Fairfield Horsehoe

October 27, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Fairfield Horseshoe
 

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.
 

Fairfield HorsehoeFairfield HorsehoeRecorded on Suunto Ambit 3 Peak 23.04.16

Lake District, Cumbria UK
 
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.
 

Ambleside & Windermere looking back from route up to Nab ScarAmbleside & Windermere looking back from route up to Nab ScarFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

And Rydal water also soon comes into view.  
 

Windermere & Rydal WaterWindermere & Rydal WaterFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

And further along, the end of Grasmere also comes into view.
 

Rydal Water, with Grasmere in ViewRydal Water, with Grasmere in ViewFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

Windermere & Rydal WaterWindermere & Rydal WaterFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

As you get higher, the view opens out behind you.
 

Windermere view, Nab ScarWindermere view, Nab ScarFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK


 

Before you reach the summit cairn of Nab Scar.
 

Windermere from Nab Scar summitWindermere from Nab Scar summitFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

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.
 

Lakeland LightLakeland LightFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

As we walked higher, the view behind left now included Grasmere as well.
 

Windermere & Grasmere on route to Great RiggWindermere & Grasmere on route to Great RiggFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

And as we went over Heron Pike towards Great Rigg, the Rydal Valley opened up to our right.
 

View back towards Windermere on ascent from Heron Pike to Great RiggView back towards Windermere on ascent from Heron Pike to Great RiggFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

The summit of Great Rigg provides a wide vista including Windermere, Esthwaite Water and Coniston Water, and the sea beyond.
 

Great Rigg SummitGreat Rigg SummitFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

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.
 

Rydal Beck Valley from Rydal Head - our way up over Heron Pike & Great Rigg is on the rightRydal Beck Valley from Rydal Head - our way up over Heron Pike & Great Rigg is on the rightFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

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.
 

Rydal Beck Valley from Rydal Head - our way up over Heron Pike & Great Rigg is on the rightRydal Beck Valley from Rydal Head - our way up over Heron Pike & Great Rigg is on the rightFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

Hart Crag lies further along the end of the horseshoe.
 

Hart CragHart CragFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

Hart Crag viewHart Crag viewFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

Light was streaming down the neighbouring Scandale valley.
 

Scandale LightScandale LightFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

We then reached Dove Crag, and the start of the route back (marked by the wall).
 

Dove Crag summitDove Crag summitFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

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).
 

View towards Windermere and Low Pike from High PikeView towards Windermere and Low Pike from High PikeFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

View towards Windermere and Low Pike from High PikeView towards Windermere and Low Pike from High PikeFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

View towards Windermere and Low Pike from High PikeView towards Windermere and Low Pike from High PikeFairfield Horseshoe

Lake District, Cumbria, UK

 

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.
 


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