Lake District


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About Summiteer

~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....

Golden Rule

Kirkstone Road

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.

Shetland Ponies

Shetland Ponies

"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.

Snarker Pike

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

Rydal Water and The Langdale Pikes

High Pike Snarker Pike
High Pike
Snarker Pike

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.

Snow Walk

To Red Screes

Ill Bell

Ill Bell

On the other side of Troutbeck, Ill Bell is sinking under a heavy cloud.

Red Screes Tarn

Red Screes Tarn

Somewhere under the snow is a small tarn, tread carefully! The unwary could be unlucky, and wet.

Red Screes Summit

Red Screes Summit 2,541ft asl

Middle Dodd

Middle Dodd

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!

Snow Scenes Little Hart Crag

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.

Scandale Head

Scandale Pass

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.

High Pike Little Hart Summit
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 in the snow Hail Shower
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 Fenceposts

Dove Crag Ascent ~ Looking Back

There was just enough give in the snow on this slope to avoid the need for spikes.

Fence Posts


Snowy Scene

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

Dove Crag Summit, 2,603ft asl


The Horseshoers

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.

The wall Cameraman
The Wall
Snowscape Photographer

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

High Pike

High Pike Summit

High Pike Summit, 2,155ft asl

Late Starters

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 Summit

Low Pike 1,657ft asl

The Wall occupies the highest ground, a circumstance not unique to this summit.


High Sweden Bridge

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!

Refreshments: Maggie and I had drinks in Esquires in Ambleside. This is part of a group and maintains a good standard of drinks and cakes. Footy on the tv and papers to read.

Fairfield Horsehoe

The Fairfield Horseshoe on 28th December 2009

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2014 ©

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Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....