Fairfield Horseshoe walk route

Fairfield Horseshoe walk routeThe Fairfield Horseshoe is one of the classics of the Lake District. This high-level walk follows a horseshoe ridge that runs round the valley of Rydal Beck to the north-west of Ambleside. Perfectly situated in the heart of the Lake District it offers stunning panoramic views to the rest of the Lakeland fells at all points of the compass. The walk is extremely popular, so you are unlikely to have this walk to yourself. Most people start from Ambleside and follow the route in a clockwise direction, past Rydal Hall to gain height quickly on Nab Scar. The steep climb is well worth the effort with excellent views behind of Rydal Water, Grasmere and down the length of Windermere. This Fairfield Horseshoe walk route follows well-defined paths throughout with no real difficulties and takes in eight Wainwrights in a single walk. The ridge path crosses Heron Pike and Great Rigg before reaching the summit of Fairfield at the head of the valley. Care should be taken in poor visibility as the plateau is very flat and can be quite confusing with the danger of steep drops to the north and west. Midway along the high-level traverse between Fairfield and Dove Crag is the rough top of Hart Crag. From here the eastern side of the horseshoe follows a high dry-stone wall over High Pike and Low Pike making navigation simple even in poor weather conditions. The route can be undertaken in either direction, but clockwise is preferable as it involves a shorter ascent. For such a well-known walk many find the summit of Fairfield underwhelming and remember the mountain as flat-topped and grassy. How wrong could they be, especially if they were to return to the summit from the north from Patterdale, via Deepdale. The savage north face of Fairfield is revealed as you climb up Deepdale. The towering cliffs of Greenhow End and a mile-long facade of imposing crags and gullies are in complete contrast to the softer southern aspect.