It was time to move on and I had Grasmere in my sights for the next few days. I found a decent spot on the edge of the village, in a layby. There weren’t too many other options for free parking in Grasmere. My main reason for stopping in Grasmere was to climb Fairfield. Rather than walk the traditional ‘Fairfield Horseshoe’ from Ambleside or Rydal, I wanted to ascend via Seat Sandal as I’ve never been up there before. So the following day I had a good stretch of the legs, taking in Seat Sandal, Fairfield, Great Rigg and Stone Arthur. I was starting to feel much fitter and made light work of the final ascent up Fairfield from Grisedale Tarn, pleasantly surprising myself.
I did the usual Wifi hunt around Grasmere village and found a couple of free connections. One of them was ridiculously fast and I managed to upload my latest YouTube video in an nth of the time it had taken to upload the previous one via the Wifi at Keswick library. Weird?! On the way back to the van I made a stop at the Co-Op, where 6pm is ‘discount o’clock’. I picked up about £12 worth of food for £1.40, which I found genuinely exciting. The only time I seem to enjoy shopping is when I find a massive bargain…!
The weather took a turn so instead of my planned walk up Helm Crag the following day, I had a leisurely wander to Easedale Tarn, admiring the gushing ghylls that are always at their best in the pouring rain.
After three nights in Grasmere I decided to seek the quiet sanctuary of the Langdale valley. Despite only being a couple of miles away as the crow flies, the road winds its way around the hills and through Ambleside, making it closer to a 12 mile drive.
You really feel like you’re in the heart of the Lake District in Langdale. It’s enclosed by mountains all around, with crags and cliffs looming over the valley. One of my favourite walks in the Lakes is up Stickle Ghyll to Stickle Tarn and then on to Pavey Ark. So that’s what I did the following day, also taking in Harrison Stickle. I was hoping to go up Pike Of Stickle too, but it was blowing a gale so I bid a hasty retreat. Similarly, the wind put pay to any thoughts I’d had of attempting the scramble up Jack’s rake on the way up Pavey Ark. I just went the easy way up.
Another peaceful night followed with the silence only broken occasionally by the farmer whizzing around on his quad bike, busy lambing sheep. Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell were next on the agenda and I was greeted by a calm but overcast day. I had hoped to film the walk for YouTube but my ‘selfie stick’ broke…..a 21st Century problem if ever there was one! It’s a shame though as it was quite an eventful walk and the views were spectacular, with the cloud base well above the peaks. Soon after setting off, I managed to rescue a lamb that had fallen down a cattle grid. I’m not sure how long it had been down there but it was still full of energy and it took me a while to catch it, under the watchful eye of its bleeting mother. Good deed for the day done, I set about the climb up towards Crinkle Crags. It was a spectacular path which meandered along the Oxendale valley before rising steeply up to Red Tarn and then more gradually onto Crinkle Crags. Dropping down to Three Tarns, I got some great pictures of the Scafell Massif in the distance, before climbing onto Bow Fell for panoramic views in all directions. On the summit I met a chap from Essex who was on holiday. He mentioned he was retired….”lucky you”, I said. “Not really” he said, “you’ve got to be old to be retired and things stop working!” He was struggling with his knees and was dreading the descent back to the valley. As I made my way down the path known as ‘The Band’, I could understand his apprehension; it was stepped much of the way and seemed to go on and on. Almost back at the van, I looked up to see a ewe obviously in labour. She kept lying down and fidgeting before getting back up, walking a few paces and then repeating the process again. Within a few minutes she gave birth to a little black lamb which was full of life and trying desperately to get onto its feet. It was amazing to see.
I had a few bits and pieces of shopping to get and also needed to find some decent Wifi, so the following day I walked over the tops and back to Grasmere. I loaded up at the Co-Op (it wasn’t ‘discount o’clock’, unfortunately) and made my way back with my rucksack full to bursting. The days walk had been more challenging than I had expected and it probably wasn’t the brightest way of going shopping. Regardless, I made it back to the van after a longer than expected day out.
If you’ve got any recommendations for me while I’m here in the Lake District, get in touch or leave a comment below.