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A feeling of Autumn on the Fairfield Horseshoe.

A feeling of Autumn on the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Postby martin.h » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:23 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: 23/08/2014

Time taken: 5.5

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 991m

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The Fairfield Horseshoe has been a must do for Denise and I for quite a while, just why it's taken so long to do escapes me.
The forecast for Saturday on the Bank Holiday weekend was predicting long sunny spells in the morning with the odd shower mid to late afternoon, so, with that in mind, we felt we shouldn't miss the opportunity to do a Lakeland classic.
Parking in Ambleside is always at a premium on Bank Holiday's even though there are enough car parks to satisfy demand and enough people who want to pay the £7 for all day parking.
Living near Halifax makes the trip to the Lakes an easy 1.5 hours,so we set off from home at 7 am and were parked up,fee paid, boots on and were walking by 8:50am on a nice sunny morning.
There was a distinct chill in the air,something akin to late September and while we were walking through Rydal Park we noticed a few trees,especially the Horse Chestnuts,showing signs of their autumn colours and some losing their leaves.
Our view of Nab Scar,it looks quite a climb

Autumn colours beginning to show, I've not seen this quite as early

I wonder if this was due to the dry summer or,as it's been suggested,the seasons are a month early this year.
The walk through Rydal village is nice and you are shepherded towards the path going up Nab Scar by a series of fingerposts and closed gates where you finally go through a kissing gate and onto a well manicured path winding it's way through the ferns and steeply up towards the skyline.This is quite a pull but you gain height quickly and the views over to Windermere open up

and gradually the hills above Coniston and, eventually,Langdale come into view near the top,from here Rydal Water looks very picturesque.
Towards Langdale and the Scafells behind

Towards Coniston


Rydal Water

The path up here is very obvious so there's no navigation worries if the mist is down,and it's a gradual pull up to Heron Pike and, when you arrive, the view is fantastic and remains that way all the way to Great Rigg and Fairfield beyond,
Great Rigg with Fairfield behind from Heron Pike

Widermere from the second top of Heron Pike

Views from between Heron Pike and Great Rigg

Great Rigg in the foreground

We've spent a lot of time Munro-ing this year and have had some magnificent views over the mountains in Scotland,the views from Great Rigg may not be on the same scale but they pack a punch in their own right.
View back down to Heron Pike

From Great Rigg the next port of call is Fairfield and again the views are fantastic especially onto St Sunday Crag which is very near,
Denise on the summit of Fairfield with St Sunday Crag as a backdrop

Looking down Cawk Cove towards St Sunday Crag

From Rydal Head looking towards Windermere with the horseshoe on either side

the views to Dollywagon Pike and Nethermost Pike are good but Helvellyn is slightly obscured by them and, to the east, Highstreet and the Kentmere hills are the other big lumps you can see, infact, really, you get very good views of all the lakeland hills and mountains.
Towards The Knott, Rampsgill head, pointy Kidsty Pike and High Raise just to the left

From the summit cairn on Fairfield the way over to Hart Crag is plain in good visibility but in the mist I can imagine it's a bit tricky because it's quite a large area of flattish ground and distances could be quite deceiving.
Our next top was Hart crag and the trip over is on bouldery ground.
Denise on Hart Crag.

On the top you have to take care in mist to make sure you don't confuse the way forward with the path that goes down Hartsop above How especially in mist but once on the path to Dove Crag you pick up a wall that stays with you more or less all the way back to Ambleside.
Dove Crag, you can see the wall on the right

From Dove Crag next on the agenda is High Pike,this too is a good view point especially into Scandale,it shows the scale of the surroundings.
View from High Pike, Windermere looking large

Looking into Scandale

Then onto Low Pike where you can see what you've done during your day.From Low Pike the path continues beside the wall but when we got to High Brock Crags we found the way barred by a tricky down climb where a bit of thought was required to get to the path below but once over this the walk back to Ambleside was straight forward.
Looking up at the little downclimb, it looked a bit more daunting from above

Nice and steady back to Ambleside

We had time to have a look around the shops in Ambleside when we were down, a bit of a return to reality what with the crowds and traffic but, that said,we had a good day in the hills which were surprisingly quiet considering it was a Bank Holiday.
We are hoping to spend more time in the Lakes over the coming months,something we should have done before now,the Lake District is,after all,almost in our back yard.
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Re: A feeling of Autumn on the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Postby stig_nest » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:02 pm

A cracking circuit. My first walk of my round of Wainwrights back in 2012. Thanks for posting.
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Re: A feeling of Autumn on the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Postby Avocetboy » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:27 pm

We did this back in May in the opposite direction. Clag from 600 metres so new views. Lovely to see it in the sunshine
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Re: A feeling of Autumn on the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Postby Sarah86 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:20 pm

I love visiting the Lake District but not complete this route. Wonderful views in all directions, you had a great day for it.
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