The Classic Fairfield Horseshoe

Starting from Ambleside we did the Fairfield Horseshoe taking in

Nab Scar                                                                                      1450 ft

Heron Pike                                                                                  2003 ft

Great Rigg                                                                                   2513 ft

Fairfield                                                                                       2863 ft

Hart Crag                                                                                    2698 ft

Dove Crag                                                                                    2603 ft

High Pike                                                                                      2155 ft

Low Pike                                                                                       1657 ft

A total of 11.5 miles and 3300 ft of ascent.

Starting from the Rydal Road car park in Ambleside we walked along the A591 towards Grasmere before turning right jest beyond Scandale Bridge. The next section was an easy stroll through Rydal Park to reach the road opposite Rydal Mount. We turned right to head uphill and begin our first climb to the craggy top of Nab Scar. On the way there were lovely views looking down on Rydal Water 1000ft below us and back towards Windermere. It was then easy walking to Heron Pike. The undulating path continued along an almost flat ridge passing a coup-le of shallow pools. Conditions were perfect with fantastic visibility. To the west we could pick out most of the major peaks in the Lake District whilst to our right were the steep slopes of Rydale. We could follow the skyline and see our route for the rest of the day. It seemed a long way.

The wide path led up to the large plateau of Fairfield with its multi-chambered windbreak. The summit of Fairfield can be confusing in mist but today there were no such problems. We enjoyed the views looking down into Deepdale and from a point a little to the North West we could see the pointed top of Cofa Pike and the ridge descending towards St Sunday Crag.

After lunch we followed the cairned path going south-east to Link Hause and onwards to Hart Crag. We were following the remains of a collapsed wall which would guide us all the way back to Ambleside. The going became harder as we picked our way between large stones. We paused near the summit cairns of Hart Crag and Dove Crag to take photos and to gaze down into Dovedale.

From Dove Crag the descent was on grass with some boggy sections but we kept with the wall to climb over the top of High Pike. The descent became steeper as we headed for Low Pike. We detoured to the left to avoid the ‘bad step’ a little vertical section that is OK going up but tricky in descent.

We could now see Ambleside side ahead of us and the promise of a tea shop. The views ahead of Windermere made an impressive end to the walk. It had been a challenging but rewarding day and we enjoyed a pot of tea and cream cake before our long journey home.


About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
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