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Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Journey to the Center of the Lake District


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:12 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Ullscarf

Hewitts included on this walk: Ullscarf

Date walked: 04/01/2015

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 570m

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With a fine day forecast we set of for our first walk of the year, and first in over two months, with optimism high for a good day out. Our target for the day would be Ullscarf, considered to be at the center of the Lake District. Having omitted this fell from walks including it's closest neighbours and not fancying adding four miles to a future expedition to High Raise I decided this would be an one fell walk.
It was a beautiful morning as we passed over the Pennines, promising much for the day ahead, but it was obvious there was far more cloud over the Lakes than the forecast had suggested. No matter as the upper snow clad slopes of Helvellyn were visible surely our more modest target would still provide us views for the day?

Things started to unravel once we arrived at Dobgill Bridge car park. My internet research had suggested that parking was free but alas it was not and also quite expensive. To make matters worse the ticket machine was "coin only" so despite having plenty cash we could not actually pay. Not wishing to receive a £60 fine we had to find a spot where the road widened a bit and squeezed in.

We walked back towards the car park before spotting a public bridleway sign that enticed us up the fell side to the North of the Binka Stone. I have no idea when a horse last made it's way up here but I suspect it was back in the 18th century when Thirlmere dam was built and all the settlements were flooded. We followed what may have been the bridleway or may have been a relatively dry stream bed, it was had to tell, up to Harrop Tarn.

ImageHarrop Tarn by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

From here the open fellside was soon reached and we made our way to the beacon marked on the map. The Beacon is more a section of wall but there are nice views down to Thirlmere and beyond. From here unfortunately we could see the clag encroaching onto the fell and soon we were engulfed.
With visibility seriously reduced gauging progress became difficult as we made out way over or around an endless succession of low crags and small tarns. All I could really do was keep us going in the right direction and keep plodding onwards over the largely frozen ground.
Once on the plateau the clag did lift a little, or we left it behind, but views were still just about none existent due to cloud all around us. The wind was also, as you'd expect, noticeably stronger up here inducing a fair wind chill effect meaning that once the summit was reached we headed off immediately, looking for a more sheltered spot to eat. AW referred to the summit of Ullscarf as a cheerless place, hard to argue too much with that sentiment.

ImageLooking back to Tarn Crags by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageThirlmere by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageClearing a little on the plateau by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr


ImageOn the Summit by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageHolding back the cloud by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageAlong the Central fells rid5ge by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

Once we started descending we were rewarded by the sight of the central fells ridge holding back (or holding onto) the clag. It was nice to be rewarded for our efforts on what had turned into a rather grim and cold day.
We had lunch as soon as we found a small crag to shelter behind but soon started to feel really quite cold.

ImageView to Bassenthwaite by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageBlea Tarn by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

We warmed up once we got going again and had an involuntary game of "is that ground frozen? Roulette" on the way down. I lost by the way, twice slipping and landing flat on my back. A mildly disappointing day (but still better than any at work) was completed by returning back down the ruined bridleway (not trusting the forestry paths that can change as easily as the wind). For the record it was a very arduous way down and not recommended.


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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby clivegrif » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:33 pm

Love the cloud pictures!
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby trailmasher » Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:40 pm

Good photos and must agree with you re the car park fees and path. Best time to go up there is when it's frozen. As well as being the centre of the LD it must also be the wettest. :crazy:
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby Helz » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:05 am

You definitely chose the better time to go, under normal conditions it's awful: trying to find your way across the top in the thick fog, or bog trotting on the way down (well done for avoiding 'the bog' by the way). At least it's now ticked off your list ✅
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:08 pm

Helz wrote:You definitely chose the better time to go, under normal conditions it's awful: trying to find your way across the top in the thick fog, or bog trotting on the way down (well done for avoiding 'the bog' by the way). At least it's now ticked off your list ✅


It certainly won't be making my top 10. We've done all the northern half of the central fells in winter, may as well go for a swim otherwise.

trailmasher wrote:Good photos and must agree with you re the car park fees and path. Best time to go up there is when it's frozen. As well as being the centre of the LD it must also be the wettest. :crazy:


I don't mind car park fees if they are going to footpath works but United Utilities don't appear to give a hoot about walkers as the footpaths on this side of Thilmere are awful.

clivegrif wrote:Love the cloud pictures!


Thanks Clive
Last edited by johnkaysleftleg on Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby nigheandonn » Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:16 am

Whenever I see the Central Fells they seem to be covered in dramatic cloud. Girding my loins for the year ahead - have you done all the soggiest bits now?
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby CharlesT » Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:31 am

Your pictures make a cheerless and dreary place look passably attractive. :D You chose well to go when the ground was frozen, it's purgatory in summer up there. Mind you as bogs go it's got nothing on certain Welsh hills. :lol:

Grace's face has that "happy with the tick won't be going back look".. :(
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:38 pm

nigheandonn wrote:Whenever I see the Central Fells they seem to be covered in dramatic cloud. Girding my loins for the year ahead - have you done all the soggiest bits now?


I have indeed but just about all the central fells have at least some bog, even the Langdales. I must admit to being underwhelmed by much of the central fells, they have their highlights, such as the Langdales and the view from High Seat but these few and far between. I think I've said this before, get the Northern Half, Bleaberry to Ullsarf, done when the ground is frozen if you at all can.....or buy a boat :wink:

CharlesT wrote:Your pictures make a cheerless and dreary place look passably attractive. :D You chose well to go when the ground was frozen, it's purgatory in summer up there. Mind you as bogs go it's got nothing on certain Welsh hills. :lol:

Grace's face has that "happy with the tick won't be going back look".. :(


You're not wrong with Grace, not a walk she enjoyed much to be honest.
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby mike202 » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:50 am

Nice pics, pity about the car park being expensive, too many of them are!

This is the right time of year for bagging this one which I still have to do. :)
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:43 pm

mike202 wrote:Nice pics, pity about the car park being expensive, too many of them are!

This is the right time of year for bagging this one which I still have to do. :)


Cheers Mike, I see you also have the 'delightful' Armboth Fell to do also. Another to bag while the freeze lasts.
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby mike202 » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:04 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:
mike202 wrote:Nice pics, pity about the car park being expensive, too many of them are!

This is the right time of year for bagging this one which I still have to do. :)


Cheers Mike, I see you also have the 'delightful' Armboth Fell to do also. Another to bag while the freeze lasts.



I would like to link up the two them if possible, whilst the grounds frozen.
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby onsen » Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:53 pm

Great shots of the area, johnkaysleftleg...enjoyed them.
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:36 pm

onsen wrote:Great shots of the area, johnkaysleftleg...enjoyed them.


Thank you
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby ChrisW » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:09 am

Lovely shots of a not so lovely day in the hills JK, as for that car park machine :evil:
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Re: Journey to the Center of the Lake District

Postby L-Hiking » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:24 pm

Hi Anthony

I see you are still knocking those Wainwrights off...sorry I aint been on here for a while.

Great pictures pal
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