From the Magical to the Mundane: A Northern Fells Wander

Wainwrights: Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell, Mungrisdale Common, Souther Fell
Hewitts: Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell

Date walked: 29/07/2020

Time taken: 5.25 hours

Distance: 19km

Ascent: 900m

And so to the Eastern edge of the Northern Fells to clear up a few of the more unheralded hills of the region. I parked off the road just outside the hamlet of Bowscale on what was an unseasonably cold morning, more akin to late September than late July, and headed off up Moasdale. The wind may be cold but it's a bright day and Moasdale is looking superb with the clouds starting to break up as Hughie and I made our way up the gentle gradient. My first target of the day, and in all honesty the only new location I'll visit on this walk is Bowscale Tarn which was glimpsed from 170 meters above, down the crags which surround it on my last visit to these parts, today I'm going to have breakfast there.

Setting off up Moasdale

Beautiful Moasdale, far from a gloomy valley

As said crags come into view the way steepens a little but soon enough we arrived at the shore of what AW refereed to as a Northern gem. He wasn't wrong in fairness and I pick a spot to consume my fruit and a porridge bar out of the wind and take in the scene. The wind is fairly whipping across the surface causing ripples and wavelets which catch the sunlight and dart around the tarn like sprites performing a free form dance. It's memorising and quite magical but like all ephemeral events it can't last and I pack up and head steeply up to the rim of the corrie on a narrow path.

Crags coming into view

A moment of Moasdale Magic

A local strikes a pose

Swineside and green fields

Looking back down the track

More light and shade

Bowscale Tarn panorama

Bowscale Tarn

More wonderful light and shade in Moasdale

The Dark side

Looking down to Bowscale Tarn

I took one last glimpse of Bowscale Tarn from above before trudging off in the chilly wind to the first top of the day. The ground wasn't so bad, I remember it being quite soggy up here last time and we soon arrived at, took photos and moved on. Deserving of more attention was the lovely light and shade over the Eden Valley, complete with crepuscular rays, while admiring the view I decided upon a subtle change in plan whereas I'd visit Bannerdale Crags first before plodding off to Mungrisedale Common, saving me a few meters of ascent and avoiding the steep descent down White Horse Bent.

Light Show

The Mighty Skiddaw comes into view

A last Glimpse of this Northern Gem

Rays over the Eden Valley

Ahead to Bannerdale Crags

Approaching Bowscale Fell summit, the lead shows the wind


Mell Fells mono

Hughie on Bowscale Fell

This most certainly isn't the best way to climb Bannerdale Crags, my last visit was via the East ridge which I highly recommend as it gives a bit of occasion to climbing a fell which is better than most people think when climbed this way.
Photos taken there was now no other option other than to make our way across the largely flat and increasingly soggy plateau of the notoriously pointless Mungrisedale Common.

Light catching the Eastern Ridge of Bannerdale Crags

The Tongue

Down the crags to Bannerdale


Blencathra from Bannerdale crags

Light and shade on Bannerdale crags

The way to the "summit" :lol: of Mungrisedale Common is largely flat but due to the pointless feeling nature of bagging this fell it's a joyless plod over wet ground. For whatever reason I managed to avoid the worst of it on the way there but that still doesn't stop that feeling of slight embarrassment felt at arriving a small pile of rocks in the middle of a big flat plane of boggy ground. Fortunately there is nobody else here to see me visit this most mundane of locations and share the feeling of stupidity, suddenly the sun comes out and the place feels so much better, with mountains surrounding on all sides apart from the lovely view down to Derwent Water. Feeling better I toy with the idea of climbing Blencathra on my way to Souther Fell but the thought of a summit full of people doesn't appeal today to so I plod off back across the moor and find the all the boggiest bits on the way back. :roll:

Smooth lines of Bowscale Fell

Mungrisedale Common's best View

For what it's worth....

My Shadow

Blencathra from the bogs of the common

Blackhazel Beck

With the Common out of the way I made my way down the upper Glendermackin valley (doesn't seem to have a name) towards Souther Fell. About half way I decided to have a sit and consume lunch. The views of Blencathra, or Atkinson Pike to be more precise are quite striking, and I enjoyed watching the walkers edging themselves along Sharp Edge while I sat on more level ground.

Looking down the River Glendermackin

Sharp Edge

Alternative view of Blencathra

Time for lunch

Atkinson Pike and Foule Crag

One last top for the day took the shape of the easy slopes of Souther Fell and I decided once on the summit, rather than head down the Eastern flank to continue on and traverse as much of the fell as was practicable. Turns out this was largely on pleasant green paths and a few spots of overly enthusiastic bracken apart, a pleasant end to the day on the hills.

Sharp Edge looking impregnable

River Gendermakin turns towards Bannerdale

Looking back to Blencathra

A sunlit Scales Fell on the way up Souther Fell

Blencathra and Bannerdale Crags

Bannerdale Crags Portrait

Hughie on Souther Fell

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Comments: 2

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User avatar
Location: County Durham
Occupation: General dogsbody
Interests: Walking (Who would have guessed), photography and playing Guitar.
Activity: Mountaineer
Pub: Moulin Inn
Mountain: Blaven
Place: Isle of Skye
Gear: Boots
Member: None
Camera: Canon EOS760D
Ideal day out: Ridge walk without to much exposure.
Ambition: Too keep climbing hills

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