A Fairsnape Fell Circuit

7th March 2020

Today I'm back on the outskirts of the Lancashire village of Chipping walking on what are fastly becoming my local 'go to' fells in Parlick and Fairsnape Fell....Ok admittedly I only normally tend to come here if the weather is bad on the Lakeland fells which isn't really fair because walking here is equally entertaining at all levels.

It's been quite an unsettled week which I thought we were at the back end of but after this afternoons walk it proved that Winter hasn't lost its grip just yet. Todays walk bore all the hallmarks of the classic Winter/Spring transition, fair at valley level but Wintery across the tops, a term I would only associate when up high on the Lakeland fells was what was felt on the lowland Bowland fells where the wind speed reached up to 60mph coupled with a mix of rain and hail it was time to batten down the hatches and enjoy the Bowland fells in all their wildness.

Ordnance Survey OL41
Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale

Ascent: 1,700 Feet - 518 Metres
Wainwrights: 3, Parlick - Fair Snape Fell - Saddle Fell
Weather: Cloudy With Spells Of Sunshine, Gail force Winds Across The Tops. Highs of 10°C Lows of 3.4°C Ma Wind Speed 55mph
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 30 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
Nearest Post Code: PR2 3NQ
Grid Reference: SD 601 442


Map and Photo Gallery


Parlick from Fell Foot 12:30pm 10°C

The forecast was mixed at best and seconds after stopping to take this photo of Parlick while in sunshine it had started to hail quite heavily which forced me back in the car, the skies had turned grey and I decided to eat lunch while sitting the shower out. Fifteen minutes later the hail shower had stopped around the same time a young chap parked his Peugeot a couple of cars down from mine, locked up, threw a bag over his shoulder and headed towards Parlick.

I was half ready I just needed to add my Jacket and shoulder up by which time I could see the young chap ascending Parlick directly as opposed to the path which strides the waist of the fell to the west. The direct route was the same route I was about to take which despite the route not being of great height it's a real lung buster straight from the car.

A long distant view of Longridge Fell.
Longridge by name, Longridge by nature.

Fairsnape Fell from Parlick.

The young chap disappeared over the summit shoulder who I later found sat by the stone shelter (seen left) no doubt seeking shelter from the increasing wind. The steep ascent coupled with a wind that was blowing fiercely from the west opened my eyes as to what I was going to expect for the next couple of hours and I mentally prepared myself for what lied ahead, I wouldn't have blamed anyone for turning heel right now, in fact the thought did cross my mind.

After getting my breath back I wondered past the chap who was still sat in the shelter and gave him a thumbs up as I past, he appeared ok and smiled in return.

Fairsnape Fell and Saddle Fell.

What happened next was a little strange, as soon as I passed the chap he got up and started to walk behind me keeping about ten yards in distance. At first I was struck by how confident the lad appeared hitting the steep ascent with all guns blazing but I wasn't so sure now. If it's a confident thing then that's fine too, being up here under such conditions is testing so I paid it no more thought.

However, I could be wrong...

Fairsnape Fell.
With Blindhurst Fell in the foreground.

Fairsnape Fell and Blindhurst Fell.

The wind was becoming a slight problem and so was picture taking and so was walking. The more exposed the more difficult it was to put one foot in front of the other, not helped by my ultra light carbon walking poles which at any given chance flapped around menacingly crossing my path and almost tripping me up. I checked behind me the young chap was still heading towards me if not a sideways but above that, he seemed ok. It was here while the wind seemed the strongest I took out my anemometer and recorded gust of 55mph - averaging 44mph.

The lad by now had caught me up and I tried to make conversation but it was useless he just couldn't hear me over the howl of the wind so using my index finger I drew two 5's smirked a little and waited for his reaction which was wide eyed to say the least. I gave him another thumbs up and he overtook me then de-shouldered, bent down and tightened one of his shoe laces, I pass him again, then pass through a wooden sty and began the gusty but short ascent on Blindhurst Fell, the young chap followed closely from behind which convinced me he didn't want to pass me, rather follow which I was cool with.

Looking back on Blindhurst Fell and Parlick.
The gap between the young chap has widened slightly as I pushed myself towards Fairsnape Fell summit.

Sunshine as Fairsnape Fell appears.
It wasn't very often that the sun came out but when it did it set the fell side alive. Up head three walkers and their dog are approaching.

The sunshine continued for a few minutes more.
As I looked back on Blindhurst Fell and Parlick.

Looking back on Blindhurst Fell and Parlick.

Paddy's Pole on Fairsnape Fell.
I was pushing myself into the gale which caused my eyes to stream put I still managed a smile as I passed the three walkers one of whom was bravely wearing shorts, core blimey rather him than me I thow't.

Fairsnape Fell summit.
All of todays images were taken by my mobile phone which was nearly blown out of my hands while taking this photo, just as the young chap approached I left the summit and walked east taking a short cut towards the top of Wolf Fell.

Flipping eck!
Down came the hail!

Footpath, Wolf Fell - bound for Saddle Fell.

This footpath isn't located easily, I kinda stumbled on it some years ago while crossing the peaty head off Wolf Fell and I repeat my mistake every time I return. To gain the path without traversing the peat hags Fairsnape Fell is left northwards before the path is located easting. If the young chap knows the area he will locate this path by the proper means and not cross the peat hags as I did but after he gained the summit he followed me over the peat hags.

My thoughts turned to 'he is following me for guidance' which again I was fine with, trouble is he best keep up because Wolf Fell in adverse conditions isn't a nice place to be if you can't navigate for yourself.

A distant view of Fairoak Fell and Totridge.
I slowed to a crawl while crossing the head of Wolf Fell sometimes spotting the young lads head and shoulders before they disappeared behind mountains of peat. My route through had been anything but straight forward after detouring the peaty waterlogged bogs and after continuing to check the lads whereabouts he appeared, right I thought, we're on the home leg now and with that, the sun came back out.

That's Pendle Hill about to get a soaking seen after passing over Longridge Fell.
I'm not sure what the contents are within the cloud but I'm sure glad it isn't heading this way.

Looking back on Saddle Fell.
The young lad would often catch up within 'shouting distance' but the gap would also widen at times.

About to pass through Saddle End Farm.
In more sunshine even if it was for just for a few moments.

Hey up girls.

Daffodils would often line the road as I walked towards Wolfen Hall Estate.
Looking like I'd just come out the spin drier and with dried tears etched down my cheeks seeing the daffodils was a welcome and highlight of the walk which also convinced me that Spring really is just around the corner.

Parlick from Fell Foot.
I really have come to love this route having repeated it many times no wonder it's becoming my local go to walk, even if I'`m followed by a young novice walker who had experienced the same conditions as I had and who no doubt was looking forward to the warmth of the car heater. My guidance is thanked by the young lad with a smile and a thumbs up which I return as I wait for the car to warm up five minutes after arriving back.


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