Climbing the Fairfield horseshoe to get views over Windermere, Ambleside, Rydal, Grasmere, and Helvellyn. On the map, it looked like a good walk so I decided to head out and give it a try
The Fairfield Horseshoe is a climb that I have done in the past but it wasn’t one that I could remember very well. The first time we went up I remember it being cold with quite a steep climb and I don’t think I really liked many of the views. Which looking back at it, doesn’t seem like a very good reason to want to go back and do it again. I asked my dad if he wanted to go, but he didn’t like it last time and didn’t want to go again.
There was one photograph looking down over the stone wall with Windermere off in the distance which I did like though and that was enough to make me give it a try. Here’s the original photo. I like how the stone wall snakes down the top of the hills leading you down into Ambleside and the views over Windermere
Climbing up Nab Scar
I looked online for a few guides on which way was the best way to go, most of the walks started in Ambleside but I decided to start in Rydal instead and go the opposite way around. I walked up the steepish road and took a left onto the track that zig zags it’s way up onto the tops.
I tend to zone out when I walk and my mind goes somewhere else and eventually I get to a higher point without feeling like I’ve put much effort in, I looked back and realised that I was actually pretty high up already and the views over Windermere were opening up. I got the camera out and framed up a photograph.
This is more of a photo for memory than for prints, if the light was a bit less harsh this could be a good place to come back to
Panoramic view over Windermere and Rydal
Once reaching the top of Nab Scar I looked back over the new views over Rydal water and surrounding fells. From here you could see Ambleside and Windermere on the top left-hand side. In the middle, you got views down onto Rydal water as well as across into the caves. Rydal water pointed it’s way across to Grasmere water too.
I thought about trying to get higher before getting a photo but I wasn’t sure if this view would disappear once I got over the next horizon so I levelled out the tripod and got ready to get the photographs for the panorama. I used the Canon 5diii and 24-70mm using a 2 stop soft and 2 stop hard grads to balance out the scenes, capturing all the different light and dark spots across the scenes
Helm Crag and Easedale tarn
I found the climb up pretty easy this time around as you just followed a track that gradually made it’s way up the top of the Fairfield Horseshoe. On the left, I noticed a hill that I faintly recognised. After a few minutes, I realised that it was the Lion and the Lamb – Helm crag with Easedale Tarn and Great Langdale behind it.
We climbed up there in the winter and I got a sort of similar view from there. This time I was higher up looking down onto where my original photograph was taken. Join me on that trip in the vlog.
The light wasn’t that great when I first noticed the crag but after climbing a bit higher the sun broke out adding some light and dark areas making the scenes more interesting
Looking back over Windermere
To the left of Helm crag, you could look down the route that I had just walked with Windermere to the left, Grasmere to the right and Consiton off in the distance. The higher I climbed the more fell I could see along the way.
Saying that though, the views did seem to be getting worse as I got higher. The top of the Fairfield was pretty flat so there weren’t any impressive drops so it was a bit more challenging to find a composition
On top of the Fairfield Horseshoe
I reached the top and initially I was disappointed, this wasn’t the view I was expecting to see. I was expecting to find some sheets of rock with Helvellyn off in the distance, instead, it was a mound of rocks. I decided not to stay here and carried on going before finding a composition using one of the ridges with Helvellyn off in the distance.
I was about to give up on this photo when the sun broke out and added some light spots, finishing off the scene
The stone wall
After photographing Helvellyn I made my way down and over to the stone wall, which was the reason for doing this walk. As I got there the light was perfect as the sun had broken out behind the clouds adding a golden colour over the fells. I quickly got my camera and tripod set up and got a photo, but the light was changing fast. I didn’t get the composition that I wanted whilst the light was good. Here’s the photo that I managed to get
The Waiting Game
I walked down the wall until I found a composition that I liked and then waited here until the sun finally made an appearance again. The light hit the right-hand side of the fells, hit the wall and created shadows on the left.
This wasn’t quite the same composition that I did last time, I think that one is from further down
The Great Wall of Windermere
I’d started running as the realisation that it would soon be dark started to kick in, but then I saw this view. The sun highlighted the stone wall on the top of the ridge as the left-hand side of the valley is in shadow and the right is getting the sunset light cast onto it.
I think this is my favourite photo from the walk, everything lined up at the right time for this one