30th November 2008

It's so much easier when the ground is frozen - Ullscarf to High Tove


Walk Overview
Time 09.10 to 15.20
Duration 6 hr 10 min
Distance 10.9 mile
Ascent 2800 ft
Walking with Andrew Leaney
Rosthwaite - Nr Stonethwaite - Lining Crag - Greenup Edge - Greenup Edge Tarns - Ullscarf - Standing Crag - Bell Crags - Armboth Fell - High Tove - Watendlath - Puddingstone Bank - Rosthwaite
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Rosthwaite, Borrowdale

There are actually two car parks right next to each other in Rosthwaite. One is the official car park and this is reflected in the pay and display price. The other one is simply a number of parking spaces adjoining Rosthwaite Village Hall which has a honesty box on the wall of the building.
I know which one I'd rather give my money to.


Route Map

A frosty morning in Rosthwaite.

A shady view back down Greenup Gill.

The path up the side of Lining Crag turned out to be a bit tricky this morning. In fact almost all of the route was done up the side of the path because it was just too icy. I'm glad we weren't walking back down here.

In the sunshine at last, after what seemed an awful long walk in the shade. I suppose that's the down side to winter walking; depending on whether you set off on the eastern or the western side of the fells you end up walking in shade at the beginning or the end of your walk. Personally I prefer to have the sun at the end of the walk. At this time of year and in conditions like this, descending from the fells in the late afternoon sunshine is a magical experience.

Well up the route to Greenup Edge now and looking across to Ill Crag, Great End, Allan Crags and Glaramara.

Once you reach the ridge at Greenup Edge the eastern fells come into view.


A couple of nights with a decent frost made it much easier than normal to walk through the area between Greenup Edge and Ullscarf. This is somewhere I always enjoy anyway, but I have to admit it was nice to reach the other end relatively dry.

Bow Fell, Esk Pike, Ill Crag, Great End, Allan Crags and Glaramara.

After a succession of false summits it was one of those "are we nearly there yet ?" moments. Even when you know if you nearly there or not it doesn't feel any shorter.

Now we're there or are we here.

I know shooting into the sun brakes one of the rules of photography, but being a fell walker that takes photos as opposed to a photographer who goes fell walking, I suppose I can get away with breaking the occasional 'rule'. I think it looks OK anyway.

It was a couple of minutes before 12 noon when I took this photo and we could see the cloud was still lingering in the valley around Keswick and Bassenthwaite Lake. Anyone on Cat Bells, Walla Crag or the Lord's Seat fells would have had a real treat today.


Standing on Standing Crag.

And now without the fence posts. Notice the lack of snow in the northern half of the Lakes.

Although this has been hijacked as a sheepfold, I suspect it was originally something to do with the disused quarry found below Bell Grags.

Looking cross to the eastern fells again, with the highest point on the skyline being Helvellyn.

A big rock in front of big fells.

By the time we were approaching Armboth Fell the snow had all but vanished; a definite north south split if ever there was one.
You can probably guess what I'm going to say about this area, and as controversial as it may sound, I have to say I think it's fantastic. It's just a pity it retains water as much as it does because this area has to by quite high on my list of favourite places. I don't mind getting wet, but for most of the year this is generally somewhere I avoid. Describing it as a huge sponge wouldn't be far from the truth. We talked about the opinion that most people have of this area, and it seems a shame that so many folk dislike the area with such a passion. As Andrew said "on a perfect day like this it's just magical."

Armboth Fell 'summit' in front of Helvellyn.

And again, this time looking across to High Tove and High Seat.

Looking back across a sea of grassy tussocks to Armboth Fell (the rocky outcrop). Thankfully the ground was frozen so we weren't getting quite as wet as normal, but stepping over the tussocks made it was such hard work walking across here.

High Tove summit and the eastern fells stretching from Clough Head to White Side.

Looking along the fence leading through the Pewits; generally accepted as being the wettest place in the Lake District, well, apart from the lakes, but only just.
The fell on the right hand side of the photo is Blencathra.

Reflections in Watendlath Tarn.
Considering the lateness of the hour it was packed here. There was a group of photographers (I wonder if they were shooting into the sun), people fishing, a group of about thirty people next to the tarn, a few late fell walkers and of course us two.

Late afternoon light on Puddingstone Bank.

The last couple of minutes of sunshine on a perfect winters day.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks