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Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:46 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Dove Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Hart Crag, Heron Pike, High Pike (Eastern Fells), Low Pike, Nab Scar

Hewitts included on this walk: Dove Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Hart Crag

Date walked: 31/08/2013

Time taken: 7.5

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 1030m

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Following wandering around in the mist on Friday on day one of our bagging weekend, a far better forecast for the Saturday saw us keep with our plans and drive to Rydal to have a crack at the Fairfield Horseshoe. It was an early start so we could grab one of the limited places available at this charming little settlement, turn up after ten and I suspect you’d be looking elsewhere.
There is no chance of easing into things from here, as first the road and then the path climbs steeply to the first target of the day, Nab Scar. The forecast may have been a lot better but we still had one of the promised showers on this initial ascent, fortunately it was light and actually quite cooling.
The pull but to this minor top is probably the most physically arduous section of the walk but as you’d expect for such a popular walk the path is superbly made.

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Spotlight by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Looking over Loughrigg by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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First top of the day by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Sunshine on the Greenburn Round by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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On Heron Pike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

The first two tops might be regarded as separate fells in the pictorial guides but it’s hard to think who would climb them without continuing around the horseshoe.
The next fell, Great Rigg is also seldom climbed for it's own sake but it is a fine looking object as you approach it. Following another shower the sun came out on Great Rigg and we were treated to a wonderful show of light and shade over huge swathes of the district.

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Stone Arthur catches some sun by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Great Rigg and Fairfield from Heron Pike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Bright sunshine on the Horseshoe by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Dramatic sky on the way to Great Rigg by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Approaching the summit of Great Rigg by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Grace and Hughie on Great Rigg by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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View South from Great Rigg by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Looking back towards Windermere by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Lake District Weather by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

Follow link for full size version http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkaysleftleg/9694602592/lightbox/

From here it’s a steady pull up to the high point of the walk, Fairfield. It was unsurprisingly really quite windy on the top as another shower blew through. We fortunately managed to grab a shelter for lunch before exploring this extensive stony summit.

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Helvellyn from Fairfield by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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St Sunday Crag by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Deepdale from Fairfeild by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Grace and Nicola on Fairfield. by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

We took in the wonderful views to the north of Helvellyn and St Sunday Crag before continuing towards Hart Crag. This section is very rocky and probably the highlight of the whole walk. The sunshine wasn’t to last however and by the time we reached Dove Crag the wind and rain had arrived in force, we crouched behind the wall to don our water proofs before continuing.

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Sun and shade on the Fairfield Horseshoe by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Descending from Fairfield by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Hart Crag Summit by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

The wall along this stretch of ridge is a superb construction and for this we were truly thankful as it sheltered us from the wind and rain quite effectively. By the time we approached High Pike the sun returned to give us spectacular sights of showers over Windermere illuminated by the bright sunshine.

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Grace and Hughie on High Pike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Scandale with weather over Windermere by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Low Pike from the descent of High Pike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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A Bit of Drama over the Coniston Fells by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

By the time we reached the final top of our day, Low Pike, the last of the showers were moving away so we stopped for a slice of cake and ten minutes rest.

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High Pike from Low Pike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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High Pike Mono by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

The walk back from here was truly delightful and a taste of the Lakes that none fell walkers love as we made our way through the beautiful grounds of Rydal Mount back to the car.

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Dramatic Sky by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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The Horseshoe from the path to Rydal by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

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Waterfall at Rydal Mount by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

There may well be more dramatic walks than this in the Lakes, with more excitement and technical difficulty but for quality of views it must be hard to beat. On a day like this it's a true feast for the senses that I'm sure will be one of the true highlights of our round. Remaining fells in double figures now :D
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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby clivegrif » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:50 am

Hello there!

That looks a great day out, and your pictures are superb as ever. I think I've seen this listed as one of the classic walks in the Lakes, and I can see why. I've only ever done Fairfield from Helvellyn, and remember it being a 'proper' mountain.

Excellent report!
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby SusieThePensioner » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:59 am

This is one of my all-time favourite walks! Done it once the same direction as you and, twice in the opposite direction which I prefer :D
A great day's walking and some really beautiful photos :thumbup:
Thank you for posting; brings back lots of memories, particularly the August when my Dad and I walked this for the first time and we had snow on the summit of Fairfield and it was 20degs in Ambleside and sunny :lol: :lol:
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby L-Hiking » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:57 pm

Your'e getting too many holidays! :lol:
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby MarkyMark10 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:08 pm

Some good bagging done there! St Sunday Crag looks inviting in that pic :-)
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:58 pm

clivegrif wrote:Hello there!

That looks a great day out, and your pictures are superb as ever. I think I've seen this listed as one of the classic walks in the Lakes, and I can see why. I've only ever done Fairfield from Helvellyn, and remember it being a 'proper' mountain.

Excellent report!


Thanks Clive, it deserves the title classic imho. I certainly fancy the ridge from St Sunday crag at some time in the future.

SusieThePensioner wrote:This is one of my all-time favourite walks! Done it once the same direction as you and, twice in the opposite direction which I prefer :D
A great day's walking and some really beautiful photos :thumbup:

Thanks Susie, we normally like so go up the steep bits first but I can see if you walk from Ambleside counter clockwise would be best.

SusieThePensioner wrote:Thank you for posting; brings back lots of memories, particularly the August when my Dad and I walked this for the first time and we had snow on the summit of Fairfield and it was 20degs in Ambleside and sunny :lol: :lol:

Now that's what I call proper Lake district weather :lol:

L-Hiking wrote:Your'e getting too many holidays! :lol:

No such thing! :wink:

RTC wrote:Smashing report and photos. I still have fond memories of doing this walk with my wife in April 1983. Who knows where the time goes? Better still was doing it in February 1988 from the East over St Sunday Crag and down via Hartsop above How. We had no kids then. Yesterday my son went off to St Andrews university. Cherish the moments with your daughter.


Thanks RTC, you're not wrong about time flying, Grace started seniors this year, hardly seems like yesterday when we took her to nursery for the first time. One of the main things of our walking is spending days like this together as a family.

MarkyMark10 wrote:Some good bagging done there! St Sunday Crag looks inviting in that pic :-)


Doesn't it just Mark, one to return to without a doubt.
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby footix2 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:18 pm

The weather most always be erratic up there. The last time I did it, it was blue sky all round, 20 degrees, and gales :D
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:51 pm

footix2 wrote:The weather most always be erratic up there. The last time I did it, it was blue sky all round, 20 degrees, and gales :D


Just makes it more fun!
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby clivegrif » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:37 pm

St Sunday's Crag is definitely worth an outing. Quite steep, but a lovely hill.
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby Ibex » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:07 pm

Absolutely incredible photo's. I'm led in bed ill, stuck in this God awful flat County waiting to go back to my awful bit part job in a factory.
I wish I could get up to Cumbria, get a job I enjoyed up there and never leave.

The fairfield horseshoe is on my to do list, as a go over a lot of the hills I did when I was a lot yonger.
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Re: Dramatic weather on the Fairfield Horseshoe

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:20 am

Ibex wrote:Absolutely incredible photo's. I'm led in bed ill, stuck in this God awful flat County waiting to go back to my awful bit part job in a factory.
I wish I could get up to Cumbria, get a job I enjoyed up there and never leave.

The fairfield horseshoe is on my to do list, as a go over a lot of the hills I did when I was a lot yonger.


Thanks for the kind words. Get well soon mate, glad my pics are providing a bit of therapy. The Fairfield horseshoe is a cracking walk and obviously great for bagging purposes. We had another beautiful day just the other week if your interested;

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=36509
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