Pete's Walks - Alternative Fairfield Horseshoe

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My friend Martin and I did this walk on 31st March 2006. As usual we were staying in a rented flat in Keswick. The Fairfield Horseshoe is a very well known (and enjoyable) walk from Ambleside. This route is a less well known but equally enjoyable route from the other side of Fairfield, starting at Patterdale. Both walks follow a ridge up one side of a valley, traverse Fairfield at the head of the valley and then come back along the ridge on the opposite side of the valley, in this case the valley being Deepdale.

Having parked in Patterdale, rather than start by walking along the road towards Kirkstone Pass we went a slightly longer but more enjoyable route through the fields of Patterdale before crossing the road and commencing the very long but relatively gradual climb along the ridge of Hartsop above How. As we steadily gained height, the views grew better and better.

From the Hartsop above How ridge, looking back to the village of Hartsop. Part of Brotherswater and the road to Kirkstone Pass are visible near the bottom of the photo.

 

Looking back across the end of Deepdale to Patterdale and Place Fell beyond. Birks is the fell on the opposite side of Deepdale.

 

From the ridge of Hartsop above How, looking up Deepdale to Hart Crag and Fairfield, with St Sunday Crag on the right across the valley.

 

Fairfield from the Hartsop above How ridge

 

We followed the ascending ridge for about two and a half miles, then came a much steeper final ascent to reach the summit of Hart Crag.

 

Windermere, from the summit of Hart Crag

 

Looking back along Deepdale from the summit of Hart Crag

 

From the summit of Hart Crag looking back along the ridge of Hartsop above How, with Deepdale to the left and Dovedale on the right.

 

Fairfield from the summit of Hart Crag

 

From Hart Crag we descended slightly to the narrow col of Link Hause and followed the rocky path up to Fairfield.

 

Looking across to Helvellyn and Striding Edge from Fairfield

 

From Fairfield, looking towards Ambleside and Windermere

 

From Fairfield looking east over Dovedale to Patterdale and Angletarn Pikes. The Pennines can be seen on the horizon, including a snow-capped Cross Fell.

 

Helvellyn and Striding Edge from Fairfield

 

The summit of Fairfield, looking west

 

From Fairfield we made a rather tricky descent to Cofa Pike, needing to skirt a small area of snow that covered the path. We had lunch just over the summit of Cofa Pike, then followed the path along the ridge gradually rising to the top of St Sunday Crag.

 

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Martin leading the way (as usual!), heading down from Cofa Pike to St Sunday Crag. Gavel Pike can be seen sticking out to the right of St Sunday Crag.

 

Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and Striding Edge from the path to St Sunday Crag

 

Looking back to Fairfield from the path to St Sunday Crag

 

Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and Striding Edge from the path to St Sunday Crag

 

Dollywagon Pike seen across Grisedale from the path to St Sunday Crag

 

Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn from the path to St Sunday Crag

 

Looking back to Grisedale Tarn at the head of Grisedale with Seat Sandal beyond, from the path to St Sunday Crag

 

From St Sunday Crag we decided to take a small detour to visit the subsidiary summit of Gavel Pike.

 

Birks and Ullswater from near Gavel Pike

 

Fairfield from near Gavel Pike

 

We then made our way to the path running down from St Sunday Crags to Birks. Martin walked along the ridge a little further to visit the summit of Birks, while I continued on the path.

 

Ullswater from Birks

 

Ullswater from Birks

 

Patterdale and Place Fell from Birks

From Birks it was then an easy descent back to the car in Patterdale, and the end of a most enjoyable day on the fells.

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