Stone Arthur, Fairfield and Apocolypse Now
9th May 2007
Bryan proving unexpectedly mortal due to a hip injury,
there were just three of us available. It was
my turn to need to be back early on pain of divorce
so Stan came up with the bright idea of Fairfield to
give us closure on the bit we didn’t do on BB0713.
We decided on an early start but were not sure
if the message had reached Tony or not so it was a relief
to find him not in his nighty but ready to go at 8 a.m..
Stone Arthur from Our Lady of the Wayside
left the car at Our Lady of the Wayside’s car park near
Grasmere with its riot of Rhododendron and Azalea colours
and looked for a box in which to place a donation for
the church’s kindness in letting us park but none was
to be seen.
Our first objective was Stone Arthur
which Stan and I were sure that we had never been up
before although we knew had come down over it quite
the memory plays tricks. Just see BB0629
(which also shows that accidents in the hair cutting
department have been a regular occurrence in a certain
house. Compare with BB0712).
Anyway, we had not been up this way before but
the path was clearly marked “To Stone Arthur” so it
should not prove difficult.
way up the hill, the path appeared to contour away to
the right but Stan thought that was destined for Great
Rigg and that he could detect a more direct route to
the Stone Arthur summit. When that path petered
out he admitted that he had not read up on the route
but would do so when he got back. Anyway, we were
committed by now so on we continued with a directissimo
of which Bryan would be proud. Not quite as steep
as Gardiner’s Grind in BB0603,
more Stan’s Stagger.
we approached the summit of Stone Arthur, so called
because from Grasmere it resembles King Arthur’s Castle,
I felt that I was in a war movie and that a diversionary
attack was going to be initiated on the other side so
that we could storm the citadel by the improbable route
and take the occupiers by surprise. Little did
I suspect the military theme would return before the
day was through.
panavista from Stone Arthur
the citadel duly stormed, the terrain became much easier
as we headed on up Great Rigg and onto Fairfield itself.
Great Gable and
High Stile from Fairfield
Summit Team Picture
Sandal and Helvellyn from Fairfield
Sunday's Crag from Fairfield
had made such good time that Stan
decided to throw in a bonus detour via Cofa Pike before
making the steep and scree ridden descent to Grisedale
Tarn. How glad we were that we had elected not
to include Fairfield in with Helvellyn in BB0713
but had opted instead for the lesser challenge of Seat
weather had turned quite cold and blowy on Fairfield
and as we descended the rain that we had not expected
until late afternoon threatened to set in. Fortunately
it was not serious and stopped by the time we reached
the shelter of a wall on Grisedale Hause.
over Striding Edge
peace and quiet of the descent had been disrupted by
a helicopter that was undertaking some serious manoeuvres.
For a while it hovered just above Striding Edge
and we thought there must have been an accident and
someone was being rescued. But then it started
circling repeatedly around Helvellyn and then above
us. No marking signs could be seen so we presumed it was
military and two guys were hanging out the open door.
Were they on an exercise looking for one of their
chums who was in hiding? Or had they objected
to the photos I was taking and trying to scare us off?
Or were they about to dangle terrorists by their
heels over the fells to make them talk? These
were the thoughts going through our minds as we hummed
the Ride of the Valkyries and took lunch just after
noon to Tony’s relief and delight.
and Coniston Old Man framed
missed the path to Little Tongue and had to bodge our
way across the fell to pick it up but thereafter it
was a simple stroll back to the road and to Our Lady
of the Wayside. This time, the door was open so
we did the decent thing and made a contribution in thanks
for our parking. Nice light, simple, modern church
but Stan, for some reason, seemed spooked by the confessional.
Was that just because he hadn't read up on the route?
Or did he know something about that helicopter
search that he wasn't sharing with us?
9th May 2007
climbed: 3,100 feet
Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Fairfield
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This page describes a 2007 adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
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