It's funny how you forget things, such as what it is like to see proper
hills, rocky ground, having to - or more appropriately - being able to
walk for miles up and down fells and valleys to reach the top of the
peak that you are aiming for and of course views that stretch on and on
across a skyline full of distant peaks and fells.
A winter locked away and spent in the south, sunbathing in February,
shorts on in March had de-sensitised us a little. As we drove up to
Kendal along the A65 with views across to Ingleborough, the Yorkshire
Dales and the distant peaks of the Lake District our minds drifted back
to the 3 Peaks Challenge, The Dales Way and the week we had last year in
the Lakes wishing that there were areas like this slightly closer to
home. Unfortunately we have to make do with the occasional long weekend
hoping that the weather will be fine when we get there.
We were undecided about what to do - either a long walk in the dales or
something slightly shorter in the Lakes, in the end the Lakes won and we
set off in sunshine for an 11 mile circuit around Fairfield at 2864 feet
- one of the top 20 tallest hills in England (which I "accidentally"
forgot to tell Liz!)
Things didn't start too well, we noticed that the directions in the book
we were following gave a slightly incorrect street name for the road
that would eventually lead up to the path but we eventually worked it
out and headed off with our first glimpses of the hills ahead towards
the picturesque High Sweden Bridge.
There is a classic walk from this bridge along a series of long ridges
to the summit of Fairfield and back - The Fairfield Horseshoe but the
route we chose was slightly longer staying low in in the valley before
finally ascending steeply up Scandale Pass then heading across fells to
rejoin the ridge route at Dove Crag then onto Fairfield.
From the top of Fairfield it was possible to see the Helvellyn range and
St Sunday Crag, the route of the Coast to Coast which we will be doing
later in the year. It would be good if we get similar weather then.
From the summit the way back looks like a long gentle walk along a
series of ridges and back down into Ambleside. It wasn't long before we
realised that it wasn't so easy (particularly as Liz hates anything that
goes down hill and has a bit of stone in it. Too many falls coming to
mind. particularly falling whilst coming down from Scafell Pike and
having to walk a couple of miles with a twisted ankle - not fun!). The
ridge was not flat but made up of a series of hills, Great Rigg, Heron
Pike and Lord Crag and although we
found the uphill sections relatively easy both of us struggled with the
steep descents, particularly the last series of zig zags into Rydal
Thankfully the cafe at Rydal Hall was open and we were pleased to be
able to sit down and give our knees a rest as Lizzie enjoyed a hot
chocolate with rum (and a packet of crisps - Lizzie's first in over a
Afterwards we had a stroll around the shops in Ambleside, only spoilt by
Lizzie being tripped and ending up sprawled on the pavement - hurting
her shoulder (and pride) in the process. Our planned trip back via
Leeds climbing centre having to be postponed (now where have I heard
that one before hmmmm............) as Lizzie was in too much pain.