24th December 2006

Possibly the best 7.5 mile I've ever walked - Grasmere to Fairfield


Walk Overview
Time 09.10 to 13.20
Duration 4 hr 10 min
Distance 7.5 mile
Ascent 2844 ft
Walking with On my own
Grasmere - A591 - Stone Arthur - Great Rigg - Fairfield - Grisedale Hause - Tongue Gill - A591 - Grasmere
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces opposite Grasmere Church

This is one for the early bird or for the very lucky I'm afraid. Opposite the church there about half a dozen parking spaces all of which fill up very quickly, and as fast as one becomes empty during the day someone else is ready to take advantage.

On the plus side, the homesty box belonging to the church asks far less for a days parking than the national trust or the council.


Route Map

Christmas lights outside the Swan Hotel. The cloud was down to valley level almost all the way through to Grasmere this morning, but the forecast had hinted at the prospect of the fell tops being above the cloud. So I thought I'd try to get as high as I could, in the hope of seeing a cloud inversion.

Walking through the cloud on route to Stone Arthur. My plan was to walk as far as the main ridge below Great Rigg and if I was still in cloud then I'd turn right and follow the ridge down to Rydal; if I did happen to break through the cloud before the ridge, then plan "B" was to continue up to Fairfield.

And then, just as I reached Stone Arthur I broke through the cloud and found myself walking in blue sky and sunshine. Plan "B" was definitely put into action at this point. The following pictures sort of speak for themselves so all I'll do is point out some of the fells that can be seen in them.

Seat Sandal.

The view from Stone Arthur.

Steel Fell with Ullscarf behind.

And looking in the same direction with the North Western fells behind.

A close up of Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark (front) and Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell behind.

Great Gable (the highest point on the left) and High Crag / High Stile (the highest point on the right). The summit just sticking out of the cloud in the front of the photo is Calf Crag.

Steel Fell (front) and Ullscarf (back).

Looking down to Rydal Head.

From the main ridge to Great Rigg, looking down to Heron Pike and Nab Scar. I couldn't believe my luck today!

Looking back down the path I'd followed from Stone Arthur. The Coniston fells are on the left of the picture and the Crinkle Crags / Bow Fell fells are running across the photo to the right. The Langdale Pikes are the fells on the right (front).


A close up of Steel Fell.

Great Rigg summit.

The view ahead to Fairfield.

Clouds swirling around the ridge below Seat Sandal. And again Steel Fell can be seen sticking out from the cloud.

A close up of Calf Crag.

The Central ridge running across the middle of the picture and the North Western fells behind.

Looking across to the Helvellyn fells from Fairfield summit.

St Sunday Crag on the right of the picture and the fells around Glenridding / Ullswater below.

Fairfield seen from the top section of the path below Grisedale Hause.

It seemed a shame to walk back into the cloud now, but I suppose everything has its price. And the price for seeing cloud inversions like these is that you need to walk through the cloud at the start and at the end of the walk. I have to say, it was worth every second in the clouds to see the view I had today.

The view back up the side of Tongue Gill. The difference in temperature down here was incredible. While I'd been in the sun it was warm enough to walk in a short sleeved shirt with no hat or gloves. By the time I reached this point I had my fleece, hat and gloves on and still didn't feel too warm. The frost on the grass helps to show how cold it was.

The ford across Little Tongue Gill.

And the track which leads back down to the A591.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks