Lake District


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About Summiteer

~High Pike to Nab Scar~

A Fairfield Horseshoe

28th April 2018

Fairfield Summit

Fairfield Summit

Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....

Ambleside Parking Horseshoe View

Today's walk started from the road behind Ambleside Park at 07:40hrs. Soon enough there is an appetising view of the fells we're heading for; this being the first Lakeland walk of 2018 it needs to be a good one!

Sweden Bridge Lane

Sweden Bridge Lane

Through Ambleside and then up Kirkstone Road for a short while until a left turn takes us onto Sweden Bridge Lane.

Coniston Fells

Looking back down the lane, the Coniston Fells come into view. The MWIS forecast contained the following: "One or two clusters of hail and snow showers from dawn, albeit overall the morning substantially dry. By early afternoon, a scattering of showers breaking out, and moving
around slowly, tending to drift westwards, locally giving precipitation for an hour or so. Mostly rain lowest slopes." Worth starting early and taking a chance, I thought.

High Sweden Bridge

High Sweden Bridge

Fully four years since I've been across this bridge and whilst Molly was approaching six weeks old at that time, we hadn't met and she wasn't in my plans. How life has changed!


Scandale Beck

Today's choice is to attempt a "Direct Ascent" of High Pike, the second fell when walking the Fairfield Horseshoe in an anti-clockwise manner. Wainwright states that "those who like steep scrambling over rough ground" might try to gain the summit of High Pike via a shoulder above Scandale Bottom. So here we go...

Scandale Wall

Scandale Wall

Having lost any trace of a path, we found this wall offering an impenetrable barrier to our progress. However, we found a safe way through higher up and were able to begin the 700ft ascent to the top.

Scandale Bottom

Scandale Bottom

The wall extends up Red Screes on the other side of the valley.

Scandale Beck
Up The Rocky Slope
Scandale Beck

Pathless, but not particularly dangerous and further up rockfalls have created little caves and havens for wildlife.


High Pike Summit

High Pike Summit 2,155ft asl

Molly is quick to spot that we are not really at the top of the mountain and there is more to do.

To Dove Crag

The weather has changed and much of the sky has clouded over. The summit of Dove Crag comes into view; it's always a cheat to claim to have climbed a fell when all you do is walk a "ridge" from one top to another, but tick off the summit by all means and enjoy the walk!

Dove Crag Summit

Dove Crag Summit

Next up is Hart Crag on the horseshoe route.

Brew Time

A quiet sheltered spot behind the wall for a cup of tea.

Hart Crag Summit
Hart Crag Summit
View into Deepdale

And so onto the final ascent of Fairfield.

Fairfield Summit

Fairfield Summit Territory

One of my favourite summit landscapes. Games should be played here: cricket, football or simply find the highest point.

Fairfield Summit


Summit Snackers

There are many shelters around the top of Fairfield and a group is taking time out in one of them. It can't be "summit hogging" as there doesn't seem to be a summit cairn as such.

St.Sunday Crag

St.Sunday Crag

Seat Sandal

Seat Sandal

The Scafell Range

Further west and to the south-west clouds are building and those showers are going to affect other areas and walkers here, to the north and further east seem to be staying dry.

Great Rigg

To Great Rigg

So begins one of Lakelands most enjoyable descent routes: no awkward steep bits, great views all around and a few more summits to bag without much effort at all.

Great Rigg Summit

Great Rigg Summit 2,513ft asl

Heron Pike

To Heron Pike

On the way we passed more than 50 walkers raising money for the Owen McVeigh Foundation.

Erne Crag Fairfield
Pools & Erne Crag
Looking Back to Fairfield

A refreshment opportunity for Molly just before we walk to the small summit of Erne Crag. Such is a great place for a rest, most walkers give it a miss on their way round the horseshoe.

Heron Pike

Walkers were loitering around the top of Heron Pike, one was heard to suggest that the nearby Erne Crag was the top of Heron Pike, which is fine by me. Just names and lumps and bumps on this fine landscape.

Nab Scar

To Nab Scar

More easy downhill walking with Lord Crag on the right as we head off down the mountain.

Nab Scar Summit Nab Scar
Nab Scar Summit Cairn 1,450ft asl (approx.)
Looking Back

I cannot remember the last time I walked down this way, maybe around 1986!

Rydal Hall


Rydal Hall

Rydal Hall Cafe

Tea & Tiffin at the cafe with a view of the waterfalls. Then a walk through Rydal Park en route to Ambleside.

Rydal Park

Rydal Park

A last look back at the fells as we through Rydal Park. The park path leads on to the road into Ambleside and so we continue that way and through the town back to the car.

Walkers: Molly and Me.

Time taken: 7hrs 30mins over a distance of about 12 miles.

Route: Ambleside, High Sweden Bridge, Scandale Beck, area above Scandale Bottom, High Pike, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Erne Crag, Heron Pike, Nab Scar, Rydal Hall, Rydal Park, Ambleside

Weather and conditions: Sunny, cloudier, sunnier and generally a very fine day for fellwalking.

Refreshments: Fine cafe welcomming muddy boots and dogs at Rydal Hall, follow the signs for the tearoom.

Molly Asleep

Dog Tired

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2018 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....