Helvellyn, Seat Sandle, Fairfield & St Sunday Crag 2019

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The end of April and Spring should be here so we planned a big walking weekend in the Lakes to mop up the remaining big ones.  If all went according to plan we should qualify six peaks over the weekend worth fifty points. Except the weather gods didn’t seem to agree.  The forecast for the Saturday was mostly rain with winds gusting to 60 mph on the tops and temperatures down around freezing.  All this and no winter bonus!

G/LD-003, Helvellyn – 950m, 10 Points

Parking in Patterdale was not a problem.  The weather forecast probably put a lot of people off so there was plenty of room in the car park opposite the hotel at NY 396 159.  If you’ve never been there before you are in for a surprise, car park is a bit of a grand term for what is just a bit of waste land strewn with rubbish.  When we were there we found a skip full of old mattresses in the corner and they have the cheek to charge you £4.50 to leave your car there.

Crossing over to the hotel the path is hidden away around the back. Follow the building around on the right hand side and you should see the path heading out behind the hotel.  From here just follow the obvious path down into the valley and across to the North flank of Grisedale to start the long steady ascent up to the hole in the wall.

Striding Edge

Once past the hole in the wall you can choose either the Striding Edge route or Swirral Edge.  We chose the former.  If you want to really enjoy Striding Edge and the weathers agreeable then you need to work at it to try and keep to the ridge line.  There are numerous points where the path entices the inattentive walker down off the true ridge along an easier more sheltered route just below, but if you are tempted by these alternatives you will miss the true splendour of the ridge.

At the far end of the ridge there is a short steep pile of rocks to climb before emerging alongside a memorial and a short walk over to the summit shelter.  Keep to the left up this section where you will eventually spot the path.

The summit shelter was a tip the day we were there.  To many groups had clearly eaten there lunch there recently and just dumped banana and orange skins where they sat.  It was not a pleasant place to sit and operate.  Next time I go I think I will take a bin bag.

We managed to find a seat out of the wind and soon set up the stations.  As there were three of us we decided to take turns for the first four contacts to make sure we all qualified, then one of use would work any pile up wanting chaser points.  Helvelyn being the highest peak of the day we decided Pete should work it as he had the lowest power being an M6 licence and so Richard and I only worked four contacts each.  Whilst we operated we enjoyed a bit of a blizzard which turned the top white fairly rapidly.

G/LD-003 Log

G/LD-022, Seat Sandal – 737m, 6 Points

From Helvelyn we turned South, passing over the Wainwrights Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike before dropping down to Grisdale Tarn where we stopped for a bit of lunch and a rare bit of sunshine.  162m of climb later and we were on the top of Seat Sandal.

Seat Sandal

There is no proper shelter on this summit but enough of a wall to sit behind to keep out of the wind.  We soon set up again and this time it was my turn to work it as it was the lowest peak of the day and I had the most power available.

G/LD-022 Log

It was on Seat Sandal that I realised that I had blown my pre-amp when back on Helvelyn.  We were all sat fairly close there and I think my front end just gave up with the high power signals received from the other two.  Fortunately with the pre-amp switched out I could still receive so was able to carry on working and on Seat Sandal I managed to work twelve contacts, including a few portable operators down at the Blackpool rally.

G/LD-007, Fairfield – 873m, 8 Points

Fairfield

The walk down off of Seat Sandal to the East is interesting as you near the bottom where there is a fairly steep section but nothing to slow down any experienced walker.  This is followed though by the long haul up to the next summit. Fairfield summit is a bit barren but there are a few cairns and a shelter to provide refuge.  Setting up the stations here we were soon on the air.  This time it was Richards turn to operate so again I only made the firs four contacts.

G/LD-007 Log

Fairfield summit

The exit off of Fairfield, North towards St Sunday is interesting if you have never done it before.  It’s over a convex slope, have faith in your compass though and walk on over the edge where you will find a relatively easy route down towards the left.  If you get it wrong though and walk over the the wrong edge to certain doom don’t blame me, make sure you know what you are doing or go back the other way.

G/LD-010, St Sunday Crag – 841m, 8 Points

St Sunday in the distance

Once down Cofa Pike you arrive onto Deepdale Hause.  This is a superb ridge walk connecting the summits of Fairfield and St Sunday that is to be savoured.  The ascent up onto St Sunday is long and gentle which is most welcome at the end of such a long day on the fells.

St Sunday summit

As we neared the top od St Sunday the rain lashed down but just as we reached the top it stopped in time for us to enjoy a pleasant final session.  I think it was Richard who took this one so once more only four in the log for me.

G/LD-010 Log

The return from St Sunday was uneventful, just follow the path back down to Patterdale and the welcome sight of the car.

Journey Details

Date – 27th April 2019

Postcode – CA11 0NN

Parking – NY 396 159

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – Long Ranger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4 + 12 + 4 + 4

SOTA points – 10 + 6 + 8 + 8 = 32

Group – Myself M1CJE, Peter M6XPE & Richard M1HAX

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