The heart of the Lakes - High Seat and Ullscarf

Submitted by Timwoods on 26 July 2010
 
(5 votes)
A linear, full-day mountain (above 600m) walk in England starting at Keswick, Cumbria, about 23km (roughly 14 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs. This route heads right through the heart of the Lakes. Starting from Keswick, you climb onto a ridge running north to south across many of the Central Fells - Bleaberry Fell, High Seat and Ullscarf. You then drop down into Grasmere (which has regular buses to Keswick). The route is ideal for peak-spotters - you traipse past the 'back' of the Hellvellyn group (i.e. the side no one ever goes up) and several of the Western Fells are also visible on clear days. Beware - it gets boggy on top. Start: Keswick, OS Grid: NY264236
End: Grasmere, OS Grid: NY336074
Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 881m (2892ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 1772m (5814ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 890m (2922ft)
Max. Elevation: 720m (2362ft)

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Waypoints
OS Grid: NY263235
From Keswick bus station, head through the town centre. At the end of the high street, walk along Ambleside Road until the bridleway heading to Castlerigg. For a shorter walk in summer, take a bus from Keswick to Derwent Water YHA. From here, take the steep path via Ashness Gill to High Seat.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 1 OS Grid: NY283221
The walk proper starts in Castlerigg. head through the village to the end of the road, and take the footpath heading on to Castlerigg Fell.
About 3 km (roughly 2 miles) from 2 OS Grid: NY286195
First high point of the day is Bleaberry Fell (590m). From here, a path runs right along the high ground to Ullscarf 8km to the south.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 3 OS Grid: NY287179
Next stop is the rocky summit of High Seat (608m). The path from the youth hostel approach also meets the main path here. It's heathery, boggy and glorious. Time to test how waterproof those boots are ...
About 2 km (roughly 1 miles) from 4 OS Grid: NY288164
A wire fence provides a useful guide across the ground towards High Tove. The path disappears amid the murk at times, but head south and you'll be on track.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 5 OS Grid: NY288142
The land dries out a little as you descend towards Blea Tarn. There's a big path running across your route, the bridleway from Rosthwaite over to Thirlmere. Cross it and start ascending up Ullscarf. Head for the outcrops labelled as Low Saddle and High Saddle on OS maps.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 6 OS Grid: NY291121
The high point of the day at 726m. For a summit so central, it sees relatively little walking traffic. Cross the fence (there is a stile where the fence turns a corner just beyond the summit) and head towards High Raise.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 7 OS Grid: NY285104
Drop from Ullscarf down towards Grasmere Common. The easiest way is to head for the bridleway between Ullscarf and High Raise; with a bit of easy down-climbing, you can also cut down earlier, just beyond Greenhow Crags on the south-facing slope of Middle How.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 8 OS Grid: NY296099
Pick up the bridelway running across the common, which drops you into Far Easedale. You'll also need to switch maps to Lake District South East (OS007), although the path to Grasmere is pretty clear.
About 3 km (roughly 2 miles) from 9 OS Grid: NY322088
Follow the track past the farms and beneath Helm Crag. Nearly there ...
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 10 OS Grid: NY336076
Finish up in Grasmere, where there are cafes galore, plus a small supermarket and pubs. Buses back to Keswick leave from opposite the Post Office, near the church.
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