11th September 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk 66

6 tarns around Ullscarf

Time 8:30am to 1:50pm
Duration 5 hr 20 min
Distance 10.7 mile
Ascent 2600 ft
Walking with On my own
Wythburn - Wyth Burn - Wythburn Head Tarns - The Bog - Greenup Edge - Greenup Edge Tarns - Ullscarf - Standing Crag - Standing Crag Tarn - Blea Tarn - Bell Crags - Launchy Tarn - Brown Rigg - froest track to Harrop Tarn - Dob Gill - Wythburn
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Weather Readings

The Gadget
All readings were taken using a Kestrel 2000 Weather Meter
Live temperature recorded at the time I press the hold key
Maximum Wind Speed Maximum wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location Average Wind Speed
Average wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location
Wind Chill
Combination of wind speed and temperature. The gadget does the calculations not me.

Route Map


Although progress has slowed down considerably over the last couple of months, I'm nearing the end of the tarns walks I had listed for this year. To state the obvious, as the number of walks to choose from dropped, it has become less practical to do one of these walks every time I get out. Add this to my 'not doing then in any particular order' approach and I now find that three of the remaining routes are wet area walks. It's just the way it worked out.
Of the three walks I mention, this one has the most off path sections and although it might not turn out to be the longest, is certainly cries out to be done when the place is reasonably dry underfoot.

The road is left behind and I make my way through Wyth Burn.

Being sheltered from the wind, it was warm work walking up the side of Wyth Burn this morning. And, as I gained height I couldn't help notice how the bracken was starting to turn. Unfortunately it hadn't died off quite as much as I'd have liked. Later in the walk I ended up doing battle with the stuff. I'm pleased to say I won the fight despite my opponent being taller than I was.

Looking back.

The first tarn(s) on today's outing is (or should that be are) Wythburn Head Tarns.




Shortly after passing the tarns you come face to face with somewhere vary aptly named The Bog. Fortunately for anyone walking through here there's a decent path running around the edge of the area; that's it on the left. Having said that, after periods of prolonged rain the path would still leave you wet and muddy. Whatever the conditions under foot, it's always a wonderfully quiet place where you'll generally find a little bit of the Lake District that you can have all to yourself.

Looking back to The Bog.

When I set off walking I had hoped the morning would clear up and I'd perhaps get some nice warm sunshine. That didn't turn out to be the case but, part of me was strangely pleased about it. The greyness of the morning gave this area that extra feeling of remoteness and it also gave me an even greater feeling of being alone. Hard to put into words but you might get the gist of what I'm saying.
From here I'd walk across to the fellside over there and then up to the lowest point on the skyline (Greenup Edge).

It's a bit hazy but here's a picture looking back the way the way I'd just came.

After turning right at the top of Greenup Edge I make my way across to have a look at the Greenup Edge Tarns. This is the bigger of them.

Heading up to Ullscarf where I reckoned it was beginning to brighten up a little.

Standing Crag summit.
Shortly before reaching Standing Crag I passed the only other person I saw on today's walk. A lady walking on her own on what sounded like a brilliant route from Thirlmere Dam to Grasmere via Ullscarf, High Raise and Blea Rigg; and, I assume Silver How. "How are you getting back to the car. Is some one picking you up" I asked. "I'll just get the bus back".
After we'd gone our separate ways my mind was racing with ideas. In all the thousands of Lake District walks I've done, I haven't once thought of using the bus to allow me to do linear routes.

Looking around to my left I see Blea Tarn (the big one) and Standing Crag Tarn (the smaller ones).

Standing Crag Tarn is a little too wet around the edges to risk getting any closer. If we were due another couple of weeks of dry weather it might have been a different story but as it was, I saw no need to wet the inside, as well as the outside of my boots .


It was far from cold but there was a strong wind blowing across here. Enough to make me seek shelter behind a big rock near Blea Tarn while I had something to eat.

Blea Tarn was visited, stomach was filled and now I head up to Bell Crags. I didn't really need to get to the top of here but I reckoned it would offer the best vantage point to suss out the most practical route down to Launchy Gill Tarn. I've been to the tarn a few times in the past but never from this direction. So, if past experiences have taught me anything about this very wet and pathless area, it's always try to work out your route before you actually get in among the bogs and streams.

Here's a close up of Launchy Gill Tarn.

And a not so close up with the tarn near enough in the centre of the photo. Now you see why it's best to view it from higher ground first.

Not far from the tarn now and I've almost ran out of higher, dry ground. Thankfully the lack of rain in recent weeks has left the place much less boggy than it normally is. So, without a great deal of inconvenience I manage to reach the edge of the tarn today. Admittedly this isn't everyone's cup of tea but for me this is a fantastic place. Pathless, peaceful, and in a good way, it has a definite feeling of loneliness about it.

Launchy Gill Tarn. I wonder how many other people visited this tarn today.


After a hard going and time consuming walk from the tarn I reach the woodland above Thirlmere. I have two choices here, follow the trees until I reach the Mosshause Gill path or head down here to pick up the woodland path which would take me to Harrop Tarn. I opt to go straight down here but hadn't expected the bracken further down to be quite as thick or quite so high.



Thirlmere comes into view now and the sea of bracken leaves me no option other than to head across to the treeline in the hope of an easier time of it.

Blimey, that was hard work. All part of the fun though.

Looking back along the forest track I used to reach Harrop Tarn. That's the side of Helvellyn in the background.


Harrop Tarn was reached in warm sunshine and I saw no reason not to sit down for ten minutes and simply enjoy the place.

Harrop Tarn and Tarn Crags.

Harrop Tarn's outflow into Dob Gill. I remember when this was all thick woodland with hardly any view at all; other than that the tarn itself.

I cross Dobgill Bridge where I have a nice clear view across to Whelp Side (Helvellyn).

After a nice easy walk of a mile or so from Dob Gill I reach Steel End. It took me 20 minutes to walk this particular 'mile or so'. That gave me enough time to think about the previous sixty five tarns walks and decide this one has to be in the top five.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks