Fairfield Hike

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Where: Fairfield Hike from Ambleside in the Lake District of England
When: July 2014
Weather: Sunny
Height: 2,864ft

Fairfield is the highest mountain for hiking by the town of Ambleside in the Lake District of England.

The image below is from Lake Road in the centre of Ambleside, looking north to the mountains, with Low Pike and High Pike the first two peaks you have to go over to get to Fairfield.

You can return back down the other range in a horseshoe, round to the left in the image below, to the small village of Rydal, about 1 mile north of Ambleside. There is a good path through Rydal Estate to Ambleside.

This is a fairly long hike going over 9 hills/mountains.

Ambleside Road Map

Fairfield Horseshoe Large Image

Lake Road Ambleside

The image below is from the large car park on the north side of Ambleside. You can just see High Pike through the trees, and Nab Scar over to the left.

This is a pay and display car park, do not know of any free car parking in or around Ambleside.

Leave this car park to the east, right in the image below, via a footbridge over a burn towards the main road.

Ambleside Car Park

The image below is of across the road from the car park looking up Smithy Brow. That is Nook Lane, the first narrow road on the left here.

The sign for Nook Lane is about 20 yards up that road, so easy to miss.

Nook Lane runs for about 1 mile, up past the University of Cumbria, and on to a small farm named Nook End Farm. Walk through the farm to two gates, then follow the trail down and round to the left over a small bridge. The hill trail starts from the small bridge.

Nook Lane

The image below is of the trail just above the bridge. There are waterfalls by the bridge, but hard to see for the trees in summer, even the bridge is hard to see.

This is a cart track for a good distance, and goes up at a steady incline.

High Pike Trail at Ambleside

The image below is from where the trail leads up towards the rocks of Low Pike.

The main trail follows a stone dyke from here all the way to the top of the range.

Low Pike Mountain

The image below is of the small cliffs that have to be climbed to get to the top of Low Pike at 1,572ft.

These are fairly easy to scale. Don't think there is any easy way around them.

Low Pike Cliffs

The image below is of the trail following the stone dyke up to High Pike at 2,152ft. There is a gate through to the other side of the dyke, but best stay on this side as the views are better from this side.

There is a wet section in this area with warnings of deep bogs, but in this warm spell, there was no problem.

Large Image of this Great Wall of Amblside.

High Pike Mountain

The image below is from High Pike looking north to Scandale Head, and Fairfield over to the left.

This image looks like the trail round to Fairfield will be nice and level, so much for looks.

Scandale Head Mountain

The image below is from Scandale Head looking northwest to Dove Crag and Fairfield.

Never saw this dip on the road up, and there is a nice boulder field to go up through.

Dove Crag Mountain

The image below is of the trail from Dove Crag looking northwest to Hart Crag and Fairfield. This dip is about 300ft, and there is another boulder field to go up through, so much for the level route round the top of the horseshoe.

Hart Crag Mountain

The image below is of the summit of Fairfield Mountain. This is the highest point on this horseshoe ridge containing 9 peaks.

That is the 3,117ft Helvellyn in the distance. There is a high dip and two other mountains to cross if you try to go there. Large Image out to Helvellyn from the North Side.

To the right in the image below is the 2,759ft St Sunday Crag mountain that leads down into Patterdale. You have to cross the steep Cofa Pike to get onto that mountain though.
Large Image of Cofa Pike

I met two hikers that were hiking from Ambleside to Fairfield, then over Cofa Pike and down into Patterdale. They were going to get a bus back to Ambleside from Patterdale. They said once they saw Cofa Pike on a previous hike, they just had to return to cross Cofa Pike and St Sunday Crag.

Fairfield Mountain by Ambleside

The image below is of the west ridge route back to Ambleside. This is a fairly steady route back down, but a lot longer than it looks.

The two hikers heading over Cofa Pike, stated they had hiked up both routes, and much preferred going up the High Pike route than this route.

You get great views down over the village of Grasmere from this ridge.

Great Rig

The image below is from the west side of Nab Scar looking down over Rydal Water.

Large Image

Rydal Water

The image below is from the south side of Nab Scar, looking down the steep winding trail to the village of Rydal. There is the Royal Lodge Hotel at Rydal, a large mansion named Rydal Hall, and Rydal Mount that was a home of William Wordsworth, all worth visiting.

There is a well marked walking path back to Ambleside that goes through Rydal Estate, so no need to walk along the busy main road. There are also regular buses from a bus stop at the hotel to Ambleside.

Nab Scar Mountain

The image below is from Rydal looking back to Nab Scar. If you are hiking up this ridge, this is the route onto the range. The hike up Nab Scar is really steep.

There is little parking in Rydal, with what parking there is, mainly for the tourist attractions in the village.


The image below is of the entrance to Rydal Estate, by the speed signs at the north side of Ambleside next to the A591 road. If you are hiking up the Nab Scar route, this is the footpath from Ambleside to Rydal. It is about 1 mile from here to Rydal.

There is no sign at this entrance, so easy to miss. Best to take this path as the path alongside the main road, does not run all the way to Rydal, so there is a dangerous section where you have to walk on the busy road.

Rydal Estate Path

The Fairfield Map below shows the main routes onto the mountains from Ambleside and Rydal.

This is a fairly long hike over 9 peaks, so be prepared for a long day.

Make sure and take an Ordnance Survey Map and Compass on these hikes, and know how to use them, as in cloud, these mountains can be deadly. In Winter, make sure you have Crampons and an Ice Axe, and know how to use them.

Fairfield Hike Photo Tour from Grasmere .

Fairfield Map