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Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?


Postby Christo1979 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:08 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Bannerdale Crags, Blencathra, Bowscale Fell, Mungrisdale Common

Hewitts included on this walk: Bannerdale Crags, Blencathra, Bowscale Fell

Date walked: 14/08/2019

Time taken: 6.5

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 893m

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I first climbed Blencathra earlier in 2019, when snow was lying, visibility was poor, and my crampons got their first taste of a Lakeland Fell. I say climbed, but really it was a trudge up one of the 'easy' routes, via Blease Fell. I looked forward to summer, when I'd return to enjoy the apparently breathtaking views from this (according to AW) 'mountaineer's mountain'. That day was yesterday, but the weather forecasts were not looking too good. With an unfounded optimism, we set off for Mungrisdale. I say we - this was a day of real luxury, as my friend Laura had agreed to join me. It would be her first Wainwright walk, and she also drives. Normally it takes two train journeys and a bus for me to get anywhere even near the fells, so parking up at Mungrisdale and finding myself on the path within just minutes gave me a taste of the pleasures of being a hillwalker with a set of wheels.

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I'd chosen a fairly easy route for today, partly because I was 'testing out' a knee which has given me some trouble lately, and partly because it was Laura's first time in the fells. Leaving Mungrisdale village hall (where they make a very reasonable request for an even more reasonable parking fee of £2 a day, payable at the honesty box in the wall at the top end of the hall) we followed the easy, gently-sloping path skirting the southern slopes of The Tongue. AW described this path as 'the easiest route to any summit over 2000' in Lakeland' and so it proved. There were nice views of Bannerdale Crags as we ascended, but these soon gave way to the low-lying mist and by the time we were at the top of the path and heading up to the summit of Bowscale Fell, there was nothing to be seen. Still, another hill climbed.

Laura: 1, me: 61.

On the way up we bumped into two other walkers, the only other people we'd see all day. "It's nice to meet other fellow idiots" one of them said, and we had a laugh about the fact we were going to see nothing but white all day :lol:

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Leaving Bowscale Fell we dropped back down to the path above the crags, and walked around to eventually reach the second summit of the day, Bannerdale Crags. Even when you can't see anything, there is always something magical about being up in the hills. The wind and rain had subsided, and good conversation flowed as we wandered through the mist, like we were miles from anywhere. Hard to believe the busy A66 was just over the next summit.

Laura: 2, me: 62.

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

We descended to the col and had a break. We talked about options. Do we descend the easy path back to Mungrisdale already? Do we take the higher path back to the saddle between Souther Fell and Scales Fell? Do we head on up to Blencathra? Or do we take THAT option that I really don't want to mention? The path to Mungrisdale Common? :lol: I've not read a single positive thing about MC, and despite my being a seasoned bog-trotter now (it seems to be my lot on almost every walk these days :lol: ), could I really expect Laura to wander over this featureless, misty, wet, boggy ground just so I could locate and 'tick-off' a 'summit' that even AW had no time for? I'm a lucky man, because this friend said yes to the idea, and endured a walk I wouldn't wish on an enemy. Tick.

Laura: 3, me: 63.

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

From Mungrisdale Common we followed the way across the moor and approached Blencathra 'the back way', emerging at the screes above Foule Crag. As we followed the ridge we both got that sense of the dramatic drop to our left, even though we couldn't see anything. I'd hoped to show Laura Sharp Edge (if I ever decided to stop ascending Blencathra the easy way, it'll be on the cards...) and Scales Tarn. Instead, we just about made out the cross and the tarn on the summit plateau, and found ourselves at the trig base at 868m a few minutes later. Second time up this mountain, and still not a view of anything!

Laura: 4, me: still 63.

ImageUntitled by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

"Did I ever tell you about the horrendous snowy storm last time I was up here, I was almost on my knees, clutching my axe as I came up that path, there...."

"Yes, you might have mentioned it once or twice" :roll:

From Blencathra it was simply a case of following the good path down the ridge, until Scales Fell, and down to the saddle, where we dropped down to the footbridge under White Horse bent and followed the path alongside the River Glenderamackin, all the way back to Mungrisdale. The path looked easy, but following the recent rains, there had been landslips and flooding, and that last 'easy' walk back to the car turned into quite an expedition. We both fell a little quiet as we negotiated our way, and part of me wished I'd suggested a different walk, and some different fells.

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

At Mungrisdale, we headed straight into the pub and reflected on the day. I'm still not quite sure if Laura has been inspired to walk more fells, or whether she has been put off for life. What I do know is that for even the most solitary of hillwalkers like me, there is something special about a shared experience. Sharing these beautiful fells with a good friend makes for a welcome change now and then. But if there's to be a next time, perhaps I should let Laura choose the hills.

ImageWalking in The Lake District by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
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Christo1979
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Re: Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Postby trailmasher » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:55 pm

Well done for sticking it out and bagging some new tops :clap: Mungrisedale Common and a walk along the river in those conditions :roll: you certainly know how to woo a women Christo :lol: :lol: I love Blencathra and have seen it in all it's seasonal states and conditions and have no doubt that you'll revisit to find the views superb 8) Don't forget to take Laura along on a good day :wink:
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trailmasher
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Re: Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Postby Sgurr » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:24 pm

We didn't think that Mungriesdale Common was as bad as Wainwright says, but then we approached it from round the side of Skiddaw, which did add a little bit of interest. When we did Blencathra via the ridge parallel to Sharp Edge (can't remember its name,) it was hooching with people at the summit at 8 a.m. so at least you got it more or less to yourselves.) I don't think you gave Laura a bad time. I knew someone who took a new girl friend up Stuchd an Lochan as an introduction to hill walking . She asked me"What does 50 mph feel like on a summit.?" I said I didn't know, because I had never been so stupid as to go when it was forecast to be 50 mph . They ended up crawling, which put her off for life.


Good luck for your next visit.
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Sgurr
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Re: Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Postby Pointless Parasite » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:31 pm

I'm not convinced you've actually climbed Mungrisdale Common. In such poor visibility how could you tell? I think you're going to have to go back and do it again :lol:. Actually I had exactly the same problem. It played on my mind so much that I did indeed climb it a second time, to make sure. It was a wonderful evening with perfect visibily but I still couldn't work out if I'd actually reached the summit :roll:
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Pointless Parasite
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Re: Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:48 am

I wouldn't worry about getting a view from the summit. There are plenty ways up there to get through, sooner of later you'll hit lucky. I didn't mind MC too much, when clear it's a peaceful place surrounded by other fells giving a sense of being away from it all, add a nice day and the big cotton bobbing in the breeze and it's positively pleasant.
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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Postby Christo1979 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:15 pm

trailmasher wrote:Well done for sticking it out and bagging some new tops :clap: Mungrisedale Common and a walk along the river in those conditions :roll: you certainly know how to woo a women Christo :lol: :lol: I love Blencathra and have seen it in all it's seasonal states and conditions and have no doubt that you'll revisit to find the views superb 8) Don't forget to take Laura along on a good day :wink:


Ha ha, if it were a walking date I feel sure I’d not be seeing her again :lol:
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Christo1979
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Location: Gateshead

Re: Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Postby Christo1979 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:17 pm

Sgurr wrote:We didn't think that Mungriesdale Common was as bad as Wainwright says, but then we approached it from round the side of Skiddaw, which did add a little bit of interest. When we did Blencathra via the ridge parallel to Sharp Edge (can't remember its name,) it was hooching with people at the summit at 8 a.m. so at least you got it more or less to yourselves.) I don't think you gave Laura a bad time. I knew someone who took a new girl friend up Stuchd an Lochan as an introduction to hill walking . She asked me"What does 50 mph feel like on a summit.?" I said I didn't know, because I had never been so stupid as to go when it was forecast to be 50 mph . They ended up crawling, which put her off for life.


Good luck for your next visit.


Thank you :) I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable taking any girlfriend on a hill walk, given my near 100% success rate at hitting interesting weather :lol:
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Christo1979
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Location: Gateshead

Re: Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Postby Christo1979 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:20 pm

Pointless Parasite wrote:I'm not convinced you've actually climbed Mungrisdale Common. In such poor visibility how could you tell? I think you're going to have to go back and do it again :lol:. Actually I had exactly the same problem. It played on my mind so much that I did indeed climb it a second time, to make sure. It was a wonderful evening with perfect visibily but I still couldn't work out if I'd actually reached the summit :roll:


Ha ha :lol: ‘this IS the summit, we’re at 633m’ - ‘yeah but that bit was a higher. And what’s that cairn on the horizon?’ Aaaarrrrgggghhhh.

Let’s just go to Blencathra :lol:
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Christo1979
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Posts: 144
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Sub 2000:50   Hewitts:75
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Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Postby Christo1979 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:22 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:I wouldn't worry about getting a view from the summit. There are plenty ways up there to get through, sooner of later you'll hit lucky. I didn't mind MC too much, when clear it's a peaceful place surrounded by other fells giving a sense of being away from it all, add a nice day and the big cotton bobbing in the breeze and it's positively pleasant.


I must admit I didn’t mind it, either. Besides, I’m coming to the conclusion that if you can survive a couple of days in the North Pennine bogs, youre fine :lol:
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Christo1979
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Posts: 144
Munros:7   Corbetts:9
Grahams:14   Donalds:30
Sub 2000:50   Hewitts:75
Wainwrights:65   Islands:22
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

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