Fairfield Horseshoe. - (From Ambleside).

Forum » Walk Reports » Lake District

By Lancashire Lad on 09/06/18 at 1:54pm

Hills walked:
Low Pike (Wainwright, Birkett, Fellranger, and Synge)
Nab Scar (Wainwright, Birkett, Fellranger, and Synge)
Heron Pike (Rydal) (Wainwright, Birkett, Nuttall, Synge, and sub Sim)
High Pike (Scandale) (Wainwright, Birkett, Fellranger, and Synge)
Heron Pike North Top (Birkett, Nuttall, Fellranger, Synge, and sub Sim)
Dove Crag (Wainwright, Birkett, Hewitt, Nuttall, Fellranger, Synge, Sim, and Tump)
Great Rigg (Wainwright, Birkett, Hewitt, Nuttall, Fellranger, Synge, Sim, and Tump)
Hart Crag (Wainwright, Birkett, Hewitt, Nuttall, Fellranger, Synge, Sim, and Tump)
Fairfield (Wainwright, Birkett, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP, High Hill of Britain, Clem, Sim, Fellranger, Synge, and Tump)
Date started:24/05/2018
Distance:20.9 km or 13.0 miles
Ascent:1121m or 3678ft
Descent:1121m or 3678ft
Start OSGB:NY376042
Time taken:7:53

Thursday, 24th May was forecast to be a fine sunny day, so I made another trip to the Lake District with the idea of walking the Fairfield Horseshoe. - I'd previously been up most of the fells involved, but had never made a point of doing the actual Horseshoe.

Making an early start, I parked the car in the Lake Road carpark at Ambleside, at about 7:30am, and was pleased to discover that (at that particular carpark) a trial "Earlybird Offer" was in place, meaning that anyone arriving before 9am could park all day for just £1.00 - bargain!!!! (NB: that offer runs until end of June, so just a few weeks to go for anyone who might want to take advantage of it).

GPX track of the route walked: -

Walk elevation profile: -

From the carpark, I made my way through Ambleside's almost deserted early morning streets, to Nook End Farm and Low Sweden Bridge, where the fell-walk proper would begin. A few paces beyond Low Sweden Bridge brings you out onto the open fellside, with this view of Nab Scar, which will be the final fell of the horseshoe to be walked: -

Nab Scar.

A little further up the hill brings this view back towards Ambleside and Windermere: -

Ambleside & Windermere from High Sweden Coppice area.

The path begins to follow the drystone wall, (which extends all the way up the ridgeline to Dove Crag, although the wall is in a very bad state of repair in the region of Dove Crag itself).

The next landmarks to be reached as the ascent continues are Sweden Crag, (at left hand side in this photo), and Brock Crags - of which Low Brock Crags can be seen to right of centre: -

Sweden Crag & Low Brock Crags.

Approaching Low Brock Crags. - The path sticks immediately to the right of the wall for the short and easy scramble up the crags, although there are numerous alternative and equally enjoyable ways of scrambling up there: -

Approaching Low Brock Crags.

Looking down onto Rydal Water and the fells beyond - from beside Brock Crags: -

Rydal Water.

Above Brock Crags, the drystone wall continues its march up the fellside, with Low Pike and High Pike now prominent on the horizon: -

Low Pike & High Pike.

A view across to the Coniston fells, taken from just above Low Pike summit: -

The Coniston fells.

Looking back down to Low Pike, with Windermere beyond. - Taken from the ridge path between Low & High Pike: -

View back to Low Pike.

Looking back down the wall-line, towards High Pike summit, and Windermere in the distance: -

Looking back to High Pike.

Immediately after taking the shot above, and in order to revisit another good viewpoint, I detoured away from the accepted "Fairfield Horseshoe path", across the fellside to the cairn on High Bakestones. Which, for not a lot of extra effort, gives good views over to some of the far eastern fells. Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes, as seen from the cairn at High Bakestones: -

High Bakestones.

After the short detour, it was back across the fell to the wall-line, and onwards to Dove Crag summit, now just a few hundred yards distant. The south-westerly summit vista from Dove Crag: -

Dove Crag summit view.

A glimpse of Helvellyn's Striding Edge, as seen between the flanks of Hart Crag and St. Sunday Crag, from one of several cairns on the Dove Crag summit plateau: -

Striding Edge from Dove Crag.

Looking across to Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes from Dove Crag summit plateau: -

Place Fell etc.

The easterly vista towards Hartsop. - Angletarn Pikes to left, and the High Street range to right. (From Dove Crag summit plateau): -

Easterly view from Dove Crag.

Leaving Dove Crag, it's just a short distance over the broken crags and loose boulders, up to Hart Crag summit. The western vista from Hart Crag summit. - (Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike, The Scafell's, Great End, Great Gable, etc.): -

Hart Crag summit view.

A little way beyond Hart Crag summit brings this view back towards the Coniston Fells: -

The Coniston fells.

Approaching Scrubby Crag, between Hart Crag and Fairfield: -

Scrubby Crag.

Looking down Deepdale, towards Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes. (Part of Scrubby Crag at extreme left hand side of shot): -

View along Deepdale.

Hutaple Crag and Deepdale, from the flanks of Fairfield: -

Hutaple Crag.

Cofa Pike and St, Sunday Crag - from the flanks of Fairfield: -

Cofa Pike & St. Sunday Crag.

Once I'd reached Fairfield summit, I stopped for lunch and then had a good wander around the summit plateau looking for photo opportunities. (Hence the reason why the Fairfield area on the Walk Elevation Profile looks rather odd!).

Great Gable and Fleetwith Pike, (from Fairfield), seen across Seat Sandal, Steel Fell, Glaramara, etc.: -

Towards the Gables etc. (From Fairfield).

Grisedale Tarn and the view towards the north-western fells, from Fairfield: -

Grisedale Tarn.

Crinkle Crags and Bowfell, with Langdale Pikes and Eagle Crag in front. As seen across Easedale Tarn, viewed from Fairfield: -

Easedale Tarn view.

Leaving Fairfield, I began the return leg of the walk, on the long slow descent towards Great Rigg and Heron Pike. Looking down Rydal Valley towards Windermere. (Great Rigg and Heron Pike to right hand side): -

Great Rigg - Heron Pike.

Looking back from the approach to Great Rigg. Grisedale Tarn and the flanks of Fairfield. With Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike, & Helvellyn being seen beyond: -

Grisedale Tarn & Helvellyn etc.

The western vista, as seen from the summit cairn on Great Rigg: -

Great Rigg summit view.

Bowfell, The Scafells, Esk Pike, and Great End, with Easedale Tarn to front left, as seen from Great Rigg: -

Easedale Tarn view.

Looking back to Rydal Head from the path towards Heron Pike. - Great Rigg, Fairfield, and Hart Crag on the horizon: -

Rydal Head.

Looking towards Windermere. - Heron Pike at right hand side of shot: -

Heron Pike - Windermere.

A zoomed-in close up of Bowfell and the Scafell's, with the Langdale Pikes in front. (From ridgeline approach to Heron Pike): -


Looking back towards Rydal Head: -

Rydal Head.

Approaching Nab Scar, with the Coniston range on horizon: -

Coniston Range.

Looking down to Grasmere: -

Grasmere lake.

Looking down to Rydal Water: -

Rydal Water.

A zoomed-in view of Rydal Cave on Loughrigg Fell. (Seen from just above Nab Scar): -

Loughrigg Cave.

Looking over Grasmere towards Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, and the Langdale Pikes: -

Grasmere & beyond.

Ambleside and Windermere, (with part of Rydal Water at right hand side), as seen from Nab Scar: -

Ambleside & Windermere.

Looking across to Low Pike and High Pike, (the first two fells of this walk), from flanks of Nab Scar: -

High Pike & Low Pike.

Almost down, with part of the Rydal Park path back to Ambleside being seen in centre of shot: -

Ladder stile.

Descending Nab Scar brought me out beside Hart Head Farm, from where I walked through the grounds of Rydal Hall and Rydal Park back to Ambleside and the car. Walking back towards Ambleside, through the Grounds of Rydal Hall and Rydal Park: -

Rydal Hall grounds.

Another great day out in the Lakes!

Regards, Mike.

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