The Escape Room – Fairfield Horseshoe

A Rip Roaring Romp

Having notched up 13 Wainwrights in stunning, clear, calm weather before the official launch on 2 June on Latrigg, the blustery, wet weather served as a wake up call that this was not going to be easy. And so I spent a week watching the weather wondering if I would be able to get the challenge off with a rip-roaring romp around the Fairfield Horseshoe on the forthcoming  weekend or would I be beetling up and down Binsey in half an hour and retreating to the Sun Inn in Bassenthwaite, working out how many years it will take to do all the Wainwrights one at a time?

The stormy weather played ball and passed through on Saturday so we woke up to a warm but cloudy Sunday morning and very out of character for my family the alarm went off at the usual 7am. To be walking out of Ambleside at 10:10am was quite an achievement, not least because the compass fell apart, so trying to  teach Bheinn  (12yo) how to orientate the map with a compass held together with an elastic band that had seen better days proved an early challenge.  Luckily the good weather stayed with us and visibility was 100%, so the orienteering lesson was more in principal than in practice.

The aim of the day was to tick off the 8 fells of the Fairfield Horseshoe (Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Heron Cragg and Nab Scar) bringing my total to 22.  A day to breathe in the the views and leave the cares of the day below us behind.  I hoped….

As we rose between Low Pike and High Pike I could hear a gaggle of voices behind me.  I looked around to see one man and wondered why I could not see the group following up behind.  We walked on and as he approached the noise of the crowd grew louder. I was shocked, when he passed, that he was alone apart from the millions of people listening, on the same wavelength, to the Cricket World Cup being broadcast to the world from the back of his rucksack.  My jaw dropped and as I exclaimed “Why? the broadcaster co-incidentally cried out to the open fell…“the question is why?” So as I puffed to the top of High Pike, and the chatter of the radio disappeared into the wind I was ruminating on the word WHY.  Why would somebody be so selfish as to bring the noise we come to escape into our little piece of heaven? Why would they think it is in the least bit acceptable to broadcast this to everybody? Why would he dare to ruin my day? Why do we come onto the fells? Why do I think my interpretation of use of the Fells is superior to anybody else’s?

The Question is Why

I know I walk in the fells to leave the cares of the world at ground level, for fitness, for self-fulfillment and achievement, to catch the wind, to catch the sun, to see the grandeur of the world to remind me of my small place among its majesty and to be among like-minded people, in short, to belong.

Being confronted by this disturbance from the real world  had touched on insulting  the senses of escaping in order to belong to something superior,  but I had to ask myself was I not doing something similar? Was my spinning wheel challenge not bringing the everyday into the world of the escape room?

One of the problems I had with deciding to embark on this charity event is that I do not like asking people to sponsor me.  I have always believed that the main reason to achieve something is for your own betterment and self development.  Also, having notched up the best part of 100 marathons, and various ultras in the past, I find it difficult to convince anybody that I am doing anything extraordinary or challenging enough to warrant sponsorship.  I also do not like to disturb other people’s enjoyment. I think that just because I love doing something it does not have to be of interest to anybody else (perhaps I am too self contained for my own good).  I debated if  just seeing me with a spinning wheel might destroy the seclusion. or that I might be responsible for interrupting somebody else’s walk with a reminder of everyday life they have left behind by my request for charitable donation, even if that is only implied by my being there, I might ruin somebody else’s day. Could my actions be just as imposing on somebody else’s day as the noise from a radio?

When I put the question to my son as to why he likes to walk in the mountains he cleared up the dilemma

his list was :

Because it gets me away from my computer games.

It stops you nagging me to get away from my computer games.

Because it stops me getting unfit and fat.

Because it’s nice.

“What is nice about it?” I asked, “what feelings does it give you to describe that nice feeling?”

I feel healthy and I can eat lots of biscuits.

It’s nice when I get back to my computer games!

In a nutshell we head out into the hills to get away from it all so we appreciate what we have more fully when we return.

So  I hope my challenge is extraordinary and challenging enough to lift it from the everyday and not cause anybody’s enjoyment to be disturbed and that my own enjoyment of spinning will be affected by taking it with me into place we go to escape?

#spinherdwick #candocalvert #louetnorthamerica
Raising money for the Lake District Calvert Trust.  Donations can be made at:


Posted in Spin-A-Round.