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Fairfield Summit

So, like I said, yesterday I spent on the fells, taking the bus to Ambleside and setting out from there to walk the Fairfield ridges by way of Scandale Pass.

The thing about the Lake District is that it's a compact high plateau divided up by valleys, most (but not all) having lakes in them. Tall craggy peaks tower spectacularly over the valleys, and the high ridges offer spectcular views of lakes and valleys. In between there's a lot of unforgiving slog getting from the valleys to the ridges, and that's the killer! Once you're on the ridges then you can skip fairly easily from peak to peak.

The weather was near perfect, although there was a biting wind and above the 800 metre contour it was freezing, even though it was a balmy morning and evening down in the valley. The long trudge up Scandale wasn't very exciting, and the final descent from Nab Scar all but crippled me[1]. The famous Golden Rule pub - the last traditional pub in Ambleside, by the way, which is something to be regretted - was a great place to while away the evening and rest my poor sore feet!

You can follow the day in words and pictures here,

I'm indebted to Sean McMahon and his Striding Edge website, not only for his fabulous photographic diary of the fells, but for introducing me to the concept of Birkett-bagging, in which not only principal summits are counted, but also subsidiary heights (and you get to learn their names and shapes too!). So on this trip I can claim seven Birketts (Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Rydal Fell, Heron Pike, Nab Scar) instead of just a single Wainwright (Fairfield - the others are all subsidiary peaks on its ridges.) Sean is much fitter than me and does all I did and more before breakfast!

[1] It was a salutary reminder that the greatest number of fatalities on the fells are people ab out my age having heart attacks after overreaching themselves.
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Walney Channel in Winter

After yesterday, the kind of wild and woolly day that reminds me that I don't think we're in Berkshire any more, Tosca, I woke today to a gloriously clear and sunny morning, and snow on the mountains. That's Coniston Old Man peeking over the industrial estate.

It didn't last. Not the snow, and not the clear blueness. It's raining now, as it gets dark.
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Not my Old Man - soon we'll be marking the thirtieth anniversary of his demise - but this distinguished gentleman:

Coniston Old Man - 803 metres of tough old mountain. Find out more about my day.

This was a substitute for 30 minutes running. I was up there for nearly seven hours and my knees are killing me. How many other running sessions was it worth?


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