7th April 2017

Visiting Fairfield, a mini walking project - Walk No 1 - From Dunmail Raise via Seat Sandal

Time 1:45 to 5pm
Duration 3 hr 15 min
Distance 5.8 mile
Ascent Somewhere around 2900ft
Walking with On my own
Dunmail Raise - Seat Sandal - Grisedale Tarn - Deepdale Hause - Cofa Pike - Fairfield - Grisedale Tarn - Raise Beck - Dunmail Raise
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Roadside, top of Dunmail Raise
There is lots of available parking along this stretch of road, and just as well. Anyone who has driven over Dunmail Raise will have noticed how many cars form the line on each side of the road. I'm tempted to say that this is somewhere you'll never fail to get a space. Simply leave your car at the end of the line.
Route Map


Today, I set off walking from the top of Dunmail Raise, not because I'm lazy or anything, I'm here because it's the easiest place to get to for a walk up Fairfield straight after work. For a few years now I've wanted to pay particular attention to Fairfield by walking a dozen different routes that all include Fairfield at some point on the walk. Originally I thought about doing one walk a month for a year but on two different years the idea had to be scrapped. Once because I walked somewhere else with someone and ended up missing the opportunity to walk here that particular month. The other occasion was last year, and because of the floods at the end of 2015 the main road was closed until May so that was the end of that.

As too many things could (and did) go wrong with my original idea I decided the best thing would be to start the walks in spring (today) and just walk them over a none specific period of time which would hopefully not drag on for too long. I keep telling myself "it's only 12 walks".

"Why Fairfield", you might ask. It's not my favorite fell, it just jumps out as somewhere that lends itself to being included in lots of different routes. Yes, the Fairfield Horseshoe will be included in the walks (once in each direction) but, hopefully this will show it has much more to offer if you put your mind to it.


With a little height gained, Thirlmere comes into view for a while.

Not far from the top now and I can't believe how lucky I am this afternoon with all the blue sky now coming through. Particularly as I almost didn't walk at all today. The morning had been spent at work with no sunshine on display so I thought this would have been a good day to do 'other stuff' that needs taken care of. You know the type of thing, go to the post office to collect a parcel that wouldn't fit through the letter box, pick up my new glasses and go to the aquatics centre for some live fish food. Then, just before home time I'd talked myself out of the 'other stuff' and into going for a walk. Good decision!

Seat Sandal summit with Fairfield behind.

And without the summit cairn in the picture.

Grisedale Tarn comes into view as I begin the descent from Seat Sandal.

From the base of Seat Sandal I follow this narrow path for a while beore it joins up with the more direct (straight up) route from the end of Grisedale Tarn to Deepdale Hause.

Looking back to Seat Sandal and Grisedale Tarn.

Here you see the eastern ridges on Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn.

Once on the ridge at Deepdale Hause I get this view down to Deepdale itself.

St Sunday Crag, taken as I start the walk up Cofa Pike.

After a steep and rocky walk up to Cofa Pike I look across to Fairfield.

Still on Cofa Pike, with Deepdale below me and the far eastern fells in the distance.

At one of the cairns / shelters on Fairfield on the first of what will hopefully be a dozen visits over the coming weeks (perhaps months).

The view from the top of Fairfield towards the far eastern fells. Just left of centre you can easily pick out the flat(ish) top of High Street.

It was a bit hazy looking in this direction but still fantastic to be up here with the place to myself and the added bonus of warm sunshine.

Time to be making my way back down to Grisedale Tarn now.

Grisedale Tarn and Dollywaggon Pike.

Before it vanishes from view, I stand for a few moments looking across Grisedale Tarn to Fairfield.

Blimey, it wasn't half warm walking past Raise Beck waterfalls. A natural sun trap if ever there was one.


And to finish, I reach the top of Dunmail Raise, admire the view across to Loughrigg Fell / Helm Crag and, as I sit behind the car changing my boots, the shadow of Steel Fell crossed over the car, taking with it the warmth I'd been enjoying. That didn't matter because I'd just been treated to a fantastic walk in the sunshine.
To say I was pleased to have come here today would be the understatement of the year.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks