Friday, December 10, 2010

Fairfield Horseshoe

I've been mixing it up a bit with my activities since the cold snap. As I'm no fan of ice (I might have mentioned this before) I've not been keen on taking a bike out. I decided to just do some things I don't normally do so hour long sessions on the turbo doing intervals, a bit of running, some winter hillwalking and even back into the gym to primarily do some weights but also a bit of rowing.

I've been quite enjoying it but I'd had enough of being indoors and last Saturday afternoon saw me head out to Abbey Village in the pouring rain to go for a run. I fully expected it to be sleet higher up and normally I'd be totally meh about running in it. I wasn't sure how far I would get and took my microspikes with me. I didn't need them on the way up as the wet slush got progressively more snowy as I climbed. I had the moor almost entirely to myself which is very rare even for a dull, cold Saturday afternoon. I saw only one other person at the Tower.

I put my spikes on for the descending as the slush was compacting under my shoes and causing traction issues. Legs were a bit tired on the last trog back to the car and it was pretty much dark by the time I got there, damn these short winter days. Just over 8 miles which is the longest run for quite some time no wonder my legs felt a bit battered.

Sunday saw us head up early doors to the Lakes due to a good forecast, the Fairfield Horseshoe was the plan. I figured it would be well tracked for good progress. The drive up was a bit sketchy, lots of ice on even the main roads, there was more snow in the Lakes than I thought.

Parked up in Ambleside to a balmy -6, quick kit then set off to do the walk clockwise with the boring trog to Rydal first. A while later trog back again as forgot to get parking ticket...find its free parking anyway. Grr. Head off again but this time anti-clockwise to just get up on the hill. The trog from Rydal will be easy in the dark if necessary.

Beautiful blue sky, white snow, mist on the lakes, stunning:

Bluest of Blue Sky



Crampons weren't necessary but I did have my axe out for a bit of support for big step ups with my short legs though I think, for the first time ever when walking, poles would have been really helpful for me as the axe is a little short.

Didn't seem to take long to get to the summit of Fairfield. I think I've been on it about four times and this is the first time its been free of clag. We didn't linger really and I remembered that the last time I did this walk it seemed to take an age to do this side of it.

It didn't disappoint! It seemed to trog on forever, my legs were a bit pasted to be honest, as were Jez's. Though unlike him I'm not prone to cramp so was having a slightly easier time of it. We realise now that neither of us had eaten enough, we only had one butty and one Lebkuchen each (which didn't go rock hard in the cold, recommended!) quite early on, but we got into that push on mindset.

The last descent was most amusing, lost of judicious application of the ice axe and to be honest would have been better with a pole or even putting crampons on but the adrenalin did make me forget my legs hurt. Considering how much of an ice wuss I am I actually quite impressed myself with my "just about controlled" sliding.

Last hike back to Ambleside was a pain filled nightmare and freezing, was warmer up on the hill as the sun got to it.


We got back to the car about 15:45 and decided just to get straight off due to the state of the roads on the drive up. I don't think I've ever left Ambleside without going for a wander round the gear shops. Great walk though my legs took two days to get over the weekend.


  1. Stunning Pics. I always find the Fairfield round a bit boring though to be honest. The approach to Fairfield not being a patch on the northern flank.

    As for poles?? lol.

  2. It does verge on the dull but its navigationally easy and the views were superb that day. Poles? I know, I know.