13th July 2013

Ullscarf, Armboth Fell and Thirlmere


Walk Overview
Time 10am to 2.30pm
Duration 4 hr 30 min
Distance 9.3 mile
Ascent 2600 ft
Walking with On my own
Dobgill - Harrop Tarn - Wythburn Fells - Ullscarf - Standing Crag - Bells Crags - Armboth Fell - Armboth - road back to Dobgill
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Dobgill, Thirlmere

In stark contrast to the eastern side of Thirlmere this is a wonderfully quiet area with a succession of car parks along the road between Wythburn and Thirlmere dam.

Dobgill car park is free, has ample parking, public toilets and a convenient route up to the central ridge via Harrop Tarn.


Route Map

Some places are best visited after we've had a good week of hard frosts or a few weeks of hot dry weather. The area around Ullscarf and Armboth Fell is such a place. Frosty weather has been a little disappointing lately but it's certainly been dry and hot. So, it would have been daft not to come here and take advantage of it being so dry under foot. Other folk obviously disagree because I never saw another person from leaving the car to reaching the Thirlmere road at Armboth.
A fantastic, peaceful day in an area I particularly enjoy, , , , if it's dry.

Not much water flowing down Dob Gill today.

It looks like someone has been busy cutting down the trees.

Harrop Tarn, slowly but surely silting up and disappearing. We don't seem to mind interfering with nature and ruining things if it's a benefit to us humans (Thirlmere Dam springs to mind), so what a shame we couldn't intervene with nature to save something.

Harrop Tarn seen from a little higher up.

It looks confusing but it isn't really. Just head for the skyline on the left and walk up and down every lump and bump until the terrain turns less rocky and more grassy. Then it's more or less a simple case of heading up hill by which ever route takes your fancy.

the Beacon. A short section of wall which still remains upright despite the best efforts of the wind in this exposed location.

Looking across to Ullscarf Gill. Last time I was here I followed an off path route up the side of the gill.


A view back down the ridge to Thirlmere. In the far distance is Blencathra, Clough Head and the Dodds and on the opposite side of the lake is Helvellyn.

One of the many small tarns dotted along the ridge. It was was vary hot and to be honest I was very tired after quite a few hot and humid nights when I haven't slept very much. Unfortunately the water in these pools is brown and a little muddy and not something you want to pour over your head; even in these temperatures.


Just to let you see it wasn't all blue sky and sunshine today.

Ullscarf summit.

A long distance view across to Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake.

Passing by the upside down fence post. Turning left takes you to High and Low Saddle. Going straight on takes you to Standing Crag or in my case Sitting Crag, because that's what I did when I got there.

Looking northwards with lots of fells in view including Skiddaw, Lonscale Fell, Great Calva, Blencathra, Raven Crag, High Seat Clough Head and the Dodds.

Looking down to Blea Tarn from Standing Crag.

and again, from the side of the crag.

The next high ground is Bell Crags. It was nice to be able to walk across here without having to find the least wet route.

Cotton Grass in abundance.

From the top of Bell Crags you can see High Tove, Armboth Fell and High Seat. If you're not too familiar with the area this is a good place to figure out what's what and then plan the route you intend to take.

A close up of Launchy Tarn.

Below Bell Crags is this fine sheepfold.

It doesn't get much more peaceful than this.

Even when the ground isn't so wet it makes sense to aim for the higher rocky sections around here.

Boulder on a rock in a sea of grass.

Armboth Fell summit in front of High Tove.

As I sat at the summit I suddenly realised I hadn't noticed that before.
"how could you not notice Blencathra in the distance"
  "I don't mean that. I hadn't noticed you can see Thirlmere Dam from here"

Three locals looking a bit curious as to why someone would be walking along here.

After crossing Fisher Gill I simply headed across the fell until I met up with the path running down from High Tove.

I'm heading off the fells and down to Thirlmere now.

Big rocks just above the Thirlmere road.

I'll bet there were more people up there than there were over here today.

I know it's a road and most folk would go to great lengths to avoid walking on them, but this is a lovely walk back along here to Dob Gill.

Looking down Thirlmere to the Dunmail Raise gap between Seat Sandal and Steel Fell. I wonder what the travel situation would be if the gap wasn't there. A steeper road like Hard Knott Pass, a tunnel or the hassle of driving all the way around.

A view across Thirlmere to Helvellyn.

You can see just how much the water level is dropping at the moment.



David Hall -
Lake District Walks