The Fairfield Horseshoe from Ambleside

The Fairfield horseshoe includes seven other Lake District fells. Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag and Hart Crag form the outward route with the return over Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar back to Ambleside via Rydal. This is a high level route so choose a good day to make the most of the views.

Technical sheet
No. 292924
A Lakes walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 25/06/20
Calculated time Calculated time: 7h15[?]
Distance Distance : 16.53km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 888m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 889m
Highest point Highest point : 866m
Lowest point Lowest point : 57m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Lake District
Location Location : Lakes
Starting point Starting point : N 54.434846° / W 2.96589°
Download : -

Description

(D/A) The Fairfield horseshoe is a popular route starting and finishing in Ambleside (Grid ref. NY 375045). From the centre of Ambleside take the Kirkstone Road for a short way turning down the first lane on the left. This leads to Low Sweden Bridge from where the views of the Fells begin to improve. The onward path to Low Pike is well-trodden and you soon find yourself alongside the ridge wall. This leads onwards over High Pike and onto Dove Crag. As you climb, the views on both sides are excellent and improve with each step.

(1) Although you are now in the high fells, progress is easy. Although you are climbing most of the time there is nothing too strenuous and you feel as though you are covering a lot of ground. By the time you reach Dove Crag, you have earned a rest, and this is an excellent place to see the majority of the Fairfield horseshoe. Suitably refreshed head on to Hart Crag where the view north opens out with St Sunday Crag dominating the view. The ascent is nearly over and after dropping off the northern side of Hart Crag to Link Hause a steep rocky upward pull brings you onto Fairfield.

(2) As the name suggests, this mountain is a grassy plateau. However on its north eastern flanks there are some superb crags and rather than follow the main path it is better to keep to your right following the narrow trod which skirts around the top of the cliffs. Besides an excellent view into Deepdale, you are able to appreciate the full extent of Fairfield's rocky aspect. Suitably impressed, you should arrive at the summit cairn from where the far ranging views are excellent. However because of the domed nature of the plateau it is better to explore a little with a short walk north to inspect Cofa Pike and Grisedale Hause particularly rewarding.

(3) Having reached the highest point of the walk it is downhill almost all the way back to Grasmere. In poor visibility do be careful to take the correct path off Fairfield as it can be a confusing place in low cloud. Keeping on the main path to Great Rigg you will find it easy to keep a good pace with an excellent Lakeland panorama ahead. Reaching the cairn on Great Rigg descend taking the main path to Heron Pike.

(4) From this last major 'top' of the route continue south to Nab Scar from where there is a steep descent into Rydal. Keep to the north side of Rydal Hall and follow the drive through pleasant parkland to meet the main road just outside Ambleside. Turn left along the main road and you will be back at the start(D/A).

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 62m - Ambleside
1 : km 6.24 - alt. 785m - Dove Crag
2 : km 7.73 - alt. 793m - Fairfield
3 : km 8.42 - alt. 866m - Highest point of the walk
4 : km 11.95 - alt. 597m - Heron Pike
D/A : km 16.53 - alt. 62m

Useful Information

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.