A Fair Snape Fell Circuit

12th January 2020

it's been a pretty eventful week in terms of planning where to walk due to the M6 between junctions 32 & 33 being closed this weekend, there were diversions but I didn't fancy being sat in lengthy delays on my way home from Lakeland so I set about planning walks in the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Forest of Bowland. It's all fair and well planning to walk in different National Parks other than the Lake District but if the weather doesn't play ball you may find yourself looking at numerous plan B walks which is exactly what happend which can be very frustrating.

The forecast for much of northern England and indeed north Wales was a wet morning which would clear making way for a little brightness come the afternoon, this type of forecast just wasn't any good given the limited daylight hours so instead of getting soaked todays walk in the Forest of Bowland started late morning which by theory should allow the rain and low cloud to clear leaving the afternoon relatively cloud free, I kinda got it right but that wasn't to say I didn't enjoy another fantastic walk right here in the county where I live.

Ordnance Survey OL41
Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale

Ascent: 1,700 Feet - 518 Meters
Hewitt: 3, Parlick - Fair Snape Fell - Saddle Fell
Weather: Overcast & Low Cloud To Start, Blustery Over The Summits. Cloud Lifting & Sunny PM. Highs of 7°C Lows of 7°C
Parking: Roadside Parking, Fell Foot Farm
Area: Forest of Bowland
Miles: 6.2
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL41
Time Taken: 2 Hours 50 Minutes
Route: Fell Foot Farm - Parlick - Nicks Chair - Fair Snape Fell - Saddle Fell - Saddle End Farm - Wolfen Mill - Fish House Lane - Fell Foot

Parking Details and Map Edale Village Hall
Nearest Post Code: PR3 2NQ
Grid Reference: SD 601 442


Map and Photo Gallery


Looking over Fell Foot towards Longridge Fell 11:30am 7°C

The Forest of Bowland is only one hours drive from my house and no sooner had I finished my travel mug of coffee I was pulling up at Fell Foot after driving through flooded roads which didn't come as a surprise as it had rained heavily yesterday through the night into this morning. Despite this the parking spaces along the lane were almost full but I still managed to park without a problem. High winds had been forecast which were evident the moment I opened the car door so along with my gaiters hat and gloves are added from the off. A couple had just set off before me and had took the direct 'steeper' ascent onto todays first summit of Parlick whereas I veer left across the waist of the fell side before the final steep push towards the summit.

Shafts of sunlight breaking through dense cloud over Longridge.
I continued to follow the path which resembled a stream after recent rain fall and by the time I arrived at the steep section just below the summit I was struggling for grip which turned this part of the ascent into a one step forward two steps back kind of ascent, on the plus side however the cloud around me is creating all types of dramatics clearing views as far as the Fylde Coast and Blackpool Tower some 20 miles away.

Parlick Fell summit cairn.
During those last few minutes of my ascent I could see the cloud lowering over the summit which I thought might clear by the time I arrived but it wasn't so. The couple who had taken the direct route were just about to arrive so I pushed on into the cloud quietly hoping the cloiud was going to clear sometime soon.

Following the fenceline across Blindhurst Fell.
Despite total lack of views I really enjoyed this section of the ridge where the cloud would occasionally lift before blanketing the ridge again.

Fair Snape Fell from Blindhurst Fell.
Just ahead I pass through a wooden sty before the fence makes way for a stone wall on the shoulder of Fair Snape Fell seen up ahead.

Patches of sunlight illuminate the fields below.
I'm hoping this is a sign that the cloud is about to clear.

Looking back over Blindhurst Fell towards Parlick.
Taken during another break in the cloud.

Huge walking group, Fair Snape Fell.
I passed this long line of walkers numbering easily 40 walkers not far from Fair Snape Fell summit and the only thing that occupied my mind was where were they all parked?

Fair Snape Fell summit Trig Point.

I squelched my way towards Fair Snape Fell summit and with it further into the cloud I went. By the time I arrived the wind was quite strong which created a rather cool windchill before spotting three walkers huddled in the summit shelter. It was never my intention to stop so after a quick photo I turned heel and followed a faint path north easterly into the unknown...

Well, not exactly unknown but it sure felt that way!

Path linking Fair Snape Fell to Saddle Fell.
Don't let this photo fool you it took some yomping through ankle deep bog before I reached the safety of this path which links Fair Snape Fell with Saddle Fell. On my first visit in good visibility I gave up looking for this path but found it during my second also in good visibility. Today I had done my homework and located the path quite easily, all that is left now is to follow it for around three quarters of a mile towards a gate a the top of Saddle Fell.

That's three quarters of a mile of Isolation.
Despite years of experience in conditions such as todays there's nothing like walking over open moorland to create a spooky eeriness.

Gate, top of Saddle Fell.
The path slowly descends towards the gate at the top of Saddle Fell during which time I also dipped out of the cloud. Here I pass through the gate and head right down the grassy slopes of Saddle Fell.

Parlick silhouettes.

Cloud dramatics as I descend Saddle Fell.

Pendle Hill (left) and Longridge Fell (right)
It would seem it's trying to brighten up.

Looking back on Saddle Fell.
The sunlight was by now creating some wonderful dramatics by which time the cloud was starting to clear from Fair Snape Fell and Saddle Fell which was good news for the couple and their young daughter who had stopped to ask me how long would it take them to reach Fair Snape Fell "one hour" the chap asked? "slightly less" I replied.

Wolf Fell.

Wolf Fell and Saddle Fell.
Seen as I approach Saddle End.


Saddle End and Saddle End Farm.
With Saddle Fell behind me the path passes through Saddle End Farm and then onto its access road seen here. The last time I was here I was over run by a flock of the tamest Hens I had ever seen, I wondered would I have the same experience today soon getting my answer as I approached the dip in the road below where once again I was greeted by the Hens who followed me half the way up the road. I guess they could smell my lunch which I was just about to eat whilst on route to Wolfen Mill Estate.

Longridge Fell.

By the time I reached the lane between Wolfen Mill Estate and Fell Foot it was turning into a lovely afternoon with a low winter sun under a cloudless sky.

Just wonderful.


Long shadows.
On route to Wolfen Mill Estate.

Wolfen Mill Estate.
I turned right and descended the steep tarmac lane and passed through Wolfen Mill which now hosts ten luxury cottages which are set within the tranquil setting of Wolfen Hall Plantation.

Parlick and Broadhurst Fell from Fish House Lane.
A this point I was kinda wishing the walk wasn't coming to an end.


Saddle Fell and Burnslack Fell from Windy Arbour/Fish House Lane.

Low sun over Out Lane Head cottages.

Cloud gathering over Saddle Fell.


Despite much of todays walk being in low cloud by the time I was heading back to my car all that was forgotten about under a wonderful array of Winter sunshine. Not wanting to end this walk my pace slowed, I took in my surroundings whilst scouring the slopes of Parlick looking for walkers heading back to their cars of which I spot just two. I'm ahead of my last route time by twenty minutes and that means I can walk even slower, I ooze in the sunlight which lifts spirits no end, even after all these years of walking the fells my mind still struggles to deal with the fact that just under three hours ago all this was murk and grey and look at it now.

The Peak District will come, and so too will Snowdonia but you know what, I was treated to good O'l Lancashire today and its rewards were plentiful.


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