Fairfield Horseshoe From Riverside B&B
Time 6 Hours
Distance 10.6 miles
Grid ref: NY364064
From Riverside go left out of our front door and follow Under Loughrigg for 1/2 miles until you get to Pelter Bridge. go over the bridge and take a left along the main Grasmere Road. Cross over the road and after about 100 yards you will see signs to Rydal Hall. Head up the lane until it goes into the garden of a house. From here the path goes off to the right and through a gate. Follow the path which starts to climb steeply to Nab Scar. Carry on for about 2.5 km until you reach Heron Pike (612m)
Grid ref: NY356083
Keep going on the path heading north. About 400m from Heron Pike there is an unnamed top (621m) and the path continues heading north towards Great Rigg (766m). This is the last top on the ridge before tackling the final summit towards Fairfield. There are some great views to the left towards Grasmere and the peaks beyond.
Grid ref: NY356104
Keep going! towards Fairfield (873m). As you approach the top, look for a broad stony path on your right running almost parallel towards the top; that's the next leg of the route, towards Hart Crag. Take care if it is misty as you may overshoot the summit. If you start going down and are still heading north, you are heading for Deepdale Hause and Patterdale. The summit has the remains of a wall shelter. If you want some good views of St Sunday Crag & Helvellyn venture a little further north.
Grid ref: NY358117
From the summit follow the broad stony path that was on your right as you arrived at the top. The path is marked by small cairns but beware as there are cairns all over the place. The path starts by going south-east, then almost east, then south-east again. No problem if it is clear but in bad visibility follow bearing142 for 200m, then bearing 84 for 440m then bearing135 for 310 metres. There is an obvious path to the summit of Hart Crag from the col.
Grid ref: NY369112
The summit of Hart Crag is fairly flat with two cairns about 80m apart. From there the route descends roughly SSE to a col, then turns slightly to the south-east to climb to the rounded summit of Dove Crag. Again, in good weather this will present no problems. A dilapidated stone wall makes a good navigation handrail, with the better walking on the left (east) side. In mist, don't be seduced by the path descending north of east from the summit of Hart Crag; that will bring you down to Deepdale Bridge near Patterdale.
Grid ref: NY374088
Continue on the path on the left side of the wall. The path caries on to descend to the south, crossing the occasional small rock step. Just before Low Pike you cross a wall using a ladder-stile. On arrival you will see that the obvious descent path doesn't go to the top; if you wish to bag the summit, take the small path for the top when you get near, then return the same way to take the main path down.
Grid ref: NY3773078
Keep heading down on the obvious path, again over the occasional small rock step. The ground eventually levels out a bit and you will see a short section of bog marked by small green signs ('Warning - Deep Bog'). At the far side there is a wooden barrier with the same message, with a small cairn next to it. Pick up the descent path at the cairn, having by-passed the boggy bit. About 100m on, the obvious path suddenly turns ninety degrees left. Take the most obvious path, which having turned sharply left soon turns sharp right to continue in roughly the same direction as before. Before long a path goes off to the left. A small post with two yellow path-marker arrows confirm the location. The path to the left goes down to High Sweden Bridge.
Grid ref: NY376066
Keep straight ahead through a gap in the wall without a gate. Continue on a steadily improving path, which eventually becomes a track, through High Sweden Coppice and Low Sweden Coppice. The track leads down to Low Sweden Bridge . Cross the bridge and go through a wooden gate, then a metal gate, to pass Nook End Farm on your right. Carry on past the cottages onto Nook Lane. This continues down towards Ambleside, passing college buildings on your right along the way. When the lane comes to a junction with the road to Kirkstone Pass, turn right and you will see the mini-roundabout near the car park entrance . Stop for a well earned pint at the Golden Rule!!