22nd April 2017

Visiting Fairfield, a mini walking project - Walk No 5 - A clockwise Fairfield horseshoe

Time 6 to 11:30am
Duration 5 hr 30 min
Distance 12 mile
Ascent 3400 ft is close enough if you're after a number
Walking with On my own
Rydal - Nab Scar - Heron Pike - Great Rigg - Fairfield - Hart Crag - Dove Crag - High Pike - Low Pike - High Sweden Bridge - Ambleside - Rydal Hall - Rydal
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Roadside parking next to Rydal Church

The roadside parking area runs from the church up hill towards Rydal Mount. Even though there is room for quite a few cars, this is a very popular place indeed and you will need to arrive early if you hope to get a space.

Just around the corner you'll find the Badger Bar offering food and drink.

The parking is actually free, but there is an honest box on the fence next to the church for those who are grateful for a days cheap parking.

Weather Readings

The Gadget
All readings were taken using a Kestrel 2000 Weather Meter
Live temperature recorded at the time I press the hold key
Maximum Wind Speed Maximum wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location Average Wind Speed
Average wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location
Wind Chill
Combination of wind speed and temperature. The gadget does the calculations not me.

Route Map


Today, I head out from Rydal Church to walk another of my Fairfield routes. On this occasion it would be a Fairfield horseshoe walked clockwise. This is always an enjoyable route but setting off really early can, and often does, turn a good walk into a great walk. It's not just because there's no one else about, it really does feel special being up on the fells at this time of day.

Just above Rydal and looking up to Nab Scar.

Early morning sunshine begins to light up Loughrigg Fell and the fells beyond. I'm not quite in the sunshine yet but it won't be long.

A close up of the Langdale Pikes.

Here it comes from t'other side of Red Screes.

It was absolutely magical walking up here this morning as I made my way across the area around Nab Scar. While I stood here for a few minutes looking towards Heron Pike, the only things breaking the silence were the skylarks and the distant bleating of lambs & sheep.


Zooming in on Easedale Tarn. I wonder how many sets of feet walked up that path today.

Here's the Coniston fells with a big cloud above Great Carrs.

A close up of Windermere.

On Heron Pike now and I look ahead to Great Rigg & Fairfield. It may have been lovely and sunny all the way but it was cold enough for those pools to be frozen over.

Looking on my left hand side I catch a view of Grasmere.

Fairfield seen from Great Rigg.

Great Rigg summit.

It's Saturday morning, it's 20 past 8 and I have the place all to myself for Fairfield number 5.

On the return leg of the actual horseshoe section of the walk and I look across to Heron Pike and Great Rigg.

A view behind to Fairfield and Hart Crag shows the cloud beginning to build up in that direction.

Dove Crag summit.

I wouldn't say it's my favorite stretch of path but I always get a lot of enjoyment from the bit between Dove Crag and High Pike. Maybe I'm lazy because it's really easy walking down here, which isn't always the case just because you're walking down hill.

Looking ahead to High Pike.

Turning around for a picture of Dove Crag (in the sun) and Great Rigg / Fairfield (in the shade). Just after taking this picture I saw the first person since setting off. A guy from Warrington who was making very quick progress. I half expected to see him again as I got to the end of the walk but didn't.

Now for what is probably the steepest bit of the whole walk. Cracking view though eh!

Looking over the head of Scandale to Little Hart Crag.

High Pike seen from Low Pike.

High Sweden Bridge and I reckon it's time for a sit down and bite to eat.


Lovely and warm walking down to Ambleside.

And to finish, I make my way back to Rydal with dust rising as I walk along the bone dry path. The sun feels hot on the back of my neck and the view ahead shows the fells I walked over quite literally at the crack of dawn this morning. Yes, a morning well spent indeed.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks