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.