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Unearthly on Ullscarf

Unearthly on Ullscarf

Postby The English Alpinist » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:13 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Castle Crag, Eagle Crag, Grange Fell, Great Crag, Sergeant's Crag, Ullscarf

Hewitts included on this walk: Ullscarf

Date walked: 04/03/2016

Time taken: 7.25

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 1214m

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1 Ullscarf.JPG
An almost other-planetry looking Ullscarf.

As yesterday, I took a bus ride from my accommodation at Scales and began this walk from Grange. Not before having morning coffee and a teacake breakfast in Keswick Costa, before catching the connection into Borrowdale. The weather was somewhat wilder today, alas, but the biggest factor was that there'd been a heavy snowfall during the night. It stayed fine all the way onto Eagle Crag (stiff climb!) and Sergeant's Crag, and I had some views to remember. I'll remember the name 'Greenup Edge' too. This is a valley rim one has to negotiate to get onto Ullscarf from this direction. It was where cloud and squally weather came in with a vengeance. Furthermore, I'd made the mistake of thinking I could skirt below the crags there to avoid unnecessary height gain, but once on it I found the going was too rocky with some torturous snow drifts. Eventually, I just had to get onto the top to be able to prgress, which entailed real mountaineering hardship for a few minutes, hauling myself over rocks and virtually swimming through snow. A lot of swearing too.

The wind and precipitation relented on Ullscarf, but it was an endless and exhausting snow-trudge (knee-deep on average) in a whiteout to the summit. It felt like it would never come, and I worried I might not even find it. Happily I did, but the descent over the other side was not all that easy either. This too was drawn out, leading eventually to Great Crag, the terrain around there being snow-free (much lower) but an incessant dirty squelch. Finally it was Grange Fell, and a race against time to catch the last bus into Keswick (Greenup and Ullscarf had been such slow-going). If I failed it would mean a 4 mile road walk to tag onto a tiring day, or an expensive taxi ride, or hitch-hiking I guess (only done that once in my life, as a teenager hacked off with a wet day in Buttermere). Well, I made the bus, so all's well that end's well!

2 Costa.JPG
Pre-walk routine in Keswick during my 3-day stay (also after-walk routine, if I finished early enough).

3 Castle path.JPG
The approach to Castle Crag.

3a Castle.JPG
AW explains its appeal better than I could.

4 lots of slate.JPG
Castle Crag has lots of slate.

4a summit.JPG
It looked very much like this today.

5 summit nth.JPG
The view north off the summit.

5a fort.JPG
AW on top form here: love this little piece.

6 summit sth.JPG
Excellent overview of the challenge ahead: Eagle Crag - Seargent's Crag - Ullscarf - Great Crag.

7 eagle.JPG
Stern little climb of Eagle Crag is imminent.

8 Eagle up.JPG
A fall here would have been bad.

9 Eagle higher.JPG
The long and distinctive Glaramara is to the right (will be on it tomorrow).

10 Eagle summit.JPG
Close to Eagle Crag summit, looking back down Borrowdale.

11 to Seargents.JPG
Onward to Sergeant's Crag (High Raise in the background).

12 to Ullscarf.JPG
Ullscarf across there. Looks very white!

13 the edge.JPG
Around the basin of Greenup Edge, the blizzard hits.

14 whiteout.JPG
The whiteout slog up Ullscarf went on and on.

15 Ullscarf summit.JPG
Immense happiness to reach Ullscarf summit, though I might not show it.

16 clearing.JPG
Emerging from the cloudline, looking back across to Eagle Crag.

17 tufts.JPG
The descent none too easy on untamed snow-covered heath.

18 Grey Crag.JPG
Getting there, finally: on Great Crag.

19 Grange Fell.JPG
On Grange Fell.

20 Castle Crag.JPG
Nice view of old friend, Castle Crag, as I work my way down from Grange Fell.

21 Bus stop.JPG
15 minutes to spare!

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User avatar
The English Alpinist
Mountain Walker
Posts: 231
Munros:24   Corbetts:8
Grahams:11   Donalds:9
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:135
Joined: Oct 27, 2015
Location: Lancashire England.

Re: Unearthly on Ullscarf

Postby ChrisW » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:13 am

Another beauty TEA, blizzard aside it looks fantastic and some of your shots capture it wonderfully...just heading off now to make a toasted teacake and a latte :wink: Keep it up mate....you're going to make it :clap:
User avatar
Posts: 4940
Munros:18   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

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