Ullscarf is a fell in the English Lake District close to the
geographical centre of the Cumbrian hills. It forms part of the
watershed between the Derwentwater and Thirlmere catchments, a ridge
running broadly north-south.
Ullscarf is bordered on the west by the Greenup
valley with steep but mainly grassy slopes, the chief exception is
Lining Crag. This impressive rock face is prominent in views up the
valley standing right beside the bridleway.
From above, however,
it is reached via a shallow grassy saddle and makes a fine viewpoint or
picnic spot. A number of gills run down this western side of Ullscarf.
To the east lies Thirlmere across a moorland of small hillocks. The
final descent is steep, falling down conifer clad slopes to the
To the south of Thirlmere is its feeder valley of
Wythburndale which rises eastward to its source below Greenup Edge.
Above Wythburndale Ullscarf displays a near continuous line of crags and
the principal faces is Castle Crag and Nab Crags.
A series of low
tops crown the edge above Nab Crags, one of them bearing a prominent
stone structure visible from the valley below. This is marked 'beacon'
on OS maps but is in fact a very short length of dry stone wall. It was
set up some decades ago to replace a vandalised beacon cairn.
main ridge of the Central Fells continues south from Ullscarf dropping
over a field of rocky knolls to cross the wide depression of Greenup
Edge. This is the connection to High Raise (Langdale), the highest of
the Central Fells.
To the north, the natural boundaries are
unclear - Standing Crag provides a terminal to the summit plateau rising
beautifully above its reflecting tarn. From here the ridge continues
across wet ground toward High Tove, the next Wainwright. Some guidebooks
however consider the intermediate Bell Crags (summit unnamed on Ordnance
Survey maps) to be a separate fell. A second subsidiary ridge travels
north north west from the summit to Great Crag, passing over the twin
tops of Coldbarrow Fell.
Between these two northern ridges is
Blea Tarn, a large pool of about 40 ft (12 m) depth, Blea Tarn provides
the main feed for the more famous beauty spot of Watendlath Tarn.
Drainage to the east (and Thirlmere) is provided by Ullscarf and
Launchy Gills, the former flowing via the secluded Harrop Tarn within
the Thirlmere Forest. This may be a corrie tarn which has silted up over
time, extensive shallows being colonised by sedge, water horsetail and
yellow water lilly.
These waters are joined by the Wyth Burn from
the south of the fell. All water from the west of the fell reaches
Greenup Gill via a number of feeders and flows to Derwentwater.
The top of the fell is an upland plateau of about 4 square miles (10 km2)
predominantly clad in coarse grass and heather but there are few paths
on the fell itself. One track follows the watershed marked in places by
old iron fenceposts.
Bridleways cross the ridge to the north and
south of Ullscarf providing access from Wythburn, Thirlmere,
Stonethwaite and Watendlath.
The summit is marked by a large
cairn on a small rocky outcrop, the old fence post marching past
(intermittently) in either direction.
Views from the top are
extensive befitting the central location, with the Scafells and
Helvellyn ranges being shown to particular effect.
to the south east a number of ascent routes are possible. The Wythburn
valley (and its bogs) can be followed to reach the ridge at Greenup edge
or more direct climbs can be made via Harrop Tarn. From here either the
line of tops above Nab Crags or Standing Crag will be the intermediate
Ullscarf can also be climbed from Watendlath gaining
the north north east ridge above Blea Tarn and then ascending over the
tops of Coldbarrow Fell.
The most used route, since it coincides
with a section of Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk, is to follow the
Greenup valley from Stonethwaite, passing up beside Lining Crag and then
turning north before Greenup edge to 'cut the corner'.
routes near Ullscarf