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" Bowscale Tarn and Fell with Jo "

Date & start time:    Monday 29th April, 2019.   10.45 am start.

Location of Start :   Roadside parking at Bowscale Village, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 360 316 )

Places visited :         Bowscale Tarn, Bowscale, Glenderamackin Valley, Mungrisdale.

Walk details :             5 miles, 1600 feet of ascent, 3 hours  50 mins including lunch.

Highest point :           Bowscale Fell, 2,306ft - 702m.

Walked with :             Jo, Ann and our dogs, Amber, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                    Sunshine and blue skies, breezy so not over hot.  Suncream day !

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Fine weather over Easter has held nicely for our walk with Jo, surprisingly as it had been arranged some time in advance.

Looking back at our records, we last walked the summit and tarn seven years ago, and previously ten years ago almost to the day.

This is such a classic walk that everything was familiar and the map was hardly used, in fact it never left the rucksack.

As we arrived from different directions and had two cars available, we made it a linear walk to save the extra road walking.

Dawn on a lovely early summer day . . . the time, about 7am.

Looking out from our bedroom window the cloud holding in the temperature inversion

over Crummock Water was too good to miss.

Fast forward three hours or so, breakfast is over, we've dressed and have packed a small rucksack

and we are with Jo at the start of a walk "Back O'Skiddaw".

We parked at Bowscale Village, a small hamlet of houses apparently sheltering under the slopes of Carrock Fell.

In truth, the the River Caldew flows between here and Carrock Fell

and the village of Bowscale shares its name with the high ground out of view, to the left of the picture.

There's a good track up the valley which makes the start of this walk easy to find.

On the wide part of the track the farmer has set up a sheep pen so that he can attend to his animals in a more manageable way.

The houses across the way under the slopes of Carrock Fell are known as Mosedale, presumably from moss-dale, indicative of a wet, mossy place.

The name is shared here in Loweswater and several other places in the Lakes.

The Caldew Valley however is far from mossy at this end, the green fields being indicative of reasonable sheep pasture.

At the top end is the group of houses known as Roundhouse after the shape of the building on the left with the brown chimney

and the architecturally rounded shape, now rather hidden by the trees.

Further up, in the side valley formed by Grains Gill, there were extensive mines which only closed in the 1950's.

It was home to Carrock Fell tungsten, lead, copper, and arsenic mines and has the remains of an early 20th century tungsten mill.

The track changes to a fell path which leads up from the valley . . .

and with a couple of gentle turns it bring us out at this classic glacial corrie, complete with a rounded head wall and deep mountain tarn.

The hollow would have been scoured out by the actions of glaciers in the Ice Age and is now filled by the rain waters of time.

It is a popular spot today and we chat with other visitors who have walked up to appreciate its stark beauty.

The dogs . . . well they just wanted to explore and to get wet !

The map shows a footpath that circles round the lake and starts a climb from the far side.

- - - o o o - - -


We tried it once but the ascent to the ridge

was more of a grassy and rocky scramble

across the back wall of the fell.


Far easier, though it doesn't look it from here,

is this path up the grassy flanks.


The path heads straight up but starts to zig-zag

once the going gets too steep.


Consequently it is a quick but relatively easy ascent

which brings you out onto the ridge high above where we stand.


- - - o o o - - -

Looking back at the tarn from part way up the climb.

The contrast of light and shade with Ann and Jo stopping for a photo-break.

[ Jo's not trying to look coy, she's just holding her head scarf down to stop it blowing wildly in the breeze.]

More colour contrasts as clouds scurry over the mountain.

The path on the other side can be seen . . . but it doesn't progress much further than the stream at the edge of the photo.

We make the ridge surprisingly quickly . . .

and look across to Carrock Fell and down to the Roundhouse, now far below us.

The exhilaration of the sudden view all round makes me spin round with the camera.

Click here or on the photo above for a 360 degree annotated panorama

The dogs have found a peaty moorland pool and Dylan emerges a slightly different colour from when  he went in !

A gentle walk up the slope and past the cairn on the initial false summit,

then we find ourselves at the shelter at the actual top of Bowscale Fell.

Being slightly ahead at this point, my summit panorama includes Ann and Jo as they walk the final few yards to the top.

Click here or on the photo above for a 360 degree annotated summit panorama while you eat your lunch.

We'll have our sandwiches in the low rock shelter.

It provides slight protection from the wind that had now dropped to just a warm and gentle breeze.

Lunchtime views of the Skiddaw fells . . . looking over Mungrisdale Common in the middle distance.

The prospect ahead included Blencathra but it's further away than it looks and Jo has to drive home to Yorkshire tonight.

We'll head down this direction but instead of extending the walk we'll take a left at a small marker stone and head over the edge !

So small you could miss it in poor weather, but nevertheless it marks the junction of the two paths.

The one we'll take is a grassy trod dropping gently down the side of The Tongue.

The concept of "heading over the edge" is not as daunting as I made it sound !

Dylan leads the way down the obvious path.
Bannerdale Crags seen across a recent landslip alongside our route.

A wider view of Bannerdale . . . and the crags that feature on its northern side.

Over the back the dark triangular peak is Atkinson Pike sitting close to sunny Blencathra summit.

Ann's in-camera panorama as Jo prepares to set off down the path.

This valley holds Bannerdale Beck.

By the time we are down in the valley our path has been joined by the old mine track and is significantly wider.

We head down to join the track which followed down alongside the River Glenderamackin.

I see a new, rather ugly track or walkway has been constructed in recent months to by-pass the riverside path ahead.

This area is characterised by the loose boulders and eroded slate stones over very poor moorland turf.

The downpour of Storm Desmond caused a lot of damage to the paths and tracks that followed close to the river.

Still, the water levels are low after a dry Easter and the stream bed is perfectly walkable.

The old track skirted under the bank to the right but was totally washed away by the flooding.

We take the more wet-under-foot option across the middle.

Intrigued by the bold white line across the moorland I backtrack to check it out . . . Ann and Jo wait a moment till I return.

- - - o o o - - -

The white path we saw earlier . . .

. . . turns out to be an ugly, wide concrete slab roadway,

presumably suitable for quad bikes and the like.


Why, oh why, is it so white, why does it need passing places,

why does it form a concrete road where none existed before,

have they not heard of using local materials . . . there's plenty around !


Questions to the National Parks authority . . .

Answers to me please if you can think of meaningful one.

- - - o o o - - -

With a slight air of sadness after a lovely walk, we turn our back on The Tongue,

on Bowscale Fell in the background and shut the gate before ending the walk at Jo's car.

Space for a few cars on the gravel road next to the lovely flowering cherry.

There's a wooden honesty box for a contribution in lieu of parking fees . . . cash only . . . it doesn't take plastic.

- - - o o o - - -


It was a short drive back a mile or so up the road

to the  hamlet of Bowscale and the second car.


Time for a little light refreshment this fine afternoon.

We adjourned to The Mill Inn for re-hyration.


(They had the painters in so I didn't take a photo of the ladders

and numerous pots of paint, so I've used a photo of mine from our last visit.)


- - - o o o - - -

What is new since our last visit is the post-Storm Desmond footbridge, over the seemingly wider River Glenderamackin.

Still the flood didn't seem to affect the ability of the outside tables to support a pint or three . . . cheers.

- - - o o o - - -

Hi both,    enjoyed your pictures of this walk. It's one I've done many a time with variations.

I haven't walked it this year but last time I was down that way the path round White Horse Bent to Scales Tarn was pretty well washed away close to Mungrisdale. I'll have to get down there to see what the LDNPA has done to reinstate a path of some sort.

Last time I found it easier to walk along the beck than trust to the narrow, broken path higher up.
Lovely weather for you all in what's generally a much quieter area of the Lakes during the school holidays.

David C.



Hi Roger,     this is one of my regular walks and the pathway, post Desmond, covers a S.S.S.I.

We have been assured that the path, which floats on the mire, will become discoloured over time and become less noticeable. It is certainly better than the previous pathway, I'll take a photo at the end of the year to compare, hopefully they will be right.       Regards, Beryl S.


- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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Previous walk - 28th April - Holme Wood Bluebells

A previous time up here - 18th April 2009 Bowscale Bannerdale in the sun

Next walk - 30th April - Troutdale with Trevor & Gill