Sunday, 29 January 2017
11.25 miles/18.1 km
3,202 ft/976 m ascent
5 hours 43 minutes
The summit of Fairfield (2,864ft/873m) was white. The stones covered in white snow .. no shadows. The sky was white. The air full of sharp cold hard flakes of white snow. Completely disorientating – plodding through the brightness following a trail of footprints and the compass needle.
Set off from Ambleside in good weather and walked along the track to Rydal Mount before climbing the steep stepped path up Nab Scar (1,476ft/450m) and disappearing into the mist.
The snow was deep enough for spikes as we walked over Heron Pike (2,008ft/612m) and Great Rigg (2,513ft/766m) to the summit of Fairfield. The walk from there to Hart Crag (2,697ft/822m) and Dove Crag (2,598ft/792m) was in a complete whiteout .. hard to see your feet and with a bitter cold wind. There is something nice about boots “crumping snow” (John Clare 1827 The Shepherd’s Calendar).
The cloud stayed with us the whole day until the skies cleared as we descended from High Pike (2,152ft/656m) towards Low Pike (1,667ft/508m) (the last hill of the day).