Hills: Nab Scar, Heron Pike, Great Rigg, Fairfield, Hart Crag, Dove Crag, High Pike
Hewitts (and therefore BOGOFs): Great Rigg, Fairfield, Hart Crag, Dove Crag
Trail 100s: (and therefore double BOGOF) Fairfield
Total hill ticks therefore: 12!! 😯
When: Friday 18 April 2014
Who: me (plus walking club)
Weather: Stunning! 😯 😀
Sadly absent: Stuart 😦
Sadly present: sunburn!
Thankfully absent: bog, clag, snow, rain.. the usual elements of one of my walks
Time: who cares – too good a day to rush it.
Warning – do not adjust your computer screen! 😯 This is not one of my average walk reports.
Some of the usual elements of my trips to the hills are present. There is inevitably a transport issue of some sort and at various points in the weekend sore feet were most definitely present. However some of the usual elements were sadly absent of which the most important of these was Stuart who due to a tight deadline was going to have to work over the Easter weekend, or at least some of it. 😦
He suggested I hook up with the walking group we have gone away with a few times who were planning a Lake District extravaganza; this was duly arranged and as I sat at my desk on Thursday 17th April with my mouth open looking at the weather forecast in disbelief, it was obvious some of the other less welcome factors that usually accompany our walks would be very much absent – namely anything even remotely resembling inclement weather. In particular my packing of the microspikes was going to be somewhat superfluous and my failing to pack sunscreen to be something of a mistake!
Anyway, on with the report.. and the transport issues. I was presenting a training course at work on theThursday morning and therefore this necessitated an even earlier start to get the car round to Stanmore than usual. I was awake at 5am, on the road at half past and irritatingly missed getting the Dartford Tunnel free by about 30 seconds (charging starts at 6am). 😦 I was at Stanmore for 7, and at my desk at 7.45 mainlining coffee as I knew the day was going to be tiring. A manic day at work ensued with back to back meetings until 3, I did manage to leave slightly early and was on the road at Stanmore again by 5.30.. and straight into the traffic queues.
OK, it was a bank holiday weekend, and to be expected, but the M1 & M6 were absolutely horrendous – constant tail backs pretty much to Northampton and then on and off delays until well past Stoke on Trent. I was pretty much running on empty or to be more accurate on Diet Coke in order to keep going. 😦 Finally reached the Travelodge I was staying in just south of the Lakes at 11.30pm and was very glad I had decided not to press on to Ambleside (where everyone else was staying and I would be the rest of the time) that night. A quick glass of wine to wind down and hit the pit, we had planned the Fairfield Horseshoe for the following day and I was meeting the others at Rydal that morning.
Still couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I woke up to glorious sunshine and a cloudless sky.. 😯 which amazingly held. After a fair amount of faffing about, we were on the way at 9.30, heading up towards Nab Scar from Rydal. This was hot and thirsty work, and inevitably we all straggled out into something of a crocodile. Most of the others walk a lot faster than me so I was back marker for a lot of the way, but this was too good a day to rush; lots of photo stops were most definitely needed! Unfortunately the inevitable technological glitch happened as water had got into my camera so some of the pictures are from my iPhone. Glorious views as we rolled over Nab Scar and Heron Pike fairly quickly, some gentle drop and then a reasonable re-ascent to get to the top of Great Rigg, from which the final pull up to Fairfield looked very straightforward. It was, but I was already boiling, having gone down to my base layer on the first real pull there was nothing else I could really take off!
We took our time, and got to the top of Fairfield to glorious views, quite a lot of people, and a nice surprise. It was one of the group’s birthday, and someone else had carried up champagne and plastic glasses – so a mid walk toast was had by everyone! Mid walk drinks are a new experience but rather a nice one, though I don’t think having too much would be a good idea!
The top of Fairfield is flat and bouldery, and has quite a few cairns, which always irritates the hell out of me as I have to go and tag the lot in order to be happy I’ve actually made the summit, which amused some of the group who are less bagging orientated than I am. Never mind! Had an extended break and lunch, before heading off in the direction of Hart Crag. The path was steep and rocky in parts but nothing tricky and the views continued to be cracking. I made sure I got a summit pic taken as I realised I would have to prove, given the weather, that I had actually been on the walk on that day and not just pinched some photos from someone who is reputed to be less of a bad weather magnet!
The next summit, Dove Crag, was a longish but gentle pull up and after that the ridge drops at a gentle angle towards High Pike and (thereafter) Low Pike, meeting a wall which runs all the way to the top of Low Pike. There seem to be paths on either side of the wall and we ended up on the one on the left (East) side of it. The paths were fine to High Pike, but after that there were some quite steep and rocky bits as we dropped down, which required a little bit of care, at least from me. However, it became clear as we continued that the path to the top of Low Pike was on the other side of the wall – and that the last Wainwright on the round was therefore going to get missed out! Grrr! The silver lining to this is that I understand there is a scramble off Low Pike which we also managed to miss out, though if I go back and do this walk again, I’ll know to go on the other side of the wall. I understand the scramble can be bypassed anyway.
We continued to drop down, still in glorious sunshine, and picked up the wide track back to Rydal. It had been a glorious day on the hills, although I couldn’t help wishing Stuart had been there to share it with me. 😦 Though at least he missed out on the sunburn – the absence of sun screen clearly being an issue as soon as I looked in a mirror – I was beetroot! Maybe the sun must have gone to my head, as I inexplicably forgot to take a picture of a post walk drink, so for the sake of including proper walk report protocol I have inserted a picture of a glass of Rioja (which was the actual post walk drink that I forgot to photograph).
All in all a cracking day on the hills, and the most hills in a day since we did the Langdale Pikes in 2011. Hoorah for hills with no drop and reascent or height criteria!