and back to the road. This is a quick descent and there's a good path all the way down, it's not marked on the map but is well established and grassy for most of the way.

ImageLooking towards Hause Gap.

ImageGrasmere from the descent off Seat Sandel.

Back at the car after spending eight hours on some fantastic hills in fantastic weather.
Six Wainwrights (or was it seven)? one new one for both of us and three catch ups for Denise, excellent! :D
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Mountain Walker
Posts: 543
Munros:210   Corbetts:17
Grahams:10   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:149
Wainwrights:214   Islands:23
Joined: Jul 31, 2011
Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire
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Re: A day catching up around Fairfield.

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:38 am

That looked brilliant Martin and a steep climb to finish up Seat Sandal.

The last time I was in the lakes I did the Helvellyn range then dropped down to Grisedale Tarn with the intention of doing Seat Sandal but when I saw the ascent I turned round and went up Fairfield instead. Looking back, it annoys me that I missed it but I'm doing the coast to coast again next year so I need to make a point of including it otherwise I will have passed it on 3 occasions without climbing it.

I always think St Sunday Crag looks like a great hill.
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Re: A day catching up around Fairfield.

Postby martin.h » Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:10 am

Hi Gordie,
We were lucky with the weather, it was never too warm to move, mind you, if we'd have gone up Fairfield from Grisedale Tarn I think we'd have run out of puff, from memory, it's a bit of a slog :shock: Seat Sandal isn't too bad in comparison :lol:

I hope you get the opportunity to get up there next time, it's not a bad little view point :D

User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 543
Munros:210   Corbetts:17
Grahams:10   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:149
Wainwrights:214   Islands:23
Joined: Jul 31, 2011
Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire
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