ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
[personal profile] ilanarama
Heading up Tongue Gill

As on the previous day, we left from our inn to walk all the way to our next night's lodging, which made me feel a bit more like a Genuine Coast-to-Coastie. Derek came with us again, but this time he gave us gazelles the go-ahead to lope on ahead and take a more interesting route: after climbing to the saddle above Grisdale Tarn (a high lake), he directed us to turn right and go up the steep route to the summit of 2,864-ft high Fairfield Pike. Then we could follow the ridge north to the slightly lower St. Sunday Crag and from there descend near the village of Patterdale and walk the mile or so along the road to Glenridding. Four of us - me, Britt, Kris, and Aleta - opted to do this; the others would descend Grisdale (the valley), an easier and slightly shorter walk.

We were happy to do so, as once the path steepened most of the group slowed considerably. We skipped on ahead, taking a snack break at a lovely little waterfall, then climbed to the saddle, where quite a few other walkers were resting on a stone wall running its length. We could also see a steady line of people on the steep zig-zag of a trail on the far side of Grisdale Tarn, ascending Dollywaggon Pike on the way to climbing Helvellyn, the third highest peak in England.

Waterfall on Tongue Gill Grisdale Tarn

The map suggested we descend to the tarn before climbing to the ridge, but Derek had told us to turn right alongside the stone wall, and that would save us from losing elevation and then regaining it, so that is what we did. Our trail quickly vanished into a steep scree field, but we were committed, and so pressed on.

climbing Fairfield Pike

Eventually we attained the summit! Which meant we could eat lunch!

Obligatory summit shot - Fairfield Pike

Fairfield's summit is quite broad and flat, which is a good thing, because we shared it with thirty or forty other hikers. Many of them had come up from other directions - we'd only seen two men with dogs ahead of us on the climb from the saddle - so we were surprised to see such a crowd! There were also the ubiquitous sheep, and a raven as well, perhaps hoping for a crumb from our lunch. Despite the lowering clouds it didn't feel like rain was imminent, and the view was quite nice. (The picture below is looking out toward Windermere, another non-lake-named lake. The visible bit of trail is the path most others had come up; our route is out of sight to the right of the picture.)

Quoth the raven, welcome to Fairfield Pike!

After lunch, we crossed over to the other side of the summit to examine our next peak. We'd have to descend to a saddle, climb over a large bump (Cofa Pike), then descend quite a bit more before the ridge gradually ascended to the summit of St. Sunday Crag. Again, we were clearly not the only people to have this in mind. Along the way we chatted with a few older men who were part of a local 'fell-walking' club; today was their weekly Thursday walk. Though they looked to be in their 60s or even older, we had a hard time keeping up with their very brisk pace! What a contrast to most of our group; when we looked down towards the valley route, we could see them approximately even with our position despite our having had the long, steep scree climb.

Cofa Pike and St. Sunday Crag the valley route we didn't take

We made it to the summit of St. Sunday Crag:

atop St. Sunday Crag

And then it was time to head down the ridge toward Patterdale. Peaks all around us, Ullswater ahead of us - it was ridiculously scenic.


Eventually the farms of the valley came into view, along with their sheep. Here they were no longer Herdwick but Swaledale, with black faces and curly horns.

Sheep photobomb!

Finally we arrived in Glenridding, which would be our base of operations for the next two days. The others had beaten us to the hotel, but that was okay - we still had time for a shower and a pint before dinner. After dinner, Derek gave us an excellent slideshow and presentation on the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, including their work during the 2009 floods. He also handed out copies of their annual report, which included last year's incident list, which made for sometimes sobering, sometimes entertaining reading, i.e. "3 sheep stuck on Great Round Howe, Buttermere. All 3 sheep successfully recovered." Sheep rescue is, apparently, part of the job! Needless to say, when the hat was passed we all donated generously to their rescue team.

Again, no GPS track, but if you look at the map I linked yesterday you can see the route to Grisfield Tarn, and where we departed from it to go up Fairfield and St. Sunday. Our walking distance was 8.7 miles.

14 photos at Flickr

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-26 04:58 am (UTC)
blnchflr: Captain America Civil War (Default)
From: [personal profile] blnchflr
Swaledale, whoohoo! I was there today, walking part of the way on C-to-C - I got excited, when I saw that, thinking I'd be reading your report from there, but maybe that stretch wasn't one of the highlights of your tour.

Having been out three days now, I really pity you for the slow walkers in your group; I can easily imagine how frustrated you must have been!

In contrast, we're doing 11.5-14 mile days, and my group is in crazy good shape! I'm not the one in the worst shape of the 6 of us (our leader making 7), but only because everyone is 60- and 70-plus! We walk at a much faster pace than I had anticipated, and I'm pretty darn beat at the end of each day!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-14 04:15 pm (UTC)
blnchflr: Running (running)
From: [personal profile] blnchflr
I never replied to this O_o ?

I went here: - Reeth over Gunnerside to Keld on the third day. I think you posted a map, and we really didn't walk in the same place - so close.

HF Holidays - 10 out of 10, would walk with again!


ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

August 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @


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