It was a bright but misty early morning when I met Alice and Mark at Burley-in-Wharfedale train station car park. We had previously agreed to go in Alices car as I had smacked mine into a curb and I had a knackered front tire. It had a big chunk of rubber ripped out of it and it pulled to the right and made a funny sound. It also got very hot. Although it probably would have gotten us to Ambleside I didn’t fancy changing a wheel at the side of the A65 in case it didn’t. Besides I’d had a rough night and didn’t really feel up to driving having only had about 3 hours sleep. I hoped to have a nap in the car but it wasn’t to be.
Mark had decided we should do Fairfield Horseshoe – one of the harder walks in the Lake District and about 10 miles long with ascent of about 3400 feet. We chose the hard way with the steep ascent at the beginning and a nice long gentle walk back down to Ambleside. Most people do it the other way – which is much easier. It is a good one to get the heart pounding!
So we arrived at Ambleside and parked in the car park and got kitted up. Up through the grounds of a very large house and out onto the fells. The going was quite rough and before long we were ascending very rapidly. Looking back down, the whole of Ambleside was covered in mist and it looked very dramatic indeed.
I found the going quite tough and was blowing quite a bit when we got to Nab Scar, although in my defence I was stopping quite a lot to take photographs and then walking fast in order to catch the other two up. But I did promise myself I would lose the Xmas pud tummy and cut down on the beer.
A quick flask of tea and we pushed on towards Heron Pike and Great Rigg. The fells were covered in fine mist and we saw practically bugger all – however when we eventually got to Fairfield the wind was blowing hard enough to chase the mist away and the sun came out. We were gobsmacked at the views, although it did decide to snow a bit on the summit, and the wind was very cold. It was a magical place to have lunch and I was in no hurry to leave.
The way down was quite easy, but the ground was uneven and boggy in places so we took it steady. Route finding was a doddle – just follow the muddy track and eventually we turned a corner and Rydalwater was below us. Over the bridge and before we knew it we were back in Ambleside.
An incredible walk with stunning views (provided you have some good weather).
My Summary (all approximate):
Length: 10 miles – Vertical : 3400 ft – Going: very hard (easier of you go the opposite way)