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