Bowscale Fell through Bannerdale.

Start. Mungrisdale.

Route. Mungrisdale - Bannerdale - The Tongue - Bannerdale Crags - Bowscale Fell - Tarn Crag - Bowscale Tarn - Drycomb - Bowscale - Mungrisdale.

Notes. It was 7.30 in the morning, I was wandering into a valley that once echoed to the sound of pick and shovel, the lead minors have long gone to the big quarry in the sky, but the tracks they built remain, as good today as when they first laid them over two century’s ago. On a stifling hot May morning I'm heading through Bannerdale in search of the promised breeze, my destination the impressive wall of rock that is Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell lonely and wind swepped was also en route today, before descending to Bowscale Tarn home to two immortal fish, Wordsworth wrote the story, fish or no fish it's a wonderful isolated stretch of water visited by few.

I parked in Mungrisdale next to the public telephone box, my route followed an old quarry track west. In the company of the infant River Glenderamackin I wandered, striding out into lonely Bannerdale, at the confluence of the river and Bullfell Beck I forked right to head towards the steep slopes of The Tongue, I was too hot, the heat forced me away from the nose of the hill, my intended ascent route, I begun a quest for a gentler approach. The path that guided me climbed through Bannerdale to reach the saddle between Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell, half way through the valley a narrow path emerged from my right, slightly more substantial than a sheep track, this looked like an easy way to the summit. I ascended, easy walking until the path vanished, the final pull saw me crabbing from sheep track to sheep track, on cresting the summit I was greeted by a lonely cairn and stunning views but best of all a cooling breeze.

A quick brew followed before heading west to re-join the main path, on reaching the saddle mentioned earlier I turned left, high above a wall of cliffs I traversed, dizzy views down onto the remains of Bannerdale's lead mining industry, a short ascent followed before I stood on the 2240ft summit of Bannerdale Crags. A mile to the north a rather large pile of stones can be seen, this is the wind shelter on Bowscale Fell, next on the agenda. I re-traced my steps before making the short ascent, the wind shelter and cairn that welcomed me provided little refuge from the strong wind ripping over the summit, so I continued to seek shelter under the wall of rock that guards one of the loneliest tarns in Lakeland, Bowscale.

Nestling in a glacial moraine Bowscale Tarn was once a far busier place, much visited by Victorian gentle folk in their finary, the bridle path that descends to Bowscale village was constructed to allow easy access, it was to be my exit route if I could safely get to it. I traversed Tarn Crag hunting for a steep path that would carry me to the mouth of the tarn, the said path was easy to find, narrow, steep and loose in places, the ascent passed without incident. This is a great place for a picnic or wild camp, I sat a while before following the main path down the hill to Bowscale where I joined a narrow tarmac road, a mile of road walking followed, not quite the perfect end to a perfect day but not far off.

view route map.


This sleepy village is yet to rise as I head past the farm buildings to my first ascent of the day, yes that's it, The Tongue.

The scene through Bannerdale, Bannerdale Crags, The Tongue and one lone walker.

Rising above Bannerdale, Bannerdale Crags with the steep slopes of The Tongue to the right.

Striding through Bannerdale.

Wonderful views from the summit of The Tongue, the Eden Valley with the Pennines stretched out across the horizon.

A stunning panorama from The Tongue, seen over Souther Fell the High Street massif.

Looking south over Bannerdale, in the distance the shadowed northern face of Clough Head with Great Dodd rising to the left.

Heading along the grassy ridge from The Tongue, viewing Bannerdale Crags backed by Blencathra.

The summit Bannerdale Crags looking to Bowscale Fell.

Looking over Bannerdale and the Eden Valley, across the skyline the Pennines, The Backbone of England.

The dramatic rock scenery of Blencathra as seen from the summit of Bannerdale Crags.

Descending the slopes of Bannerdale Crags looking to Skiddaw across Mungrisdale Common.

The summit Bowscale Fell with views to the Sharp Edge ascent of Blencathra.

Viewing High Pike and Carrock Fell from a wind swepped Bowscale Fell.

Soaking up the views to Blencathra.

Above Tarn Crags with stunning views over Carrock Fell and the vast expanse of the Eden Valley.

About to descend to Bowscale Tarn, across the valley High Pike and the scree, heather and gorse covered slopes of Carrock Fell.

A quick look back before disappearing over the edge, Skiddaw and Great Calva seen across the valley of the River Caldew.

Home to two immortal fish, the dark waters of lonely Bowscale Tarn.

Carrock Fell over Mosedale.

One of the secret corners of Lakeland, Mosedale.

The final view of the day, Bannerdale Crags with The Tongue to the right seen from the approach to Mungrisdale.

back to top

back to list