Fairfield Horseshoe.

Start. Rydal.

Route. Rydal - Nab Scar - Heron Pike - Great Rigg - Fairfield - Rydal Head - Link Hause - Hart Crag - Dove Crag - High Pike - Low Pike - Brock Crags - Sweden Crag - High Sweden Coppice - Low Sweden Coppice - Rydal Park - Rydal Hall - Rydal.

Notes. This is a classic Lakeland round, a notch in the trekking pole of all seasoned walkers. The majority set out from Ambleside accessing the hills via Nook Lane before tackling the round counter-clockwise, my route starts at the Church of St Mary, Rydal, ascending Nab Scar first, either way's a slog but my route's a mile shorter. Before you head up the hill take a look round the church grounds, I've passed through these gates many times but never before noticed the quite obvious, there is'nt any graves in the church yard? Built on solid rock in the shadow of Nab Scar the dead of Rydal have to travel to either Ambleside or Grasmere, a throw back to the corps roads of the past.

The route today was quite simple, ascend Nab Scar then follow the ridge over Heron Pike and Great Rigg to reach Fairfield, I'll guarantee stunning views all the way, unless you’re wandering in the mist as I was part of the way, if that’s the case take a compass bearing before you leave the summit of Fairfield, it's quite easy to get disorientated then wander down the wrong ridge.

On a good path I traversed Rydal Head descending to Link Hause before the steep climb to Hart Crag. On the descent from Hart Crag I was joined by a companion, a dry stone wall that guided me over Dove Crag, High and Low Pikes before the steep descent to Brock Crag and Sweden Crag, still in it's company I wandered through the green fields of High and Low Sweden Coppice. When the track swung sharp left to descend to Low Sweden Bridge I turned right to wander through the field to gain access to a little used path descending into Rydal Park, this is a good short cut at the end of the day. All that remained was the short walk back through the delightful park passing between the buildings of Rydal Hall, there’s a tea shop if you feel the need, leaving the estate grounds I turned left to descend the lane back to the waiting car.

view route map.


Heading up the lower slopes of Nab Scar with views to High Pike.

Low cloud shrouds the valley head, it's still a wonderful view, Dove Crag across Rydal.

Rising above Silver How the unmistakable Langdale Pikes.

Stunning views to the head of Langdale, with Silver How rising above Grasmere.

Looking south as sunlight catches the rippled surface of Windermere Lake.

Hazy views seen from near the summit of Heron Pike, Black Crag over Loughrigg Fell.

Nailing the summit of Heron Pike, looking to Great Rigg with Fairfield and Rydal Head completely hidden under a blanket of cloud.

Red Screes looms over High Pike as seen from the ascent of Great Rigg.

Dramatic views back along the ridge, I'm just about to be swallowed up Fairfields crown of cloud.

A window in the cloud with stunning views to a sun lit Windermere Lake.

Above Rydal Head looking to a golden Windermere with a grey Heron Pike to the right.

On Link Hause with views over Deepdale to the hills above Patterdale, a hazy Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes.

Views along the Hartsop above How ridge with the Kentmere massif looking imposing in the back ground.

Over the head of Scandale, across the skyline Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick with High Street to the far left and Red Screes the right, seen from near the summit of Dove Crag.

Magical views from High Pike.

From the summit of High Pike views to Dove Crag with Fairfield still under cloud.

Descending to Low Pike with a wonderful view to guide me home.

In the distance the desolate rocky summits of High and Low Pikes seen from near the summit of Brock Crag.

Gracing the southern skyline, Wansfell Pike.

Guarding the head of Scandale, Little Hart Crag.

Changing moods of the Lakeland Fells, in sunlight Low Pike, across the valley grey but free of cloud Great Rigg.

As seen over Rydal Park, Nab Scar.

The many cascades of Scandale Beck combine to make the final descend a shear delight.

Nab Scar seen from under the canopy of a mighty Oak.

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