Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Horseshoe Holiday Part One: The Fairfield Horseshoe. . .

Compared to all the rain we got in the UK last summer, these last two months have been quite glorious, if a bit hot at times.  Which means we've gotten pretty lucky with the weather on the many walks I've done on my recent vacations.  At the end of June, the Liverpud and I had a week's holiday in the Lake District.  We visited friends in Kendal, then stayed a couple of days in Ambleside and a few in Keswick, doing several walks from each base.  From the start, we knew we wanted to tackle three walks in particular, three horseshoes, taken from The 12 Best Walks in the Lake District by Paul Buttle, which I highly recommend.  You can find it in all the local bookstores, outdoor shops and touristy places and it's a good introduction to the different areas of the Lakes and very useful for pinpointing the best walks if you only have a limited time in the area. The maps and directions are clear and concise (but don't just rely on the book, bring your ordinance map and compass along) and they offer challenging and very rewarding walks.

First up was Fairfield Horseshoe which can easily be tackled from Ambleside although we decided to do it in the opposite direction from the one suggested by Buttle as we wanted to finish the part of this walk we had to abandon due to weather, back in February.  Here you can see the left or west side of the horseshoe from the valley below.  First up of the several peaks is Nab Scar.

After a somewhat steep ascent, you not only get lovely views, but some relatively flat ridge walking, which I love doing.  After all the work, you want some time to enjoy the scenery (and the sheep) without having to tackle much more than some gentle (more or less) undulations. 

One of the things I loved about this walk was how many fell ranges you could see in almost every direction.  Once on the top of Fairfield, you can look west to Helvellyn and St. Sunday's Crag and even catch the tiniest view of Ullswater.  To the east you can see as far as Kidsty Pike.  Having done the Coast to Coast last year, I can finally start to slot the different fells into position within the Lake District and doing this walk just reinforced my growing familiarity with the area, which was quite thrilling.

And of course being a horseshoe shaped walk, you can not only easily look back at where you've been (you can see Lake Windemere in the distance off to the left)

but also look ahead to what's next. . .

 The way down followed a long stone wall with lovely twists in it that from afar looked like part of a castle.


And then soon it was down into the meadows and back to the B & B for a nice hot shower and a delicious dinner at the local Thai restaurant. 

It's an absolutely super walk which I would definitely do again.  Here you can see the whole horseshoe from afar (this was taken on a more low level walk that we did the next day to Grasmere and back).

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