VISIT five Wainwrights and a remote tarn on this adventurous linear walk using the 555 bus service, writes JOHN EDMONDSON.

Much of the walk is over peat bog, which can be ankle deep even in dry weather. Alfred Wainwright warned this walk is one of the wettest in Lakeland, and not to be undertaken for pleasure! However, the views, particularly from above the tarn, are not to be missed and it’s quiet even during busy holidays. There are few clear landmarks so a large scale map is essential and choose a clear, dry day but expect to get wet feet.


Start from the Wythburn bus stop on the A591 at the south end of Thirlmere Reservoir (grid reference NY 324 129).


Distance: 11 miles and 2,900 feet of ascent

Time: 6 hours walking

Terrain: boggy fell paths

Map: OS Explorer OL4


1 From the bus stop walk along the road to Armboth for half a mile. Turn left onto the footpath by a white barn (Stenkin), going through the farmyard via two gates onto an uphill track. Turn left at a footpath fingerpost and scramble uphill beside a wall on the right. At the top of the slope the path bends left heading towards a cairn on Nab Crags and then curves to the right along a grassy path up Ullscarf Gill, rising into a bowl shaped valley, where the path ends. From here, skilful navigation is required.

2 Turn right to cross the beck and continue ascending Ullscarf Gill in a westerly direction over rough fell, keeping below crags on the left, and then head directly to the summit of Ullscarf (a Wainwright fell, which means wolf gap), marked by a cairn with a metal stake. Turn right and head northwards to the corner of a fence. Walk along the line of the fence then continue along the ridge over High Saddle and Low Saddle. The green Watendlath valley lies ahead and Blea Tarn is on the right: your journey ahead is between the two. Descend to the far (northern) end of Blea Tarn: the largest, highest and most remote of the three with this name in the Lake District.

3 Cross the beck and walk in the direction of the sign reading Footpath to Watendlath avoid Blea Tarn Gill up across boggy fell to a fence. For the next three miles follow this fence-line northwards over High Tove and High Seat to Bleaberry Fell (all Wainwrights). There is a footpath of sorts but the challenge is in finding the best route through the bog. Sometimes it is best to just 'go for it' and not worry about wet feet. After the summit of High Seat (marked by a survey column) there’s a stile over a cross-fence then a good path to Bleaberry Fell. Views of Blencathra and Threlkeld village appear to the right and from the summit a splendid view of Derwentwater appears.

4 Descend via steps to a wide path leading to Walla Crag: one of the most popular Wainwrights with its panoramic view of Derwentwater and Keswick. Descend to the north east via a well-trodden footpath. Cross a footbridge and turn left onto a tarmacked road then left onto the footpath signed Keswick Great Wood. Pass Springs Farm and continue along Springs Road, turning left onto Ambleside Road and St John’s Street into the centre of Keswick.

NB: restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.