29th November 2014

An alternative Fairfield Horseshoe


Walk Overview
Time 8:15am to 4:05pm
Duration 7 hr 50 min
Distance 13.8 mile
Ascent 4500 ft
Walking with Paul Sharkey
Miller Bridge - Ambleside - Kirkstone Road - Snarker Pike - Red Screes - Scandale Pass (top of) - Little Hart Crag - Bakestones Moss - Dove Crag - Hart Crag - Link Hause - Fairfield - Great Rigg - Heron Pike - Nab Scar - Rydal Hall - Rydal Park - Scandale Bridge - Ambleside - Miller Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside, Miller Bridge, Ambleside

This offers an alternative to the overcharged car parks in Ambleside itself. The downsides are, spaces are limited, it's a little way out from the center of the town and you will need to get here early to get a space.


Route Map


As we got ready to set off this little fella was standing next to the cars. It may have been there to wish us a good day but I suspect it was on the look out for food.

We passed Bridge House early enough to find the place deserted. At this time of morning there was no need for us to jostle for space along the narrow pavement. Give it a couple of hours and the place would have been busy with people hitting the shops in the hope of seeking out that Christmas bargain.

The Golden Rule is, if you're cycling down here now's the time to think about braking!

Well this certainly wasn't what we'd been lead to believe we'd get today. The forecast was quite specific that there would be cloud in the valleys with the possibility of the fell tops being above the cloud. However, given the walk we were doing I'm pleased they were wrong. Even when you do get cloud inversions there's no guarantee of how much of the tops are going to be above the cloud. So, we could have ended up spending most of the day with no views at all. As it turned out, we could hardly have asked for a more perfect day.


It took a while for the day to get going but when it did, these were the conditions we were treated to. In the far distance are the fells we'd be walking down towards the end of the walk. Left to right - Nab Scar, Heron Pike, Great Rigg and the top slice of Fairfield.

Blimey, I didn't think it was supposed to be this warm at the end of November.


A view ahead to Red Screes from Snarker Pike.

I should point out that today's walk definitely had two sides to it. In a more southerly direction clarity was just about none existent. However, in a strange sort of way the silhouettes, haze and the sun shining through the bands of cloud gave us a real fell walking treat.
In the opposite direction, , , , , ,

, , , , , , clarity was just about as good as it ever gets. Add this to the unseasonable warmth and we were left feeling like we'd struck gold by coming up here today.

Looking across to the Langdales / High Raise area, Bow Fell / Scafells area, and towards the right hand side of he picture the dark top of Great Gable and Pillar. There seems to be a bit more cloud hanging around the fellsides over there. Perhaps this is the same cloud the foresters thought would be filling the valleys.

A close up of the east facing ridges and the bulk of Helvellyn.

You should have been here with us because a camera just doesn't do this any justice at all.

Hazy Windermere.


Looking to Place Fell from Middle Dodd summit.

A close up of the Langdales, Bow Fell, Esk Pike and the Scafells. It must have been nice for anyone high up on the fells over there at this time.

From Red Screes we headed down to Scandale Pass and then up to Little Hart Crag.


Looking across to High Bakestones and Dove Crag.

Little Hart Crag summit.

and as if by magic, now we're at Dove Crag summit.

Looking across to Hart Crag and Fairfield.

Zooming in on an area of cloud rising up from behind Caudale Moor.


There was lots of down hills and up hills on this walk. I took this picture on the way down to Link Hause after taking a lunch break on Hart Crag. Incidentally; a bloke came up to us at the top Hart Crag looking absolutely fed up. He gave a big sigh and then said “Well, , , , I suppose that’s Hart Crag ticked off”. I couldn't think of an answer. Okay I could actually think of a few answers but couldn't decide which one was best so I said nothing. What a crap attitude towards fell walking.

Lakeland Silhouettes seen beyond Great Rigg.

Fairfield Summit in front of Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn. Despite there being no people in the photo, there were quite a few folk up here, among them was 'Hart Crag Man' who I suspect was just as unhappy to be on Fairfield as he was to be on Hart Crag.

As we left the summit it suddenly brightened up again so it only seemed right to turn around to take a picture.


Zooming in on Seat Sandal.

A backwards look shows the well used footpath leading up to Fairfield.

Long afternoon shadows point towards Rydal Head.

I don't know about you, but this sheepfold always reminds me of an ice cream when it's viewed from up here..

In no time at all, cloud had began to build up on the higher fells and the sunny conditions weren't to last much longer.

Nab Scar summit cairn.

Earlier in the walk we had mentioned the possibility of seeing a nice sunset today. Unfortunately you need the sun to get a sunset and that was the one thing that was missing as we neared the bottom of the ridge. Too much cloud and too much haze I'm afraid.

A view down to Rydal and Ambleside.


Nearing the bottom of the ridge now and not far above Rydal.

Between Rydal and Ambleside we pass through the grounds of Rydal Hall. As we were still okay for time it seemed a good idea to walk through the gardens and down to The Grot. Having a look around here helps to show that the enjoyment from a day out walking doesn't need to end as soon as you step off the fells themselves.

Inside The Grot and looking to the Lower Rydal Beck Waterfall.

As I type this I have a sudden feeling of guilt because I can't remember turning off the light as we left.

The Angel.

Now this is a bit weird / spooky / strange / creepy.

See what I mean !!


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

We all know it gets dark early at this time of year so you need to put a bit of thought into your finishing time if you're heading out for a long walk. Today, managed to get use up all of the 'sensible' daylight hours. Just getting light as we set off and just getting dark when we got back.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks