21st October 2012

The early birds got the walk- Blencathra, Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell


Walk Overview
Time 08.00 to 14.05
Duration 6 hr 5 min
Distance 10.4 mile
Ascent 3000 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Scales - Scales Fell - Blencathra - Atkinson Pike - Bannerdale Crags - Bowscale Fell - Mungrisdale - Hazelhurst - Far Southerfell - Souther Fell (farm) - Scales
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, Scales, Threlkeld

I'm sure anyone who has driven along this stretch of the A66 will have noticed the line of cars along both sides of the road. To hazard a guess, I'd say almost all of the occupants had headed out for a walk up Blencathra; and probably via Sharp Edge.

There is actually space for quite a few cars along here, but thoughtless parking often reduces the number of cars that can manage to get a spot. Parking is free, but it does fill up pretty fast, at all times of year.


Route Map

Timed to perfection. We left the car and gained just enough height to catch the sun rising from behind Great Mell Fell.

Today's walk was Jennifer's choice; including the start time and place, so I have her to thank for everything falling just right to give us one of those magical fell walking experiences. We'd caught the sunrise and now the whole fellside was ablaze with the early morning light. Add this to the cloud in the valleys, the warmer then you'd expect temperature, the fact that we had the place to ourselves and you have a fantastic ascent of Blencathra.


A view across to Clough Head and Great Dodd.

Just over on our right hand side is Souther Fell.

Jennifer stops to admire the view I've just taken a picture of, and I don't blame her. It was far too nice to rush this morning.

A sort of close up photo showing cloud hanging over Penrith and in every dip and hollow between here and the Pennines.

At much closer quarters then the previous picture we saw the stubborn cloud in St John's in the Vale and other Lakeland valleys. On more then one occasion we said anyone on High Rigg would be having a real treat this morning.

That's me taking a picture of Jennifer making her way up the ridge.

Looking across to Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell. We'll be across there later in the walk.

Shap Edge profile.

I think I'm correct in saying this is called a cloud bow

Exactly two hours after setting out we reached to summit and the cloud just doesn't want to move from those valleys today.

Looking across to the Skiddaw fells from Blencathra summit.

Looking across to the Skiddaw fells from Blencathra summit.

Looking across to the Skiddaw fells from Blencathra summit.

This is the larger of the two white stone crosses found on the summit area.

On the route down from Atkinson Pike I took this picture looking over Mungrisdale Common to Skiddaw & Co and Great Calva.

Okay, which way should we go now?
To make the walk a bit longer, we could go to Bannerdale Crags (right) first and then across to Bowscale Fell (left). From there we can easily drop down to Mungrisdale and then walk back along the base of Souther Fell.

The next picture is taken from the path you can see over there on the right.

And as if by magic, I'm now in front.

Bowscale Fell taken from the stone found just across from the highest point on Bannerdale Crags.
Jennifer is actually in this picture but you'll need to look carefully.

Bowscale Fell summit.

High Pike and Carrock Fell.

Now we head down the straight line path running down the side of The Tongue. Surprisingly, we saw more people walking down here than we did on the rest of the walk put together.

And now looking back up.

Just a short walk to Mungrisdale now and it was absolutely gorgeous walking along here. It was certainly more like summer than it was in June, July or August this year.

Crossing Bullfell Beck at the point just before it joins up with the River Glenderamackin.

A view back across to The Tongue.


It's only a month since I walked along here but that doesn't matter. As I said last time, this is a lovely walk along here.

The unmistakable Great Mell Fell.

A big sky above Great Mell Fell.

It's a little difficult to see on a photograph but up on the fellside over there we could see the route we took the bottom of Scales Fell at the start of the walk.

What a fantastic walk, 6 hours and 5 minutes of total enjoyment.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks