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Date & start time: Saturday 30th May 2009. 10.30 am start.
Location of Start : Roadside parking at Dunmail Rise, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 238 116 )
Places visited : Raise Beck, Seat Sandal, Grisedale Hause, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Stone Arthur, and ending at Grasmere Village near the Swan Inn.
Walk details : 5.75 ml, 2950 ft of ascent, 3400 ft of descent, 6 hours 20 mins.
Highest point : Fairfield summit 2863 feet, 873 m.
Walked with : Richard, Simon and Beth, Jo, John, Ann and the dogs, Jodie and Amber, Polly, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Sunny and warm, with blue skies and a cooling southerly breeze.
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A Mini-OFC meet today but not over organised as the route was very much play-it-by-ear.
We started by climbing Seat Sandal then went on to extend the walk in the beautiful sunshine.
Car parking, roadside at Dunmail Rise, with Helm Crag behind.
Ann crossing the ladder stile at the top of Dunmail Rise, the highest point of the road from Keswick to Ambleside.
Our route followed Raise Beck up the valley, more or less due east.
The beck here is dry, robbed of its water by an embankment a little further up, in order to feed Thirlmere Reservoir
The path now climbs by the beck which plays host to a series of waterfalls and pools . . .
allowing us to enjoy the spectacle of the water and the dogs to divert for an occasional lie down in it on this increasingly hot day.
On one such diversion we found ourselves on the wrong side of the steam completely, which wasn't quite the plan, so we had to cross back again.
Jo, at the front stabbing the ground with her 'Matador's Swords' has two dogs today, Jodie and her new puppy, Amber.
Nearing the top of the river climb, we are starting to get more extensive views.
Above Steel Fell we now start to see the Langdale Pikes to the left with Greenup Edge and Ullscarf to the right.
This is great walking weather . . . blue skies, excellent visibility and a slightly cool breeze to stop us over heating.
Still, there's always time to stop and chat while we enjoy the sights. The slope opposite goes under the delightful name of Willie Wife Moor.
Having reached the hause at the top of Raise Beck, we start a secondary climb up the grassy slopes of Seat Sandal.
Ahead the eastern Fells start to appear, so I divert across slightly to take in the view.
Grisedale Tarn and Fairfield, with Coffa Pike and St Sunday Crag beyond.
The path to Helvellyn can be seen climbing up the slopes of Dollywagon Pike to the left and our path up Fairfield to the right,
although at this point in time nothing had been decided about our exact route.
Navigation to the top of the fell here is easy . . . you just follow the wall.
Usually easy to spot, Great Gable towers above it's local neighbours. From this angle it takes on the shape of a round pudding basin rather than the flat fronted dome that we see from Loweswater. The other major peaks are Pillar and Steeple, plus the High Stile group.
The path to Helvellyn looks busy today, but only the coloured dots are people, the rest are black bags of stone for footpath repair..
As the slope eases the summit of Seat Sandal is reached.
The summit cairn is just a few yards to the west of the corner of the wall.
The southerly breeze was surprisingly cool on the summit as we stopped for late elevenses in the shelter of the wall.
This was to be a possible turning round point for Jo if the puppy had been over-tired, but a quick nap and a biscuit and she was eager to continue.
Suitably refreshed and with plenty of time in hand we extended the route plan to include Fairfield and Cofa Pike.
Despite climbing the fell several times, we had never ascended from this side, so this would be a new route for Ann and myself.
Shorts, tea shirt and sunscreen weather today.
What goes down must go up, to reverse an old proverb.
Beth leads her dad, Simon and the rest of the group up the loose path towards the next top.
Richard brings up the rear at this point.
The worst of the slippery section over, we have time to look back at the route already done,
The climb up the right hand flank of Seat Sandal and down by the wall and slight scree path to Grisedale Hause below.
Beth makes it to the true summit of Fairfield, 873m and a cairn above sea level.
From here the views are extensive to say the least.
Helvellyn opposite with the climb to Dollywagon seen earlier, Nethermost Pike and Catstycam on the right of the photo.
Lunch at the top.
Today the clarity and views were superb and we enjoyed our stay to the full.
Below us, Cofa Pike and St Sunday, the quiet valley of Deepdale to the right and a sneak view of Ullswater to the left.
Come on John . . . a bigger smile for the camera !
[ Hold your cursor over the photo to see whether he did. ]
Back at the summit it was time to leave, but people were still arriving.
It was a popular place today and we counted over fifty people sat having lunch, just from where were sitting having ours.
Good job it's a broad, flat top with lots of space.
Windermere and a radio mast ahead as we start down towards Great Rigg.
Harry and Bethan beat Beth to the top of this one.
" Question of the week "
A small walled enclosure about seven feet square adorns the high ground above Stone Arthur.
Is it a tiny sheepfold, a fox bield (trap) or a job creation scheme for an idle dry stone waller ? Answers please by email rather than postcard please.
Simon seems unimpressed by the reading from AW's Bible as chosen by Richard.
The path down to Grasmere village is characterised by two natural features . . . this delightful Sycamore tree
and, later in the season, the over-powering bracken which almost grows to hide the path.
Chance for the dogs to have one last drink and a dip in the beck before we gain the road.
It's been a hot and relatively dry walk for them since we left Raise Beck.
Greenhead Gill falls rapidly down to the valley alongside the minor road.
It was nice and cool in the trees.
Our planned out and back walk had been modified en-route to a linear walk. Richard had parked his car at the bottom of the valley and had walked Helm Crag before joining us at the start of today's main walk.
Consequently a quick trip in the Rat-mobile, a nickname for his red Mx2 based on it's registration plate, took me to the top of the pass where I returned with a second car to collect the rest of the group and the five dogs and whisk them off to the King's Head for a short-but-sweet re-hydration session at the end of a great walk.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a long lunch break for a tired puppy.
Previous walk - Tues 26th May 2009 Friends, Family and Clouds
A previous time up here - 30th January 2006 Temperature Inversion from Seat Sandal
Next walk - Sunday 31st May 2009 HSBC/VSO Scafell 3 Peaks