For the second day of our Grasmere get-away we opted for a Fairfield Horseshoe. Fairfield throws off ridges in several directions, so there are several viable horseshoe walks which include Fairfield as their highest summit. One of those walks is particularly well-known and popular and is often called The Fairfield Horseshoe: since it follows the ridges which enclose Rydal Beck perhaps it should be the Rydal Horseshoe. Anyway, we walked a different horseshoe – not the regular one.
All of this contrasts quite markedly with the hills of the day before, where broad shoulders, knuckled with tors and knolls are more the order of the day. Although the long ridge down to Helm Crag – seen showing-off in the sunshine on the right below – is a notable exception.
The snowy bulk behind and left of Helm Crag is High Raise. The half-shadowed bowl below and to the left of that contains Easedale Tarn. Move down and left again and you will see a second huge scooped corrie – the bottom of this is Blindtarn Moss, which we descended through in the gathering dark the day before. There is no tarn there as far as I can tell – but there is enough water to form one.
These great views of Grasmere and the hills beyond were occasioned by a steep ascent which eventually led us on to the gentler ridge of Stone Arthur, a Birkett, despite not really being a summit.
I’m not sure that November and I will ever truly see eye-to-eye, but even with lots of dark, mean and moody clouds scudding overhead, the low-angled winter light was once again fantastic.
Somehow, inexplicably, the day before I had contrived to quite frequently find myself at the front of our group, or at least not at the back; but on the Sunday normal service resumed and I regained my rightful spot – somewhere off the back. In these circumstances I find a camera often provides a welcome excuse for a breather whilst the waiting whippets up ahead are no doubt grumbling into their buffs about the wind-chill factor.
At least from Stone Arthur the ascent was steady onto..
..the main ridge…
At Great Rigg….
Seat Sandal from Great Rigg.
And from Great Rigg the ascent along the motorway of the The Fairfield Horseshoe was also pleasantly steady; all the way to Fairfield itself….
We didn’t linger, since it was once again bitterly cold, but headed down…
…in the direction of Seat Sandal and Grisedale Tarn:
A last hurrah over Seat Sandal………
And then a steady plod down the long shoulder back to the Inn and our cars.
Another fabulous day to round-off a first-rate weekend. You can put my name down for next year now.
Andy’s account of the day, including useful stuff like maps, distances and amounts of ascent and also entertaining stuff like a musical slideshow, can be found here (sooner or later).