Fairfield Ridge

Walking opportunities during mid February have been limited due to visits from Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, but the week before the storms I managed to take a day off work and drove up to Grasmere to head off up the fells.

For once I managed to bag a free space on the outskirts of the village – mid week in February meant there weren’t as many people out and about. I booted up and set off. I’d decided to tackle Fairfield taking the route up to the ridge via Stone Arthur. It’s a steep climb up to the rocky prominence, which is really an outlier of Great Rig, one of the peaks along the western ridge of the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Good views looking back down towards Grasmere

The RAF were out in force that morning. Part way up two Typhoons zoomed allong the valley. They were followed by a stream of more aircraft at intervals as I climbed, disturbing the peace and quiet for a couple of hours.

The wind picked up as I climbed – it was blowing a hooley when I reached Stone Arthur.


I stopped for a short while, sheltering from the wind behind the rocks, for a brew and a bite to eat before continuing the climb up towards Great Rig

Cracking views back over the valley
and over Grisedale to Dollywagon Pike and Helvellyn
The summit of Great Rigg ahead

Reaching the ridge and the summit of great Rigg I was battered by the wind but stopped to chat with some other walkers and to take in the views

Looking over to Fairfield
Down the ridge to Windermere
Looking west over Grasmere toward the Coniston Fells, with Coniston Water visible in the distance
Looking north to Seat Sandal, Grisedale Tarn and Dollywagon Pike with Helvellyn just about visible

Onwards now towards Fairfield


It was cold and windy at the summit


and I stopped at the small shelter to warm myself up with a coffee from my flask. Last time I was up here, the summit was covered with cloud, but today there were good views all round.

Looking north towards the Helvellyn ridge with Skiddaw and Blencathra visible in the distance
Cofa Pike and Saint Sunday Crag above Grisedale
Looking across to the eastern fells

I now had to decide on what route to take for the return leg of my journey. One option was to take the steep path down from Fairfield to Grisedale Tarn. I decided against this, choosing to stay high on the ridge despite the wind and head back over Great Rigg to Heron Pike.


Cloud was drifting over but every so often the sun broke through leading to some dramatic lighting effects

Looking back towards Fairfield
Dramatic light over the Coniston fells
Herdies on the hillside
Looking back along the Horseshoe from Heron Pike
The east side of the horseshoe

To descend from the ridge back to Grisedale I took the VERY steep path down from Heron Pike. I managed to keep upright for most of the way down – thank goodness for walking poles – only landing on my backside once!

Looking across to the north as I descended

I eventually reached the path to Alcock Tarn and then turned right for a slightly easier route back down to the valley.

Looking over Grasmere
Looking over to Stone Arthur – I could see the route I’d taken during the morning
Back down at the bottom of the fell now. I crossed the bridge and then took the path heading down into Grasmere

I wandered into the village and had a brief mooch before returning to my car and setting off back home. Another good day in the fells .

18 thoughts on “Fairfield Ridge

  1. The view from the edge of Fairfield’s plateau is the most extensive view I found anywhere in the Lakes, even exceeding Scafell Pike’s. But it’s only my second favourite view of all, coming in just behind the sight of the Pike and Ill Crag rising above Upper Eskdale.

      • I’m not sure if you mean you’ve never been there, or that it’s a long time since you’ve been there. If it’s the former, man are you missing out! Wainwright Scafell Pike pages 21/22, via Cowcove Beck, not the Esk (the indistinct junction is no longer indistinct as the straightahead path has vanished). Enjoy!

  2. I remember the hike up to Stone Arthur as being one of the steepest – so steep, I can’t remember where I went from there.

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