We normally reserve the Saturday for the biggest walk of the weekend, as everyone is staying over Saturday night and we can make the most of a long day. So back in April, we decided to use the Saturday to walk the Fairfield Horseshoe. One of the classic walks in the Lakes, as the name suggests, it is a horseshoe walk with the peak of Fairfield at its summit. Whilst I had reached Fairfield summit before, walking up from the Brotherswater Inn via Hart Crag and Dove Crag, I had never done the horseshoe. And whilst the walk took in the 3 Wainwrights I had been to before, it also allowed me to bag 5 more.
The full walk from Ambleside, in a clockwise direction, takes in Nab Scar (455m), Heron Pike (767m), Great Rigg (767m), Fairfield (873m), Hart Crag (822m), Dove Crag (792m), High Pike (612m) and Low Pike (507m) - we parked cars in two different locations, at the start and end of the walk, cutting out a stretch on the road - leaving a walk of 9.25 miles.
A pdf of this route can be found here.
The initial walk up to Nab Scar soon provides glorious views back towards Ambleside and Lake Windermere.
And Rydal water also soon comes into view.
And further along, the end of Grasmere also comes into view.
As you get higher, the view opens out behind you.
Before you reach the summit cairn of Nab Scar.
At this stage in the walk we were very lucky with the weather, with the sun and cloud producing lovely patterns on the surrounding fells.
As we walked higher, the view behind left now included Grasmere as well.
And as we went over Heron Pike towards Great Rigg, the Rydal Valley opened up to our right.
The summit of Great Rigg provides a wide vista including Windermere, Esthwaite Water and Coniston Water, and the sea beyond.
You can see from the above photo that the weather was starting to close in. The temperature dropped, and for a while we were treated to strong winds and an April hailstorm. As someone said, it was like drawing sandpaper down our faces!!
By the time we reached Fairfield summit I decided to keep my camera in my bag - I had after all got some images from this point before, in much better conditions. So if you are interested in the view from Fairfield summit, towards the Helvellyn range, and over St Sunday Crag and Dovedale, please use the link to the Fairfield gallery at the foot of this post.
Fairfield summit is a small diversion from the quickest route around the horseshoe. By the time we returned to this route, the light was better, with some stunning views down the Rydal Valley.
At this point, the shape of the horseshoe starts to become clear, and our route up Heron Pike and Great Rigg can be very clearly seen on the right.
Hart Crag lies further along the end of the horseshoe.
Light was streaming down the neighbouring Scandale valley.
We then reached Dove Crag, and the start of the route back (marked by the wall).
The route back takes you down the other side of the horseshoe, over High Pike and Low Pike, with the view of Lake Windermere getting closer and closer These final images are looking from High Pike down towards Low Pike (the latter requires a short scramble to get to the summit cairn).
This is a great walk and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day.
For more images from this walk please go to the Fairfield Horseshoe gallery here.
For images from my previous visit to Fairfield summit, please go to the Fairfield gallery here.