Fairfield Horseshoe in Sunshine

Name of walk Fairfield Horseshoe in Sunshine
Date of walk 2011-09-15
Distance walked (miles) 11
Duration of walk 7 hours 15 minutes
Weather Sunshine and blue skies
Peaks on walk Nab Scar, Heron Pike, Great Rigg, Fairfield, Hart Crag, Dove Crag, High Pike and Low Pike.
Walked with Ged and blind Kas
Parking Roadside below Rydal Mount.

Yesterday was the good day we have been waiting for since the beginning of “the summer”. The recent weather here has been awful, floods and gales. We decided on the Fairfield Horseshoe from Rydal. We did this last year in a blizzard and missed out on the good views due to a white-out. Much better weather today! The summits would include Nab Scar (1450ft), Heron Pike (2003ft), Great Rigg (2513ft), Fairfield (2863ft), Hart Crag (2698ft), Dove Crag (2603ft), High Pike (2155ft) and Low Pike (1666ft). We would end the walk with one of Ged’s “short-cuts”!!! (Blue line) The walk was about 11 miles.


We parked on the road to Rydal Mount (Wordsworth`s House) and headed up towards Nab Scar at about 9.20am.


It was warmer than forecast with no wind at all. Kas is just a blurred white tail as we head up Nab Scar. This afternoon's fells on the right.


Looking out to Windermere, still ascending Nab Scar. Ged catching me up.


There are always good views down on Rydal Water and over to Loughrigg.


Grasmere. Above from the left of the lake is Wetherlam, pointy Harter Fell, then Pike o'Blisco and Crinkle Crags. In the foreground is Silver How with Lingmoor behind.


Descending from Heron Pike heading for Great Rigg top left.


A good view of the middle of the horseshoe route.


We had been hearing shouts and a hunting horn for a while now. Then the foxhounds came into view from up the side of the mountain from the valley below. They ran about a bit before picking up the scent and heading up towards Great Rigg.


None of them took any notice of us or Kas, they were far too focused on their task.


They were the Coniston and Ullswater Foxhounds. There were well over 40 hounds congregating on the top slope of Great Rigg. Another trail had been laid into the head of the valley and soon they were all off together down the steep slope of the mountain. It was strange to meet men dressed in shirts, ties and tweed jackets or waistcoats.....not the usual mountain attire......unless your name is Wainwright!


The view down to Rydal Beck.


Great Rigg summit looking towards Fairfield.


View back down the ridge. Coniston Water on the right.


Close up of Grisedale Tarn and the route up to Dollywaggon Pike.


View into Deepdale with St.Sunday Crag on the left. Place Fell and the rest of the eastern and far eastern fells are very clear.


Looking at the steep route down on to Cofa Pike and St. Sunday Crag. Grisedale Valley on the left.


Looking across Grisedale Tarn to Great Gable and Pillar and the Red Pike range.


Looking across Dollywaggon Pike to Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and pointy Catstycam.


Pointed Kidsty Pike at the back with High Street far right.


Lunch in Fairfield summit shelter at 12.30pm. The summit forecast was for 7C, but it was a lot warmer than that!


The sheep was stamping its foot at Kas.


Looking back from the head of the valley. Our route up on the right.


Heading for Hart Crag.


Hart Crag summit.


The standing up stones on the summit of Hart Crag. Hartsop Above How beyond.


From the route to Dove Crag looking back to Hart Crag.


Heading down to High Pike.


Looking back up to High Pike.


We headed for Low Pike and then looked for Ged`s "short-cut" back to Rydal. It was at this point that Ged said he couldn`t remember exactly where it was! We eventually decided to follow the wall down to Rydal Beck and pick up the path by the beck. The walk down was steep and soggy, but there was a good path at the bottom.


Unfortunately the path had a lot of cow hoof prints on it and we soon came across cows with their calves. Several people with dogs had been killed by cows of late, so we had to climb up and around them back into the boggy ground. The cows seemed happy about this and didn`t even bother to get up.


The view back up the valley, and of the cows, as we return to the path, hoping not to come across any more!


After taking a somewhat circuitous route we found a track through the woods that Ged thought he recognised and we followed it to the bridge over Rydal Beck.....Plain sailing from here!!!!


Finally we discovered the bridge!!! The bridge is on the right. Alas, the bridge was signposted as "closed and unsafe" and both ends were boarded up. This was due to two of the side pieces of wood being missing. Personally, I`d have used all the wood it took to board up both ends of the bridge and use it to replace the two missing side pieces!!!!!!!! Maybe that's because I`m just plain sensible!!! Naturally we ignored the warnings and climbed over the boarded up ends crossed the bridge and continued on our way. (The car was only five minutes away! We had been walking for over 7 hours and had no intention of detouring a mile or more to locate another crossing point at this late stage of the walk!!!!!)


Looking up the waterfalls of Rydal Beck.

A good walk!  With Ged’s “short-cut” we actually took longer to complete it than when we did this walk in snow and a blizzard and had taken the longer route back via High Sweden Bridge, Ambleside and Rydal Park!