button to main menu  Old Cumbria Gazetteer
included in:-  

 Fairfield, Lakes
Fairfield, Lakes: ascent 1855
site name:-   Fairfield
civil parish:-   Lakes (formerly Westmorland)
civil parish:-   Patterdale (formerly Westmorland)
county:-   Cumbria
locality type:-   hill
locality type:-   historic ascent
coordinates:-   NY35871176
1Km square:-   NY3511
10Km square:-   NY31
altitude:-   2864 feet
altitude:-   873m

evidence:-   old text:- Martineau 1855
item:-  rain gauge
source data:-   Guide book, A Complete Guide to the English Lakes, by Harriet Martineau, published by John Garnett, Windermere, Westmorland, and by Whittaker and Co, London, 1855; published 1855-76.
image MNU1P058, button  goto source
Page 58:-  "... Fairfield? That excursion is safe, not over fatiguing, practicable for a summer day, and presenting scenery as characteristic as can be found. Let it be Fairfield."
"The stranger should ascend to the ridge, either through Rydal forest, (for which leave is requisite, and not always easily obtained,) or by the road to the Nook which anybody will shew him. The Nook is a farmhouse in a glorious situation as he will"
image MNU1P059, button  goto source
Page 59:-  "see when he gets there and steps into the field on the left, to look abroad from the brow. He then passes under its old trees to where the voice of falling waters calls him onward. Scandale Beck comes tumbling down its rocky channel, close at hand. He must cross the bridge, and follow the cart-road, which brings him out at once upon the fells. What he has to aim at is the ridge above Rydal forest or park, from whence his way is plain,- round the whole cul-de-sac of Fairfield, to Nab Scar. He sees it all; and the only thing is to do it: and we know of no obstacle to his doing it, unless it be the stone wall which divides the Scandale from the Rydal side of the ridge. These stone walls are an inconvenience to pedestrians, and a great blemish in the eyes of strangers. ..."
image MNU1P060, button  goto source
Page 60:-  "... One of these walls it is which runs along the ridge and bounds Rydal Park. There may be a gate in it; or one which enables the stranger to get round it. If not, he must get over it; and, if he does so, high enough up, it may save him another climb. The nearer the ridge, the fewer the remaining walls between him and liberty. ..."
image MNU1P061, button  goto source
Page 61:-  "... Ascending from these shades [Rydal Park] through a more straggling woodland, the stranger arrives at a clump on the ridge,- the last clump, and thenceforth feels himself wholly free. His foot is on the springy mountain moss; and many a cushion of heather tempts him to sit down and look abroad. There may still be a frightened cow or two, wheeling away, with tail aloft, as he comes onwards; and a few sheep are still crouching in the shadows of the rocks, or staring at him from the knolls. If he plays the child and bleats, he will soon see how many there are. It is one of the amusements of a good mimic in such places to bring about him all the animals there are, by imitating their cries. One may assemble a flock of sheep, and lead them far out of bounds in this way; and bewildered enough they look when the bleat ceases, and they are left to find their way back again. It is in such places as this that the truth of some of Wordsworth's touches may be recognised, which are most amusing to cockney readers. Perhaps no passage has been more ridiculed than that which tells of the "solemn bleat" of"
""a lamb left somewhere to itself,
The plaintive spirit of the solitude.""
"The laughers are thinking of a cattle market, or a flock of sheep on a dusty road; and they know nothing of the effect of a single bleat of a stray lamb high up on the mountains. If they had ever felt the profound"
image MNU1P062, button  goto source
Page 62:-  "stillness of the higher fells, or heard it broken by the plaintive cry, repeated and not answered, they would be aware that there is a true solemnity in the sound."
"Still further on, when the sheep are all left behind, he may see a hawk perched upon a great boulder. He will see it take flight when he comes near, and cleave the air below him, and hang above the woods,- to the infinite terror, as he knows, of many a small creature there, and then whirl away to some distant part of the park. Perhaps a heavy buzzard may rise, flapping, from its nest on the moor, or pounce from a crag in the direction of any water-birds that may be about the springs and pools in the hills. There is no other sound, unless it be the hum of the gnats in the hot sunshine. There is an aged man in the district, however, who hears more than this, and sees more than people below would, perhaps, imagine. An old shepherd has the charge of four rain gauges which are set up on four ridges,- desolate, misty spots, sometimes below and often above the clouds. He visits each once a month, and notes down what these guages (sic) record; and when the tall old man, with his staff, passes out of sight into the cloud, or among the cresting rocks, it is a striking thought that science has set up a tabernacle in these wildernesses, and found a priest among the shepherds. That old man has seen and heard wonderful things:- has trod upon rainbows, and been waited upon by a dim retinue of spectral mists. He has seen the hail and the lightnings go forth as from under his hand, and has stood in the sunshine, listening to the thunder growling, and the tempest bursting beneath his feet."
image MNU1P063, button  goto source
Page 63:-  "He well knows the silence of the hills, and all the solemn ways in which that silence is broken. The stranger, however, coming hither on a calm summer day may well fancy that a silence like this can never be broken."
"Looking abroad, what does he see? The first impression probably is of the billowy character of the mountain groups around and below him. This is perhaps the most striking feature of such a scene to a novice; and the next is the flitting character of the mists. One ghostly peak after another seems to rise out of its shroud; and then the shroud winds itself round another. Here the mist floats over a valley; there it reeks out of a chasm: here it rests upon a green slope; there it curls up a black precipice. The sunny vales below look like a paradise, with their bright meadows and waters and shadowy woods, and little knots of villages. To the south there is the glittering sea; and the estuaries of the Leven and Duddon, with their stretches of yellow sands. To the east there is a sea of bill tops. On the north, Ullswater appears, grey and calm at the foot of black precipices; and nearer may be traced the whole pass from Patterdale, where Brothers' Water lies invisible from hence. The finest point of the whole excursion is about the middle of the cul-de-sac, where, on the northern sides, there are tremendous precipices, overlooking Deepdale, and other sweet recesses far below. Here, within hearing of the torrents which tumble from those precipices, the rover should rest. He will see nothing so fine as the contrast of this northern view with the long green slope on the other side, down to the source of Rydal"
image MNU1P064, button  goto source
Page 64:-  "Beck, and then down and down to Rydal Woods and Mount. He is now 2,950 feet above the sea level; and he has surely earned his meal. If the wind troubles him, he can doubtless find a sheltered place under a rock. If he can sit on the bare ridge, he is the more fortunate."
"The further he goes, the more amazed he is at the extent of the walk, which looked such a trifle from below. Waking out of a reverie, an hour after dinner, he sees that the sun is some way down the western sky. He hastens on, not heeding the boggy spaces, and springing along the pathless heather and moss, seeing more and more lakes and tarns every quarter of an hour. In the course of the day he sees ten. Windermere, and little Blelham Tarn beyond, he saw first. Ullswater was below him to the north when he dined; and, presently after, a tempting path guided his eye to Grisedale Tarn, lying in the pass from Patterdale to Grasmere. Here are four. Next, comes Grasmere, with Easedale Tarn above it, in its mountain hollow: then Rydal, of course, at his feet; and Elterwater beyond the western ridges; and finally, to the south-west, Esthwaite Water and Coniston. There are the ten. Eight of these may be seen at once from at least one point - Nab Scar, whence he must take his last complete survey; for from hence he must plunge down the steep slope, and bid farewell to all that lies behind the ridge. The day has gone like an hour. The sunshine is leaving the surface of the nearer lakes, and the purple bloom of the evening is on the further mountains; and the gushes of yellow light between the"
image MNU1P065, button  goto source
Page 65:-  "western passes show that sunset is near. He must hasten down,- mindful of the opening between the fences, which he remarked from below, and which, if he finds, he cannot lose his way. He does not seriously lose his way, though crag and bog make him diverge now and then. Descending between the inclosures, he sits down once or twice, to relieve the fatigue to the ancle (sic) and instep of so continuous a descent, and to linger a little over the beauty of the evening scene. As he comes down into the basin where Rydal Beck makes its last gambols and leaps, before entering the park, he is sensible of the approach of night. Loughrigg seems to rise: the hills seem to close him in, and the twilight to settle down. He comes to a gate, and finds himself in the civilised world again. He descends the green lane at the top of Rydal Mount, comes out just above Wordsworth's gate, finds his car at the bottom of the hill,- (the driver beginning to speculate on whether any accident has befallen the gentleman on the hills,) is driven home, and is amazed, on getting out, to find how stiff and tired he is. He would not, however, but have spent such a day for ten times the fatigue. ..."

button to lakes menu  Lakes Guides menu.