A Fair Snape Fell Circuit

7th December 2015

A feeling of loss and numbness has descended after the devastation caused by Storm Desmond, in one day a months worth of rain fell from the skies above Cumbria and the Scottish Borders casing catastrophic flooding, landslides which washed away a section of the A591 between Grasmere and Keswick north of Dunmail Raise, countless bridges have been washed away including the historic Pooley Bridge, a structure that has stood the test of time since 1764 I guess its fair to say that what Moot Hall is to Keswick, Pooley Bridge was to the small village from which it takes its name.

Adding to the nightmare as I type this thousands of homes from Lancaster to Carlisle are still without power, these I guess are the lucky ones, some are still under three feet of water. During the whole of Sunday I watched feeling helpless as the clear up began, watching those hourly news reports I hardly recognised my beloved Lake District

Today, I simply needed to get out and as it turned out, I had quite an enjoyable walk on the Bowland Fells, it was just a few hours if only to take mind of other matters.

Ascent: 1,700 Feet - 518 Meters
Summits Visited: 3, Parlick - Fair Snape Fell - Saddle Fell
Weather: Overcast With Bright Spells, Gust Across The Summits, Highs of 14°C Lows of 13°C
Parking: Roadside Parking, Fell Foot Farm
Area: Forest of Bowland
Miles: 6.2
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL41
Time Taken: 3 Hours
Route: Fell Foot Farm - Parlick - Nicks Chair - Fair Snape Fell - Saddle Fell - Saddle End Farm - Wolfen Mill - Fish House Lane - Fell Foot

Map and Photo Gallery


Parlick over Fell Foot, 11.00am 14°C

It was surprisingly mild for December with the temperature reaching into double figures, add a warm sun on my back and this morning could of been mistaken for any morning during spring, despite this I thought it best I still pack my jacket due to the forecasted winds. Ahead I park my car at a lay-by large enough for four cars making sure that my car is facing the right way for the return journey. The last time I laced up my boots was some three weeks ago during a jaunt on the Longlands Fells which still bore the dried mud from that day, so much has happened since then I try not to think about the impact.

A couple pass me with two Labradors we share a morning as they get a healthy gain on me. You can make Parlick into a dog walk or carry on along the ridge as I plan to Fair Snape Fell, I hadn't quite made my mind up what I will do from there, I guess it all depends on the weather, but, judging from conditions here in the valleys I might be able to take my pick, we shall see.

The couple who had passed were on the hill by the time I reached Fell Foot Farm which looked deserted despite a car parked close by, after passing through a wooden gate open fell side is presented were the steep and steady climb begins.

Here looking back on Fell Foot Farm with Longridge Fell in the distance.
Strong sun burst keep the skin on the back of my neck warm as sleeves are rolled up as I tackle the steady ascent, the couple with the Labradors are way ahead now and soon dissapear from sight,

Its suprisingly warm for the time of year.
From Fell Foot Farm various paths make off in different directions, two of which flank the fell around the base while one heads steeply and directly towards the summit, this path is more popular while still steep in places it leads towards the shoulder of the fell before a final steep and steady plod towards the summit, given the fact that I was taking my time it still only took me around twenty five minutes to reach the summit not helped however by the indigestion and sickly feeling in my stomach.

Fair Snape Fell over Wolf Fell.

What a difference ten minutes can make, admittedly I stopped a few times during those last few yards, something I must of eaten something that wasn't agreeing with me, trying to suppress the sickness I had a few light headed moments before topping out at the summit where I was met by the couple with their Labradors.

We passed on our hello's once more before they descended the same way that they had came. Within the space of just a few moments the sun had disappeared, the grey clouds had rolled in and a cold wind had whipped up causing me to reach for the jacket, I hung around the summit for a short time while the shock from the cold wind wind set in, moments later I was able to see my own breath as I cupped fist and billowed warm air into them, it wasn't cold enough for hat or gloves but they were on stand by all the same.

The feeling of sickness started to pass thankfully without notice leaving me able to enjoy the short ridge walk over Wolf Fell before the slight ascent on Fair Snape Fell is needed.

Fair Snape Fell.
Time to swap over paths at the gate.

Here, looking back on Parlick and Wolf Fell.
Passing through the gate half way along the ridge allows me to keep to the summit contour of Fair Snape Fell by following a steady ascent all the way to the summit which by now is still covered by low cloud, had I continued on the right hand side of the fence memory tells me that in order to reach the summit I would have to negotiate the peat hags meaning lengthy boggy detours, some of which I will encounter soon myself, I just didn't know it yet as I still hadnt made my mind up what to do once the summit is reached.

The 'Red Rose of Lancashire' Trig Point at Fair Snape Fell summit.

Fair Snape Fell/Paddys Pole summit and brand new shelter.

It would appear that since I was last here in 2014 the summit has had a make over with the red Lancashire rose painted on all four sides of the summit trig point, adding to this a new stone shelter sectioned into four seperate shelters each providing enough space for up to six people.

Summit time was brief due to the low cloud as I made the decision to descend the summit by the west flank of the fell, this will lead me down to Higher and Lower Fair Snape and finally Blindhurst, this, a section of path that flanks the the ridge at valley level.

i had descended steeply out of the cloud from where I was picking out the path and making my way towards it when from no where the sun re-appeared and the clouds lifted almost instantly, I took a look back and through the grey cloud a deep blue sky could be seen, this sight alone was enough for me to change my mind from where I steeply made my way back to the summit emerging spot on the summit cairn, by which time the cloud had completely lifted revealing the deep colours of the wild grasses.

"If there isn't a way, find a way" Robert Edwin Peary -Arctic Explorer.

Crossing the hags and marsh was easier said than done often walking myself into bogs where my only option was to back track my way out, the fence seen on the right is the more direct route and indeed there is a sort of path there, but it would seem in places it had been taken over my masses of peat hags and watery bogs.

Count to three and find the alterative route around.

Stopping to look back on Fair Snape Fell/Paddys Pole.
I'm not quite sure why my heart is currently thumping out of my chest right now but it may have something to so with the energy and the time it has taken me walk those last hundred yards or so! it sure wet wet underfoot, but its not like it wasn't to be expected I guess.

Thats more like it.
I take out my map firstly guided by the fence that I had been keeping at a distance to my right where I am met by two wooden styles offering access to Holme House Fell to the north and Saddle Fell to the east, given that during my last visit to the Bowland Fells I summited Holme House Fell I thought why not make this a circular walk and take in Saddle Fell, besides, just look how inviting that path looks and not to mention...

Extended views over towards Totridge.
The beautiful moorland views in every direction.

What an afternoon this is turning out to be.
Those with a keen eye may be able to spot a fence below centre right in the photo, which is where Im heading.

Saddle Fell wild grasses.
The fence was soon reached as I pass through a wooden gate taking one more look at the beautiful scenery before starting my descent down Saddle Fell.

Wards End from Saddle Fell.
The fence that I had been following had broken away to my right as I follow a wide path that soon flanks Wards End to the right before reaching the copse of trees seen at the far end of the ridge.

Views over my shoulder towards Burnslack Fell.

Wolf Fell and White Stone Clough.
White Stone Clough is the name given to the ridge like feature seen below Wolf Fell, the area below is known as Greenlough Clough Head, it all looks terribly inviting but I can only guess just how wet it is down there.

Passing through Saddle End Farm.

Wards End is soon flanked as I arrive at a large pool where sheep are gathered, before passing through the gate the sound of a quad bike gets my attention as it slowley makes its way up the steep fell side closely followed by the farmers dog which looked kinda funny as usualy the sheep dog rides up front with the farmer.

After passing through the gate the sheep that I had just passed appear on the lane seen in the right of the photo as the farmers wife makes her way towards them through what can only be decribes as one of the most well kept farm yards I have seen in a long while, we pass with a smile before I head out along the farm lane where I am met by a large group of...

Tame Hens.
The Hens sensed my approach and scurry from beneath a canopy of trees towards the fence that was holding them in, soon the Hens found their way through the fence and spilled out onto the road.

Even posing for the camera.

Brillant sun light as I look back on Saddle End Farm.

From the same spot looking towards Saddle Fell and Burnslack Fell.

The noise of a bin lorry brought my afternoon walk back to civilisation as it stopped to empty wheelie bins left out at the top of the farm track, from here I still have around a mile and half of road walking to do before reaching Fell Foot but at least I have views of Parlick to keep me company.

Passing through Wolfen Hall Farm (Estate)

The road starts to descend steeply before I make a right turn sign posted Wolfen Hall Farm which have been turned into Holiday Cottages some of which are up for sale.

Such an idyllic setting.

Parlick captured in wonderful afternoon light.

The road walking had started to become as tiring with quite steep and lenghty stretches involved but soon I found myself heading towards Fell Foot with fabulous views of a sun soaked Parlick in front of me. My car is parked just up the lane anD seeing as I hadn't eaten since my Frosties this morning I figured I would eat lunch whilst sat in my car all the while listening to daily updates on the Cumbrian Floods.

I needed today to happen for so many reasons, driving to work and back in the dark gets the best of us down and I am no different, a splash of light and fresh air does wonders for the soul, I only wish Cumbria's plight was as simple.


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