The “other other” Fairfield Horseshoe Walking

A true devotee of Lakeland will know the “other” Fairfield horseshoe: the one that loops around the Deepdale skyline from Arnison Crag to Hartsop-Above-How. Boost your hillwalking cred by name-dropping the even-more-esoteric “other other” horseshoe. Admittedly, it feels slightly less horseshoey than its more famous cousins, but makes a fine outing on its own merits and will almost certainly be quiet. Essentially it makes a circuit of the Tongue Gill drainage basin and will add a couple of outlying Wainwrights to your tally if you’re keeping score of such things.

Looking south from Fairfield over Great Rigg  © Norman Hadley
Looking south from Fairfield over Great Rigg
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NY3373908632 Head up the road, heroically spurning the hedonistic temptations of the Traveller's Rest. Rest must be earned, right? You've got work to do first.

NY3359909164 Turn right at the post box, following the Bridleway fingerpost pointing towards Patterdale. This is the route of Wainwright's coast-to-coast. Don't worry, you won't have to walk as far as Robin Hood's Bay, nor even Patterdale. As soon as you've left behind all human habitation, you'll skirt the top of a fine wooded gorge.

NY3374309582 After a few minutes, turn left at a stone barn to gain a broad, grassy ridge. Follow this, curving gracefully right, to the summit of Seat Sandal.
Grisedale Tarn and Fairfield from Seat Sandal  © Norman Hadley
Grisedale Tarn and Fairfield from Seat Sandal
© Norman Hadley, Mar 2019

NY3438411518 Descend on broken ground to the rocky defile of Grisedale Hause, a place where ambush by orcs is a non-negligible hazard. Then heave up the stony zigzags to the summit of Fairfield. Your walk is likely to become briefly busier, but this will soon pass.
Grisedale Tarn and Dollywaggon Pike  © Norman Hadley
Grisedale Tarn and Dollywaggon Pike
© Norman Hadley, Mar 2019

NY3587511741 Head south from the summit shelter to pick up the loping path down the western arm of the main horseshoe, to the summit of Great Rigg: what Wainwright called "the easiest mile in Lakeland".

NY3550910196 Just after Great Rigg's cairn, fork right, heading southwest down another broad grassy ridge to the summit rocks of Stone Arthur, your fourth and final Wainwright of the day.
Golden hour across the flank of Stone Arthur  © Norman Hadley
Golden hour across the flank of Stone Arthur
© Norman Hadley, Dec 2017

NY3473709220 From the summit rocks, trend left on a southerly bearing.

NY3479408613 Prominently zag back down on a shelving line heading broadly west-south-west to drop down to trees and a small community centred around Greenhead Gill.

NY3431508476 Drop down the road then turn right to arc back to the A591.

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