Fairfield Horseshoe Walk

Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill Circular Walk

This walk has everything packed into less than 5 miles - epic views, summit ridges, a little scrambling and some leisurely...

Cheshire Climbing Guide

Cheshire's climbing spots may not be on the tip of every climbers tongue, however with indoor and outdoor options there is...

Peak District Climbing Course Providers

Take your climbing to the next level with an outdoor climbing course in the Peak District! Climbing Course Providers...

The Roaches Circular Walk

This classic 9 mile circular walk includes some of the most iconic landmarks and epic views in the White Peak area...

North Wales and Snowdonia Paddle Sports Guide

Getting wet in North Wales has never been so much fun, so grab your wetsuit and lets go paddling!

A classic horseshoe walk with epic mountain vistas make this one of the most popular day walks in the Lake District. Turn your walk into an overnight adventure with a wild camp by a Lakeland tarn. For those with energy on tap an optional sting in the tail will ensure you leave everything on the mountain!

Walking Route – Fairfield Horseshoe

Highlights: Nab Scar / Heron Pike / Great Rigg / Fairfield / Hart Crag / Dove Crag / High Pike / Low Pike

Distance: 10.8 miles (17.4 km) / Elev Gain: 3,212 ft (980 m)
High point: Fairfield – 2,864 ft (873 m)
GPS Download: Fairfield Horseshoe

The Fairfield Horseshoe is a classic circular walk boasting some exceptional views within the heart of the Lake District National Park. Starting from the town of Ambleside you’ll meander to the village of Rydal in what is a gentle start. Any thoughts of this being an easy walk are however soon forgotten as you take on a steep 1,000 ft ascent to Nab Scar, the first summit on the route. The route continues in a Northerly direction heading upwards and along a relatively wide grsssy ridge, here there are fine mountain views with the valley floor below accentuating a feeling of great elevation.

Sunset over Grisedale Tarn in the Lake District
Sunset over Grisedale Tarn in the Lake District

You’ll tick off the summits of Heron Pike and Great Rigg before a final push to Fairfield, the high point of the day at 2,864 ft above sea level. The summit of Fairfield is strewn with cairns and includes a couple of stone windbreaks. The sweeping summit vista includes Cofa Pike, St Sunday Crag, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn (see below optional extension). Look south from where you came and you are presented with distant views towards Ambleside, Windermere and Coniston Water. I’ve only ever done this walk in exceptionally fine conditions (through luck rather than good planning!), however in poor visibility the summit is notoriously tricky to navigate and awareness of steep rocky faces is a must – do your homework in advance and be prepared.

Optional extension – Hellvellyn and Wild Camp

If you fancy a wild camp you can drop down from the summit of Fairfield to Grisedale Tarn. This is a beautiful location for a night under the stars surrounded by hills and in relative isolation (from memory there is no phone signal). For those with a good set of mountain legs and perhaps linked in with a wild camp (or certainly on a long summer day) there is the option to yomp to the summit of Helvellyn from Grisedale Tarn, via Dollywagon Pike and Nethermost Pike. Its an additional 5.75 mile return walk (from Fairfield), with an extra 2,800ft of ascent thrown into the mix – hence you need to be fit to do this!

From the summit of Fairfield continue following the ridge, which with the exception of the summits of Hart Crag and Dove Crag is all thankfully down hill. A long slog of a descent will take you back down to civilisation via the summits of High Peak and Low Peak. Its then time to head into Ambleside for some refreshments and a debrief of the day’s epic Lakeland hike!

Further Info

Starting Point – The busy tourist town of Ambleside.
Parking – Paid parking at Rydal Road Car Park in Ambleside.
Other Notes – Limited parking is also available in Rydal village. In terms of maps I use the Harvey BMC Lake District map, along with the ViewRanger app.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Hot Topics

Wild Camping Kit List Essentials

After an epic day walking in the mountains you find the perfect wild camping location, far from civilisation and with awesome...

Mountain Biking at Delamere Forest

Delamere Forest is home to an extensive network of trails perfect for mountain biking. From sweeping single-track to steep hills, rutted...

Kinder Scout Walk from Edale

You'll need your bog trotting skills as you take on this popular Peak District circular walk starting from Edale and incorporating...

Related Articles

Great Gable and Scafell Pike Wild Camp

This hard but equally rewarding wild camping route is perfect for a weekend trip to the Lake District. The walk includes...

Great Gable walk from Seathwaite

This Great Gable walk is a classic encompassing hands on scrambling, wild mountain scenery and breathtaking summit vistas. You'll also pass...