Fairfield Horseshoe from Ambleside
A circular, half-day mountain (above 600m) walk in England starting at Ambleside town centre, Cumbria, about 18km (roughly 11 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs. Any regular Lakeland walker can tell you that this is one not to miss. A much-loved classic and deservedly so, the walk around the stunning Fairfield Horshoe from Ambleside should be on everyone's to-do list, even if they have already done it! It's a high-level circuit around the tops of the Fairfield group. Height is gained early, meaning it's an unforgettable day among the clouds - hopefully not too many though, as the view down to Windermere is unbeatable! Start: Ambleside town centre, OS Grid: NY376045 Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 1055m (3463ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 2102m (6896ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 1046m (3433ft)
Max. Elevation: 850m (2788ft)
From Ambleside, follow the road up to Rydal (there is also a bus service). In Rydal, there are signposts to the Fairfield Horseshoe. The first section is the steep climb, onto Heron Pike. From here, much of the walk is in land owned by the National Trust.
Once you start climbing, you will soon be rewarded with great views down towards Windermere.
Follow the clear path along the ridge - it's well trodden and easy to find. This is right in the heart of the Lakes - easy to see why people love coming here.
Follow the ridge round to Fairfield, the highest point of the walk at 873m. You will need the next map - OL5 - for this bit, but on a clear day, the path round the top of Rydal Head is obvious enough.
Route finding is easy - just stick to the high ground! From Dove Crag, the path follows a long shoulder down into Ambleside.
Descend along the ridge past High Pike and Low Pike, before the path wiggles its way into Ambleside.
Take the final few paces into Ambleside and start thinking about that pint at the end....
Back to Ambleside, which has everything the hungry/thirsty/sleepy walker could need, and then some. It's heaving in summertime, so be warned!