The latter part of April was either rained off or being worked so I had not been walking for about a month, far too long a gap for me. I had planned a walk with my parents the week before, but rain stopped play again. I had been keeping a keen eye on the weather forecast all week and Tuesday was looking like our day. Sunny, warm and windy. Not bad really so I drove up to meet my Dad just off the M6. Mum couldn’t make it as she had other plans but that meant tea was sorted !!
We got to Ambleside at about 9.30 readied ourselves and set off at about 9.45. We had been ordered by Mum to buy some chocolate before starting out so a detour to a newsagent was added to out route. We headed out of town towards Sweden Bridge and soon left the roads via a gate onto a stony path.
There were views back to Ambleside over the lower pasture and we passed a ruin that I couldn’t find on any maps I had but will continue to look for. The path climbed quickly up through some woodland with Scandale Beck rushing along below us. Soon we arrived at Sweden Bridge and like the tourists we are took some pics !!
The path continued up the valley following the beck as it snaked along beside us. The path steadily became wetter and the ground more boggy just before the first real climb began up towards Little Hart Crag. Scandale Head dominated our views and a large cairn was visible to our left which was High Beckstones.
As we got to the top we arrived at a style which signalled we were at Scandale Pass and we turned left in the direction of High Beckstones . We didn’t take the path to the cairn, but rounded Little Hart Crag and followed a boggy track up towards Dove crag.
Found the most friendly sheep ever on Scandale pass and he obliged with a picture looking up to the High Beckstones cairn.
The top of the boggy slope joined a more definite path along the ridge route from Ambleside. Great views again back over Little Hart Crag to Red Screes and beyond. The gravel path led us up to Dove Crag and a chance to get out of the strong wind behind a cairn on the small summit.
We stopped for lunch and I got out my sandwich and water. My Dad got out his packed lunch, and seeing as though my Mum had made it, consisted of enough sarnies to sink the Titanic, fruit and lashings of hot tea !! I nicked some tea off Dad to wash the sarnies and chocolate down.
We set off again and soon had views towards Plaice Fell and over to Yorkshire, the photos do not show how clear it was really, such a shame. We decided to call Plaice Fell Helvellyn all day till we found out that Helvellyn was nowhere near where we were looking, more trips required to find out the geography better !!
We left Dove Crag and lost some height before starting up a little scramble to the summit of Hart Crag, a stony outcrop on the way to Fairfield summit. More views of Helvellyn, err, I mean Plaice Fell, and we were nearly at the top of the route. From the rocky summit we could see down into Dovedale, Deepdale and down Rydal Beck to Ambleside. How glad we didn’t come up last week, we would have seen none of this !!
I was a little disappointed with the summit of Fairfield, a rocky, slightly domed plateau and from here we had to move around to get the views of St Sunday Crag and Helvellyn, honest it really was Helvellyn this time, with Striding Edge leading up to it.
We went over to the Southside of the summit and looked along the route down via Great Rigg and Heron Pike. We also had great views down the valley along Rydal Beck to Ambleside.
Boy was the wind blowing!! Dad had his coat and hat on, and the sun had a hard time keeping us warm up there. There were views over towards the Langdales and the Borrowdale Fells, infact there were views everywhere but I didn’t have a wide enough lens on the camera to make proper use of them.
The path down was wide and gravelled resulting in a good stride and time despite the wind nearly blowing us over on several occasions. There were plenty of opportunities to look back over the route from Fairfield however some of them were taken behind my Dad who was sheltering me from the wind to stop the camera shaking !!
Way below us Rydal Beck flowed down the valley and we looked down on probably the biggest sheep fold I have seen before.
From the ridge down Grassmere came into view, bathed in sunlight with the wind rippling the surface. Behind we could see Wetherlam and round to the Langdales. All day we were debating which lake was which and decided on most of them, the only one we couldn’t decide on was Elterwater which took a look at a map on our return. Rydal water was looking much the same as Grassmere, bathed in sun and a bit windy, great views again.
The last leg down was over reconstructed stone steps which my Dad struggled with a bit, (he is getting on bless him!) and we passed Rydal Mount, home to Wordsworth and onto the main road. This is the only route mistake we made today as we should have taken the path through parkland to Ambleside but fortunately it didn’t add to our distance.
Twenty minutes later we were drinking more tea in the car park letting our feet cool down before heading off for meat and potato pie at Mums, a nice end to the day !!!
Fairfield with my Dad