Celebration of Tetley's 23rd birthday (27th June) and Grizzly's 17th birthday (1st July)


Date - 30th June 2021 Distance - 12.25 miles
Ascent -
3325 ft
Map - OL5/7
Start point - Main car park, Ambleside (NY 3756 0468)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Low Pike 1667 508 NY 3735 0783
High Pike 2152 656 NY 3744 0883
Dove Crag 2598 792 NY 3745 1043
Hart Crag 2698 822 NY 3690 1120
Fairfield 2863 873 NY 3587 1175
Great Rigg 2513 766 NY 3558 1039
Rydal Fell 2037 621 NY 3572 0867
Heron Pike 2008 612 NY 3560 0830
Nab Scar 1476 450 NY 3554 0723



Allen and Tetley trotted into the room to find Little Eric and Southey huddled over the iPad, and with Wainwright and Birkett books open beside them.

Little Eric was muttering, "oh dear, it is such a long way and so much climb too. I don't feel right putting Dad through such a tough walk just for my sake."

"I know pal, but once it is done the remaining ones will be shorter", replied Southey. "Getting this one done opens up the real possibility you will complete the Birketts and Wainwrights."

"I know, but still is it fair to Dad."

Having listened to the exchanges, Tetley said, "you are talking about the Fairfield Horseshoe. I really do not think you need to worry as Dad says he is determined to do it again."

"It will be Shaun, Tetley, Grizzly and I's second time, and Dad's third", went on Allen. "His first time was in 1989 long before any of us were adopted. That day he did it with his sister Elaine and nephew Roger. For us it will be 15 years since we did the round."

By now Shaun and Grizzly had arrived. "We bring tea and cakes", announced Grizzly.

"Ooh great", cheered Allen, as he went to get the mugs and plates.

"I know", laughed Shaun. "you're hungry and gasping for a cuppa."

The mugs were soon filled and passed round, Grizzly saying, "I have made Chorley cakes, while Little Eric's offering is chocolate coated flapjack."

"Lovely", said Tetley helping himself to one of each.

So there was quiet for a while as we munched away at the delicious cakes, and quaffed our tea. Unsurprisingly Allen was first to say, "Can you refill my mug please, pal."

"Sure replied Shaun.

This was quickly followed by Southey asking the same. "You are both tea bellies", laughed Grizzly.

So then our thoughts returned to discussing the walk, Little Eric saying, "Uncle Simon at Armathwaite did it clockwise, starting with Nab Scar, yet both Birkett and Wainwright suggest doing it anti-clockwise."

"Anti-clockwise is the way that Dad has done it on both occasions, so I reckon we will be doing it that way this time", said Tetley.

"Why that way?, asked Southey.

"Well pal", said Shaun, "it avoids long tedious ascent of Nab Scar for the initial climb. Also going out via Low Pike, we gain a higher altitude at the first summit.

"And", went on Tetley, "who are we to argue with Alfred Wainwright and Bill Birkett."

"But we still need to ask Dad", said Little Eric. "Will you do this, please Allen."

"Sure pal", he replied draining his mug. "Just give me a refill for when I get back."

"OK", laughed Shaun. "And we'll put some more cake on your plate.

He was soon back. "Yes it is on for next Wednesday. And as we suspected we are doing it anti-clockwise. Dad said he wants to start walking by 08:00, so we will have to leave home soon after 07:00. This is to give him plenty of time bearing in mind his age. So it will be a good idea to make the picnic up the night before and put it in the fridge. "

"Wonderful", breathed Little Eric. "I love Dad so much."


The Walk

So up very early, Dad got himself ready.

"How are you?", asked Southey.

"Ok lad", he replied with a sigh.

"Are you sure", said Little Eric. "If you do not feel up to it we can defer to a later date."

"No lad. I am determined to do the walk today and get it out of the way. If I defer, it will still be hanging over me."

We were to enjoy a beautiful summer day with plenty of sunshine and very light winds. The views were rather hazy which was a shame, but we cannot complain as they were superb in April when we climbed Helvellyn.

We arrived at the main car park in Ambleside and being early were able to park close to the entrance. The fee paid, Dad got ready, while we settled ourselves in the rucksack.

"Ok, off we go", said Dad.

Shaun issued initial instructions. "walk up the Kirkstone Road then go left along Sweden Bridge Lane."

Passing the houses a junction was reached. "Look", called out Little Eric. "A post box." Then peering closely said, "it's old, dating from the reign of Queen Victoria. Please take a picture Dad."

"Keep left", said Shaun, as we set off again.

Shortly by the last house the tarmac ended and beyond the gate, became a rough track part being through woodland.

The views opened out to the left, Tetley pointing, "look Little Eric, there are the first two summits Low Pike and High Pike."

"Phew!", replied Little Eric. "And those are just the first two."

"And what are those over there?", pointed Southey.

"The last three summits", replied Allen. "From the right Rydal Fell, Heron Pike and Nab Scar. Part of the descent path that we will take off Nab Scar can be seen. If used for the ascent it is clear there is a long slog to the summit, hence the reason we are not taking it."

Dad strode on, pausing when Tetley said, "that hedge of honeysuckle is beautiful."

Ten minutes later we passed this tree girt dell. "A long abandoned quarry", commented Grizzly.

Not many minutes later we arrived at High Sweden Bridge in its lovely setting.

"How charming", said Southey.

"I have been wondering about the name Sweden. Does it have anything to do with the country?", pondered Tetley.

"I thought one of you might ask that, so I have done my research", replied Grizzly. "According to Diana Whaley's book Sweden means 'the burnt area'. From the Old Norse svioinn 'burnt, singed'.

Looking up from the map Allen said, "the track continues on this side of Scandale Beck leading eventually to Scandale Pass. We walked up there in September 2009, to climb Little Hart Crag and a few other summits."

"That's right pal", replied Shaun. "Today though we cross the bridge and left through the gate, to climb on by the wall."

The path was never in doubt and led on ever upwards to finally gain Low Pike.

"Wainwright states the highest inches are occupied by the wall, so we must sit against it for our picture", called out Southey.

It was here that we met properly a lovely family from Leicester (husband, wife son and daughter), who had preceded us on the ascent. We were commented on and Dad explained about our adventures, and the fact that today was special for Little Eric. He also mentioned our website. For some of the way Dad talked with the gentleman. He had recently retired from the Mars company and his wife would in couple of years. They love the Lake District and have bought a house, so that they can retire here. We wish them a long a happy retirement and many good days climbing the fells. Dad made them aware of the Wainwright guides that they had not heard of. We think copies will be adorning their bookshelf.

The family set off while Dad completed noting the summit grid reference while we jumped back into the rucksack. Then he took this shot to our next objective High Pike. If you look carefully you will spot the family in the centre of the picture, just about to start the steep climb.

Looking at the Wainwright, Southey said, "he shows the path on the right of the wall, and I can see a ladderstile."

"That is the route we took last time", replied Tetley, "but it seems that over the years the path on this side has now become the main route."

Dad made the descent then began the steep climb, pausing to catch his breath now and then. On one occasion Grizzly said, "that will make a nice shot back to Low Pike with Windermere beyond."

As the gradient eased Dad followed the path, that crossed the lower flanks. His eyes on the GPS, Shaun said, "we are passing below the summit. We need to cut right up the slope to ensure we reach the highest point."

"Ok lad", said Dad. "You are right, we have got away from the wall."

He made short work of this and passing through the gate in the wall the cairn was revealed. "Great", cheered Little Eric. "Two down. Come on pals picture time."

Tetley said, "the family have missed this summit by taking that lower path. I can see them a little way on by the wall."

Shaun said, "next is Dove Crag. 1 mile with 470 feet of ascent according to Wainwright."

"Well it looks to be more gentle than the last two and over grassy terrain", commented Little Eric with some relief in his voice.

As we arrived the family were by the cairn. We quickly jumped out and settled there, Dad lining up the camera.

The son then said to Dad, "would you like me to take you with the lads."

"That would be very kind, thank you."

This was to be the last time Dad saw the family today as they were faster, but it had been lovely for us all to have met them and we wish them well.

Of Dove Crag, Grizzly said, "the name means 'the rocky height frequented by doves', and possibly referring to rock doves."

"Oh look", pointed Southey. "A blackfaced sheep. First we have seen today."

"Huh", grunted Allen. "I would have been surprised to avoid sheep picture on this walk."

So next was Hart Crag.

This as can be seen is quite different being very rocky. The narrow path through the boulders was steep but Dad took his time and finally the cairn was attained. Grizzly said, "the name means 'the rocky height frequented by the hart or stag'. Hart is from the Old English heorot or Old Norse hjortr."

"Thank you pal, your insights are, as always, adding to our enjoyment", said Tetley. Then he laughed saying, "A very different Stag are here today. Us!."

"This summit is one I have been to before on a walk with Uncle Eric in 2008 very soon after I came to live with Dad", said Little Eric. "But you have bagged it Southey."

Fairfield dominates behind us, reaching which would complete the first half of our expedition.

Shaun said, "it is a mile to Fairfield. There is a steep descent of around 300 feet to Link Hause, from which there is 330 feet of climb. Then along the wide cairned path to the big plateau of the summit."

Approaching the summit Shaun said, "look Herdwicks. Our favourite sheep. Try to get some pictures Dad, especially of the lamb."

At the summit plateau we sat in the shelter.

"Time for lunch", called out Allen.

"Quite" agreed Southey. "Like you I'm hungry."

We enjoyed our sandwiches and cake and a cool drink, but for Dad it was too hot and he just gagged on the sandwich. "I'll eat the chocolate biscuits instead."

During this Grizzly told us. "the name derives from the Old English faeger 'fair, lovely'. Fairfield owes its name to its grassy top. Fleming in 1671 wrote of 'a very high Mountaine called Ridale-Head, on top whereof is a very fair and levell ground called ye Fair-Field'."

It was busy here, and seeing us a gentleman said, "are they yours or were they here when you arrived?"

"Mine", Dad replied. "The lads come with me on all the walks and have done so for many years." Then pointing to Little Eric, said, "I am in the process of attempting to tick of his remaining Wainwrights so like his other pals, he can complete the 214. Today will see him finish Book 1, and leave just 27 to summit."

Lunch over, we got settled, Tetley saying, "can we look at the views over to St Sunday Crag etc."

"Wow", said Southey. "I've not climbed that."

"No lad", replied Allen. "The last time we were on St Sunday Crag was in 2011 before you joined the club. On the day we were ticking off Gavel Pike, and Cofa Pike here to the left. We had descended off St Sunday Crag to Deepdale Hause then made the steep climb to Cofa Pike. before returning down and then along Grisedale that can be seen behind."

"That was a pretty tough day", sighed Dad.

"But, as always you were up to the challenge Dad", said Tetley proudly.

"That is the beautiful Deepdale valley to the right", pointed Shaun. "Gavel Pike is the top of the steep ridge rising on the left."

So, now the return leg beckoned, and viewed from the shelter, the clear path stretched away towards Great Rigg with the next summit after that, Rydal Fell, beyond.

Shaun said, "it is one mile to Great Rigg. There is a descent of about 500 ft, followed by 140 feet of climb to the summit. One of the easiest miles in Lakeland according to Wainwright, the springy turf inducing giant strides."

"That was back in the 1950s when the book was first published", replied Tetley. "Now all eroded away to a wide scar of rock and soil by the feet of thousands and thousands of walkers."

The horseshoe encloses the lonely Rydal valley through which flows Rydal Beck.

Looking at the map Shaun said, "whilst some paths are shown in the lower reaches of the valley there are no recognised walking routes and certainly no path that leads up the Fairfield."

A few minutes later as Dad strode along, Little Eric called out, "look that's Seat Sandal on the right that we climbed last week."

Dad walked on, and finally we were making the modest ascent to Great Rigg where we sat on the large cairn for our picture. Grizzly said, "the name means the 'the big ridge', which is appropriate for the northern part of the long ridge that rises from Rydal Water to Fairfield."

As you can see we were in sunshine. The day was hotter now making it harder going for Dad and we truly felt for him.

Looking ahead Shaun said, "Rydal Fell and beyond are in shadow, so that will make it cooler when we get there."

Frustratingly however the wind was behind us and the cloud just cleared away south from the rest of our route.

"It's one and half miles from here to Heron Pike according to Wainwright", said Shaun.

"But, there is Rydal Fell first", replied Southey.

"Yes pal", said Shaun. "However that is not a Wainwright and in fact he makes no mention of it is his book. However is it a Birkett summit. It does mean we will have a bit more climb, as the main path bypasses Rydal Fell."

So we quickly got settled, and off we went Dad taking the eroded path that drops quite steeply initially on this next section.

Shortly Dad was able to pause, as Allen said, "there's Grasmere. Then setting the scene in more detail he went on, "on the left above is Alcock Tarn, and just in view over the wooded ridge is a small part of Elterwater. Distantly the the large lake is Coniston Water."

"Thanks", said Southey. "I still have a lot to learn to be able to identify landmarks."

It was hotter now, Dad saying, "just a case of one step at a time and some dogged determination."

And so about 40 minutes after leaving Great Rigg, we arrived at Rydal Fell. The summit is at the culmination of the wall that starts about 1000 feet below in the valley and rising over the steep Erne Crag.

"Wow", called out Little Eric. "That's a superb view of Great Rigg, Fairfield and Hart Crag. It's great to think they are behind us now."

Then looking ahead we could see Heron Pike. "Not far now, Dad", said Tetley encouragingly.

"From the depression there is 150 feet of ascent and that will be the last real climb of the day", said Shaun.

"Right lads, let's get it done."

Dad strode off purposefully and around 15 minutes later we were there, at the little outcrop of rock that marks the summit.

"What are the white streaks in the rock?", asked Southey.

"Quartz" replied Tetley, as he with the rest of us settled by it.

Grizzly said, "the name is seemingly, 'the peak frequented by herons'. It seems an unusual habitat for herons, but there is a Heron Island in Rydal Water and a heronry in its twin Grasmere. So the name could refer to infrequent sightings of herons high on the fell."

"Just Nab Scar to go", said Little Eric excitedly. "Wainwright says it is three quarters of a mile and downhill all the way."

So off we went and soon Nab Scar was clearly before us, with Windermere, the largest of the bodies of water in the Lake District, stretching away into the distance.

Dad strode on losing height all the time, pausing when Tetley said, "super view to Rydal Water, with Heron Island that Grizzly mentioned."

The path meandered on, and finally the large cairn marking the summit of Nab Scar came into view, Dad heading a little way right off the path to it.

"Yippee", cheered Little Eric. "I have done it. Climbed all the summits in Book 1 Eastern Fells. Thanks to you Dad of course. Come on pals we must sit together to mark this achievement."

Then Shaun said, "as is the tradition pal, you must sit on your own with the book open, to properly mark the completion."

We then all gave him a hug, Allen saying, "well done pal", on behalf of us all.

"Thanks pals. Now we better get settled so can get on making the descent."

The path led over a stile in the wall then down beside it, before swinging away left.

"Wow", called out Southey. "What a superb view of Windermere, and we can see Ambleside, which is the end of our adventure."

The long long descent followed the path zigzagging down and down. Dad said, "the path has been extensively restored and while I am not normally a fan of these, it is certainly helping today."

Shaun said, "the descent seems to be forever, making me more that ever convinced that the anti-clockwise route is best."

"I agree, lad", replied Dad. "I would not want to have this long ascent initially."

So finally we were down and through a gate onto a narrow road beside Rydal Mount that was the last house the great poet William Wordsworth lived in.

"Look", said Southey. "There is a tearoom and entry to the house is not needed."

"Thanks lad, I am definitely making a stop."

The tearoom is housed in what was Dora's old schoolroom. Dora was the daughter of William Wordsworth.

The lady came out and Dad must have looked a bit hot, as she said, "can I help you", with concern in her voice.

Dad said, "I have just come down off the fell."

"I'll get you some water. Sit there on that seat in the shade."

"Two cups full please, and a tea too", replied Dad.

It was a real life saver and before leaving she offered to refill Dad's water bottle.

"Thank you for your kindness", said Dad as he left.

The rest and refreshment now spurred Dad on for the last section. Heading down the road Shaun said, "we go left into the grounds of Rydal Hall."

This sign for our final destination being a welcome sight.

Beyond the buildings the wide surfaced track led through the park.

"There's our last three summits", called out Southey. "I speak for us all that I am glad they are behind us now."

As Dad strode on, Little Eric said, "aww just look at those two lambs cuddling together."

The track took us to the lodge and gateway onto the main road, where it was left towards Ambleside. Soon we were entering the town, and passing one house, Grizzly commented, "that fine copper beech tree will make a nice shot to round off the story."

As Dad continued along the busy road, Allen seeing a sign on a lamppost called out, "not far now, just 250 yards to the car park."

Quiet this morning it was full now and there was a queue for the ticket machine. There was plenty of time left on our ticket so Dad gave it to a couple with their young child. "Thank you", they said.

"You are welcome. I have had a hard but exhilarating day on the fells."

Dad said to us, " I am pretty proud of myself, as I had doubts I could do this walk. The third time and my last."

"I am so so proud of you Dad", said Little Eric. "You are our hero. Thank you so much."

"We are euphoric" went on Shaun, "especially of course Little Eric."

So home. Dad had a lovely shower to freshen up then relaxed. We told our other pals all about our wonderful adventure.


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