Lake District Walk
The Fairfield Horseshoe from Ambleside
Walk Route Description
The Fairfield horseshoe is a popular Lake District walk starting and finishing in Ambleside (Grid ref. NY 375045). A shorter version is detailed in walk 1170. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers.
|Ordnance Survey Explorer OL5||Sheet Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Explorer OL5||Digital Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Ordnance Survey Explorer OL7||Sheet Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Explorer OL7||Digital Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Ordnance Survey Landranger 90||Sheet Map||1:50k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Landranger 90||Digital Map||1:50k||BUY|
It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.
GPS files - right click or option-click the button and choose "Save As..." to download this file.
Recommended Books & eBooks
Walking the Lake District Fells - Patterdale
Part of the Walking the Lake District Fells series, this guidebook covers a wide range of routes to 35 Lakeland summits that can be climbed from Ambleside, Grasmere and Patterdale and the Thirlmere and Ullswater valleys, with highlights including Helvellyn and Fairfield. Suggestions for longer ridge routes are also included.
Walking in Cumbria's Eden Valley
Guidebook to 30 graded walks in Cumbria's Eden Valley. The routes, which range from 3 to 15 miles and are best from bases such as Kirkby Stephen and Appleby, explore the region's diverse landscapes and offer dramatic views, either of the Pennines, Lake District or the Scottish hills. Linear routes link with the Settle-Carlisle railway.
The End to End Trail