Published 1 August 2013

Huddling at the shelter on the top of Fairfield

The Fairfield Horseshoe is a well known walk, and a classic one at that. It takes in a whopping eight Wainwrights. The usual walk is to start at Nab Scar, pop via Fairfield in the middle, and end on Low Pike. Fell number four is the star of the show. The one, the only, the mighty Fairfield.

After all the huffing and heaving to get to the height I’d reached so far, the short ascent from Great Rigg to the pinnacle of the Fairfield Horseshoe was relatively simple and easy. Fairfield’s flat top stood in front of me as I strolled the mere mile of grassy path that made up the ridge route.

Indeed as I reached the top of the fell, I wondered if I’d ever seen a Lakeland summits that was so grassy. Even as I reached it, there was plenty of the green stuff mixing in stones that littered the summit.

From the south, Fairfield is a particularly grassy fell. Reading Wainwright as I walked, I learned that the fell was not all bread and roses; those walkers ascending it from the north would see a more savage side. A side that people coming from the south, like myself, simply wouldn’t see.

I pottered around, trying to establish which of the many cairns actually marked the high point of the fell, before giving up after deciding it didn’t really matter anyway. It was being here that counted, more than standing next to the absolutely correct cairn that just happened to be 2cm higher up than all the others. Instead I bunkered down in one of the two shelters to avoid the wind whilst I ate my lunch with a fine view of St Sunday Crag in front of me.

St Sunday Crag

All around, the scenery was spectacular, and after I’d scoffed my sandwich I wandered round looking at it, feverishly staring at the pictures from my copy of the Eastern Fells, trying to work out what everything was, What that Dollywagon Pike in front of me? Was that Bow Fell? Could I even see Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales if I squinted hard enough? Or was it Whernside? I could never remember which was which.

Fairfield’s summit is a pain in the backside in mist, but with no clouds at all littering the tops of any of Lakeland’s fells, all the walkers were rewarded with a fine sight. Were it not for the wind, I would have probably lingered longer.

But as it was, the fell top was getting busier. I’d timed my departure from Rydal in such a way to try and avoid the crowds, and now I’d finished my lunch, more and more people were beginning to arrive; most from Great Rigg, but a few heading up from my next stop, Hart Crag. Looking at my watch, it seemed it was time to get going. I may have got to Fairfield but I still had four more fells to do before I was done.

Next up: fell five is Hart Crag

Your Comments