Fairfield Horseshoe (Part 1)

Friday 16th September 2022

It was time to begin my final walk of this wonderful week up in the Lake District. I drove north to Ambleside and settled upon the Rydal Road car park – and its familiar charge of £8 for a full day’s stay.

I crossed the A-road from the car park and began walking along Kirkstone Road – a convenient rat run between the Kirkstone Pass and Ambleside. Immediately after joining this road, I turned left on to a dead end road towards the university… I made a mistake of then turning right on to The Griffin (before immediately turning back).

A fairly long walk up this road and the hills, fells and mountains would soon rise in to view. There was also a feeling in the clouds above me that this day could be less pleasant than my previous two.

Through these trees and my path began to wind up and beneath trees, as I passed and greeted the first fellow walker of the day.

Beyond the trees, I was almost catching up with another walker. Then another man in red, walking at quite a pace, overtook from behind without any kind of a warning. Perhaps I was going to get that busy experience up here, after all.

Between High Brock Crags and Low Pike, there were a faint junction in the paths, allowing one to walk along either side of the drystone wall. Those two men ahead of me veered to the right, while I decided to hope over a stone stile and stick to the western side of the wall.

A wall which runs on for miles. Almost like the Great Wall of China.

Glancing over to the other side, I saw a very much stone-lined path, where as mine seemed to favour grass and mud (much kinder on the feet). Either way, another had previously passed through here and left their warm layer behind. Hopefully on their return to Ambleside.

Everyone stopped to admire the jets roaring about this landscape. This was one of the few photos I was able to capture of the one, although they usually flew in pairs.

My walk continued. From Low Pike, now climbing up to… High Pike! By this point, the other walkers had crossed over or through the wall, which other small groups approached from the way ahead.

Looking back now towards Windermere. Rydal Water was much closer (and smaller) but out of view and off to the right.

Still following the line of that boundary, which was now more a line of stone than a wall formation.

I didn’t get to bag or take proper photos of Dove Crag, as a number group of walkers were huddled around the cairn. With the sky turning ever more grey, the wind was beginning to whip up a chill to suit.

I continued on to Hart Crag, making very good progress as I was nearing the halfway point on this walk.

I was making my way up to Fairfield, which I had crossed on the previous day’s walk beyond Helvellyn. A common crossing point for several walking routes, I’m now certain. I knew there would be stone shelters on the top… Welcome but still too soon for lunch. Compared to my previous days of walking, this had been much “easier” and more akin to a hill walk I’m used to.

I took a seat within this shelter and said hello to passing walkers in the wind. A chance to pause instead of marching on to complete the walk. Another walker had left their glasses behind – which springs so many questions within my mind! Perhaps the same person who’d lost their fleece.

From this height of 873m above sea level, I would only need to head south along the bumps and rises to return to Ambleside. But I’ll save that for Part 2.

Thanks for reading and Happy Boxing Day!


Author: Olly Parry-Jones

I live in Weston-super-Mare, close to the Mendip Hills in Somerset and I enjoy time spent outdoors, whether that's walking, camping or backpacking. My day job involved making furniture from recycled wood (I'm a furniture maker and carpenter by trade). I have two blogs: Olly Writes (woodworking, DIY, baking) Walks With Olly (walking, camping and kit) You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. My second YouTube channel is titled 'Walks with Olly'.

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