The Fairfield Horseshoe

The Fairfield Horseshoe is an absolute classic Lake District walk and deserves its popularity, rewarding the walker with fine views overlooking much of Lakeland.

As distance goes it is not excessively far: 16.4km (10.2 miles), it's the ups and downs on both ridges that take their toll. The east side of the Low Pike to High Pike section of the east ridge can be particularly boggy. There is a sign: "Warning Deep Bog". We're not sure its advice to head for the wall is for the best. A wide skirt below the patch, away from the wall may be better, perhaps. Or as we did thread a meandering line testing each footstep carefully lest a foot disappeared into the peat followed rapidly by the rest of us.

Weather forecasts only tell part of the day's unfolding story. Local conditions can and do vary considerably. What is a pleasant enough day in Ambleside can be rather brutal by the time you get onto Fairfield.

Do not underestimate the seriousness of this walk.

Whilst navigation is a largely a case of keeping left, the summit area of Fairfield can be confusing in mist. This is where a compass can be useful to ensure the correct way off is taken. From the collection of cairns and windshelters, the ridge to Great Rigg is approximately south and of a gentle slope.

Parking in Ambleside is relatively abundant. Rydal Road car park would be a good choice.