Fairfield Horseshoe Mountain Day Walk
Make the most of a weekend visit to the Lake District with a fully guided Fairfield Horseshoe mountain day walk with exceptional mountain views.
“…Fairfield, a grand mountain….No group of fells in the district exhibits a more striking contrast in appearance when surveyed from opposite sides than this lofty Fairfield group.” A.Wainwright
As mountain walking routes go in the Lake District, the Fairfield Horseshoe is a rite of passage for many. A full days Lake District walk and a classic Wainwright trail, the Fairfield Horseshoe includes a total of 8 Wainwright summits in a 9-10mile horseshoe walk, each offering magnificent views.
- Walking a Lake District classic
- Views overlooking Grasmere Lake and Rydal Water
- 360 degree summit panorama
- Walking in the footsteps of A. Wainwright
- Services of an experienced mountain guide
Accommodation for this tour is not included. For accommodation information and all essential tour information please click on the ‘Trip Notes’ tab.
Saturday – Walk
Grade 4 walk – Fairfield Horseshoe 9.3 miles (14.9km), with 3260 ft (994m) of ascent
Complimentary transport from Ambleside to the start of the walk at Rydal is included. Please meet in Ambleside for 9.30am (see Trip Notes for meeting point information).
From Rydal Hall estate, we start the walk with a short but steep uphill section on a well-defined footpath. The path zig-zags to the first of several wonderful viewpoints but from then on the walk to the Fairfield summit is relatively easy along a wide footpath with grassy slopes either side but you never feel exposed at any point as we tick off the summits of Heron Pike and Great Rigg before reaching the top of Fairfield. The summit of Fairfield is remarkably flat but presents an outstanding view of the surrounding valley and mountain landscape. The second half of the walk from Fairfield maintains a high level as we traverse Hart Crag and Dove Crag with the route descending to High Pike and Low Pike.
The conditions underfoot are uneven and rocky in places, especially on the descent from the summit of Fairfield, but we’ll take our time to navigate safely across the broken ground.
The Fairfield Horseshoe walk finish back in Ambleside later in the day.
Accommodation is not included as part of this tour. If you require help with booking accommodation you may find the following links useful:
YHA Ambleside quality budget hostel accommodation on the shore of Windermere lake.
Windermere Information Centre accommodation booking service
Booking.com search for accommodation in Ambleside
Alternative accommodation in Grasmere, Windermere, Bowness will require transport to reach the start of the meeting point in Ambleside.
Food & Drink
For the walk(s) please bring with you a packed lunch and refreshments. Occasionally on some guided walks (Grade 1 to 2 walks) we may pass a country inn or tea room where if we have time we can call in, however having a packed lunch with you gives the group the freedom to have lunch wherever we are on the walking route.
For guided walking tours that require transport from the meeting point to the start of the walk, we use a minibus or where necessary local transport. There is no extra charge for this, it is included in the tour price.
Our walks are by no means designed to be endurance tests where everyone sets off at a blistering pace. Far from it, it’s about a fine day in the hills in good company enjoying the best of fell walking with exceptional views but it is important to state that for everyone’s walking enjoyment walking does require a minimum level of fitness and stamina. Hill / Mountain walking experience is not essential as long as you have a reasonable level of fitness. For the higher level graded walks (i.e. Challenging Grade) it is advisable that you are someone who enjoys regular cardio exercise or have experience of mountain walking and have the stamina/ leg strength in order to be better prepared for longer sections of uphill & downhill walking associated with higher mountain treks.
Walking Grades Explained
Grade 1 (Leisurely) Normally 5-8 miles, may include gentle ascents and descents of up to a total 1100ft of ascent and similar descent over a day’s walk. Easier scenic walking at lower altitudes along paths and tracks.
Grade 2 (Moderate) Normally 6-10 miles on paths and tracks, between 800ft – 1700ft of total ascent and similar descent. Longer walks, on hills and moorland.
Grade 3 (Moderate Mountain) Normally ranging from 6-10 miles, between 1700ft – 2600ft of ascent, similar descent. Longer walks, over higher ground with possibly steeper ups and downs on paths and tracks.
Grade 4 (Challenging) Normally ranging from 8-13 miles, between 1500ft – 3000+ft of ascent, similar descent, over undulating mountain terrain, walking at higher levels with steep ups and downs. Suitable for people with a good level of fitness.
What you need to bring with you for the walks
- Good, comfortable walking boots with a cleated sole and good ankle support are essential.
- Waterproof jacket and over-trousers.
- Warm, dry walking clothing. Unsuitable clothing includes Jeans or cotton tracksuit bottoms and cotton t-shirts (cotton is a poor insulating fabric and when wet it takes a long time to dry, which can lead to a rapid loss of body heat as well as being uncomfortable).
- A number of thin layers are better than one thick/ heavy jumper. We suggest a fleece for extra warmth especially when we stop on the hills for lunch.
- Hat and gloves (even in summer – any wind chill on the mountain tops will lead to cooler temperatures).
- Sunglasses, sun cream.
- Hot or cold drinks (i.e. a minimum of 2 litres of water).
- Plenty of food and drink for lunch and snacks.
- A rucksack large enough to carry it all in (20-30 litres), ideally with a waterproof liner.
- Any medication you need.
- Thermos flask. We recommend bringing warm drinks with you, as even on sunny days it can occasionally feel cooler, especially on the summits of the higher-level mountain walks.
- Walking poles (if you use them).
We want you to enjoy your time with Country Adventures and have the best possible adventure experience. Please be aware that if any participants are not properly equipped for the walk (i.e. with walking boots and waterproofs), at the guide’s discretion we reserve the right to not allow them on the walk for reasons of safety for both the individual and the group. If you need clarification any of the equipment requirements, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Tour Schedule & Activity Meeting Times
Please ensure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the meeting point at the required time. Due to the nature of scheduled tours, we are unable to provide refunds if unfortunately, you miss the departure time.
Please meet outside The Salutation Hotel in the centre of Ambleside for 9.30am.
Address: The Ambleside Salutation Hotel, Lake Road, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9BX