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This Month's Walk: High Seat and Ullscarf

Written by George Fisher

Image for article This Month's Walk: High Seat and Ullscarf

with Tim Woods of Car Free Walks

We’re linking up with, the website for people who love walking but want to reduce their impact on the environment, to bring you a classic walk each issue.


A linear, full-day mountain (above 600m) walk, 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 head past the 'back' of the Helvellyn group (ie 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.

We’re including OS references to allow you to programme waypoints into your GPS. If you’ve never used a GPS unit and would like to try one of our latest Garmin models for the day, just pop into the store and have a word with one of our tech experts.

Loop or linear? Linear
Maps: OS Explorer 4, The English Lakes, NW Area and OS Explorer 7, The English Lakes, SE Area
Total Distance: 21km (roughly 13 miles)
Total height gain: 881m (2892ft)
Start: Keswick
End: Grasmere, OS Grid: NY336074
Bus: Regular 555 bus services between Kendal and Keswick
Unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs

1. Keswick 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.

2. Castlerigg OS Grid: NY283221, about 2 km (1.25 miles) from 1
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.

3. Bleaberry Fell OS Grid: NY286195, about 3 km (1.8 miles) from 2
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.

4. High Seat OS Grid: NY287179, about 2 km (1.25 miles) from 3
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 ...

5. High Tove OS Grid: NY288164, about 2 km (1.25 miles) from 4
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.

6. Blea Tarn OS Grid: NY288142, about 2 km (1.25 miles) from 5
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.

7. Ullscarf OS Grid: NY291121, about 2 km (1.25 miles) from 6
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.

8. Greenup Edge OS Grid: NY285104, about 2 km (1.25 miles) from 7
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.

9. Grasmere Common OS Grid: NY296099, about 1 km (0.62 miles) from 8
Pick up the bridleway 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.

10. Beneath Helm Crag OS Grid: NY322088, about 3 km (1.8 miles) from 9
Follow the track past the farms and beneath Helm Crag. Nearly there...

11. Grasmere OS Grid: NY336076, about 2 km (1.25 miles) from 10
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.