~The Scandale Horseshoe~
16th February 2014
One of many horseshoe-shaped walks in the Lake District. This welcome opportunity to test my legs came on a day when the rain stopped and the wind eased. My winter walks often start from Ambleside or Grasmere and I was especially pleased that I chose Ambleside for this one ....
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
I parked at the back of Rothay Park, Ambleside. On examining the contents of my rucksac, I discovered that my carefully prepared lunchbox was still at home. So, today's sandwich etc. was courtesy of Spar - now that wouldn't have happened if this walk was starting from Mardale Head or Garsdale Railway Station. It's up the steep road, looking for the foopath onto the fells, leading to Red Screes.
"Eh Speckly, it's a while since we've seen Maggie peering over the wall. Let's get closer to the fence and see if she comes along later."
To Snarker Pike
This gateway to the fells is quite easy to spot after a steep uphill road walk. No cars passed me, but on a summer's day, it wouldn't be an ideal place to be walking. This is an ascent of Red Screes and can be found in Wainwright's Book One.
Early morning views towards Windermere and Loughrigg Fell. Also, on the right is the walled track towards Snarker Pike, which sits on the shoulder of Red Screes.
Rydal Water and The Langdale Pikes
On the other side of Scandale Beck is High Pike; Snarker Pike lies ahead. This is the first time I've climbed Red Screes on this route.
To Red Screes
On the other side of Troutbeck, Ill Bell is sinking under a heavy cloud.
Red Screes Tarn
Somewhere under the snow is a small tarn, tread carefully! The unwary could be unlucky, and wet.
Red Screes Summit 2,541ft asl
Just north of Red Screes summit is the additional peak of Middle Dodd. I didn't head that way today, preferring to keep my options open, I had wanted to reach Fairfield but ground conditions are challenging and it's looking unlikey!
Views from the descent off Red Screes, heading west. I needed to put the spikes on my boots to prevent an involuntary and rapid descent.
They have kindly provided a seat for one and this where I stopped for a bite to eat. Little Hart Crag is up there on the right and it would be rude not to pay the summit a visit.
Low & High Pike
Little Hart Crag Summit, 2,091ft asl
Scandale Tarn is just visible in the Pikes photo; on the right, Dove Crag - the dark nose which gives the fell its name is clear to see.
Red Screes from Little Hart Crag
St,Sunday Crag, Birks and a Hail Shower
The correct route from Little Hart Crag to Dove Crag is via the line of fence posts; anyone taking a short cut could get their feet wet.
Dove Crag Ascent ~ Looking Back
There was just enough give in the snow on this slope to avoid the need for spikes.
The Langdale Pikes & Bowfell from Dove Crag
This is as far as I went. The additonal effort required when walking on and through snow persuaded me not to head for Fairfield.
Dove Crag Summit, 2,603ft asl
Here come the Fairfield Horseshoers it's one of Lakeland's iconic fellwalks: up over Low & High Pike, across Dove Crag and the Hart Crag, onto Fairfield summit and down via Heron Pike and Nab Scar. You are allowed to do it the other way round, it's the same distance.
I have fond memories of The Wall, on one occasion the only way out of the snowbound landscape. Are you the cameraman? Get in touch and claim your prize!
High Pike Summit, 2,155ft asl
It's after 1pm and to me, it seems a bit late to be heading for the high tops at this time of year.
Low Pike 1,657ft asl
The Wall occupies the highest ground, a circumstance not unique to this summit.
High Sweden Bridge
I reckon if you cover enough miles in the Lakeland Fells, then sooner or later you will bump into the intrepid fellwalker, Maggie. I bumped into her at this spot and we continued together back to Ambleside, her walk had followed the same route up Red Screes.
Walkers: Just Me.
Time taken: 6hrs 40mins over a distance of about11 miles.
Route: Rothay Park, Ambleside, Kirkstone Road, fell track to Snarker Pike, Red Screes, Scandale Pass, Little Hart Crag, Dove Crag, The Wall to High Pike and Low Pike, High Sweden Bridge, track and road back into Ambleside.
Weather and Conditions: Dull to start, but slowly brightening up. Dry and quite cold.
Greetings Count: On the way up to Red Screes I passed two walkers coming down and a chap close to the summit. The no other "Hello's" until the top of Dove Crag. Congestion on the way down to Ambleside!
The Fairfield Horseshoe on 28th December 2009
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2014 ©
Contact Me via email - If you don't use "Outlook", just read the email address and send me a message from your usual email facility. Comments might be published, please tell me if you don't want that to happen and I will also edit messages if they contain personal stuff that the world doesn't need to see. Hover your pointer over the link and the target might appear in the bottom left of your screen.