Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Friday 13 January 2012 – An Ullscarf Round

The steep ascent to Brown Rigg

My plan to pop up Moel Siabod, on this the first day of really good weather of the year, were soon adjusted when I realised I could enjoy a lift with JJ and Rick, whose target was a very pleasant round from Thirlmere, involving Ullscarf and six other minor summits.

After abandoning Rick’s car at a leisure centre between Carnforth and Milnthorpe, we were all transported by Stuart up to Thirlmere, where we drove around for some while looking for free parking.  We gave up, but £7 for a day’s parking does seem a bit steep.

Anyway, we ‘booted up’ and set off along the lane to Dobgill, where readers may prefer to park should they follow in our steps (same price, but the short road walk is avoided).

It was a lovely day, and we soon warmed up as we headed steeply up (pictured above) beside a wood in which trees were crashing down in the wake of a Forestry Commission chain saw.

Pausing for breath by a small ring of iron railings that may reveal the site of an old well, with Bella, Stuart’s young collie, the dog posed obediently, fooling Stuart into thinking she would be well behaved today.

Above the high point of the forest the gradient eased as we made our way towards the balanced rock that marked our first summit of the day - Brown Rigg (463m).

Navigation was no problem at all on this bright, sunny day, despite the pathless nature of most of our walk.  But it was easy going throughout, and we dropped gently down to Stone Hause before ascending an obvious ramp up to our second summit, Blea Tarn Fell (558m), with fine views towards Skiddaw.

Heading into the sun towards Standing Crag, the following image portrays the terrain and skyscape that was typical of this lovely winter’s day.

Descending in the sun from Blea Tarn Fell towards Standing Crag

After skirting around to the left, Standing Crag (611m) was easily attained.  Here’s JJ on the summit, with Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw in the background.

JJ on Standing Crag, 611 metres

We contoured high above Blea Tarn, gradually rising towards a raven sentry on the Low Saddle of Coldbarrow Fell (656m), where superb views drew the eye north to Watendlath, Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake.

The view to Watendlath, Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake

Time for a Team Photo: Martin, Stuart, Bella, Rick, JJ:

Team photo at lunchtime on Low Saddle of Coldbarrow Fell (656 metres)

Lunch was taken, by four of us, anyway, whilst Bella disobediently foraged for victims on the fellside and finished up with JJ’s tasty scones. 

On the road again, we were soon looking back to High Saddle of Coldbarrow Fell (675m), from the ascent of Ullscarf (726m).

Ullscarf summit, our only ‘Wainwright’ of the day, afforded fine views of much of the Lake District, with Great Gable prominent to the west, and nearby Fairfield to the east.

To the south, we looked down to Helm Crag, with Windermere in the distance; Skiddaw and Blencathra vied for attention to the north.

From Ullscarf a pleasant descent over rough ground led to Wythburn Fell, with Seat Sandal and Fairfield directly ahead of us.

Descending from Ullscarf to Wythburn Fell, with Fairfield dead ahead

Here’s the approach to our seventh and final summit of the day, Wythburn Fell (508m), with the slopes of Helvellyn in the background.

Approaching the summit of Wythburn Fell (508m)

Our descent route on this short round continued north east along the broad rough ridge of Wythburn Fell, skirting a beacon and eventually picking up a path leading from Ullscarf Gill.  A right angle turn then took us gently back down to the car park at Wythburn.

From where a short drive led to this excellent rehydration point, starring ‘Collie Wobbles’, which is what Bella may also have had after stern words from Stuart.

The Watermill at Ings - for essential supplies

Here’s our route - approx 13km, 600m ascent, taking a leisurely 5 hours:

An Ullscarf Round - approx 13km, 600m ascent, 5 hours

Our 7 summits are marked above as points 2 to 8.

There’s a 37 shot slideshow here.

All in all an excellent first mountain day of the year.


afootinthehills said...

Lovely circuit, lovely photographs Martin. Never mind 'steep', £7 for parking is nearly vertical!

Phreerunner said...

It was a lovely walk, Gibson, and we got away with paying 'only' £4.50 for 4 hours in the car park...
There really wasn't anywhere else that was suitable.

Laura said...

Wow! What a gorgeous day and looks like a great walk too. I enjoyed that!

Mark said...

And here was I just musing about whether there would be any trip reports on the blogosphere of lakeland walks during this fine spell.
The £7 parking caused much upset when we did these fells (by a slightly different route) back in 2010. They're lovely hills I reckon. We took an even more leisurely 7 hours. (But it was a warm autumn day and that did some sunbathing). We saw quite a few ravens too.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Laura, and Mark. I haven't really made full use of this fine spell, but Friday was excellent. We saw only two other walkers and a fencer all day, and the car parks were empty. But there were lots of cars in the lay-bys on Dunmail Raise, so Helvellyn was probably busy. Birkett reckons 4 hours for the round we did - I reckon you must have done quite a lot of sunbathing, we certainly weren't in a hurry!