Author Topic: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags  (Read 1169 times)

richardh1905

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TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« on: 17:45:36, 25/06/20 »
Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags    24th June 2020

Underestimating the forecast heatwave, we planned a day on the hills this Wednesday. A few options were discussed, Helvellyn or High Street, but my wife suggested Blencathra, and I readily agreed, as it is a fine and easily accessible mountain. For once we managed to get away reasonably early, and we drove up the M6, arriving at Mungrisdale at around 0930. There's plenty of parking on the south side of the village, including opposite the village hall (2/day), but this was crowded, so we found a quiet spot on the northern side of the village, as this was on our route in any case.



We walked for perhaps 3/4 of a mile northwards along a minor road to Bowscale, at the mouth of Mosedale, the only traffic passing us being locals or delivery vans - a sign that we were heading off the beaten track. Lovely foxgloves at the side of the road. We took a bridleway heading west signposted Bowscale Tarn; this led pleasantly up the south side of Mosedale, with good views of the scree and heather covered flanks of Carrock Fell across the valley. We soon began to feel the heat, however, especially as the track began to traverse up the hillside towards the tarn. Tess our shaggy spaniel was panting a lot, which is not surprising in the heat, as she always pulls like a train at the start of a walk and I had to discourage her the best I could. But we found water on the way up, so she drank her fill, at one stage lying down in the water to cool down - clever dog.


The quiet road to Bowscale


The steep flanks of Carrock Fell come into view


The way ahead - a good view up Mosedale. You can just make out the Bowscale Tarn track traversing up the hillside ahead.


Hot dog

We arrived quite suddenly at the tarn, a beautiful sight in the heat, and we found a shapely boulder to sit on, right next to the water's edge. In went Tess for another drink and cooldown. Steep slopes and crags surround the tranquil tarn on three sides, and I spotted a likely pitch for a wild camp - definitely on my 'To Do' list come Autumn. The well made track that we had used circles around the back of the tarn, and starts to traverse up the slopes below the crags, before mysteriously ending at a washed out gully - I wonder why it was built? A failed mining venture would be my guess.


Bowscale Tarn - we rested on the convenient stepped boulder to the left. Tadpoles abounded in the shallows.

To continue on to Bowscale Fell we had a choice - ascend the steep grassy gap between the crags directly to the west, or take a path that doubles back and traverses it's way around below the crags to gain the grassy northern spur - we chose the latter, wisely in my opinion, given the heat and the dog. Once on the ridge, we caught a bit of a breeze, which was most welcome, but initially the path was quite steep, becoming gentler as we climbed. Lovely views down to the tarn, and westwards across empty country towards Skiddaw.


Carrock Fell and lower Mosedale from the ridge above the tarn


It was a long hot haul up the grassy slopes, but the views were lovely. High Pike in the distance, disused tungsten mines to the left.


Bowscale Tarn far below - hopefully I'll be back in the autumn with a tent in my pack


Skiddaw to the west. I love this wide open deserted country.

Eventually we reached the summit, and were rewarded with a good view of Blencathra, but the shelter wall was occupied, so we pressed on, flagging in the heat. By now we had unanimously decided to give Blencathra a miss in the heat, my son had a bit of a headache, despite drinking lots of water. Bannerdale Crags was chosen out of several possible descent routes, as it looked interesting and we wanted to stay high as long as possible rather than descend into the sweltering valleys. The path south down to the col was surprisingly boggy given the heat, but at least there was water for Tess, and she again drank her fill. Blencathra looked particularly fine, and we spotted a paraglider. We stopped for lunch on a grassy spur above Bannerdale far below, catching a bit of a breeze.


Blencathra comes into view as we approach the summit of Bowscale Fell


Another view of Blencathra, with Bannerdale Crags to the left. The Helvellyn range is visible in the distance.


Bannerdale Crags from near our lunch stop. Great Mell Fell is the rounded hill in the middle distance

The ascent of Bannerdale Crags does not involve much re-ascent, and we soon reached the summit. The path skirted the top of the crags so there were dramatic views down into Bannerdale far below.


View down a gully into Bannerdale far below.


Looking back towards Bowscale Fell (right), Knott in the distance


Blencathra from the top of Bannerdale Crags

Rather than descend the grassy slopes to the south east, we took a more direct route down a ridge to the east; this was intimidatingly steep to start with, and I let the dog off the lead as I feared that she would pull me off my feet (I use a bungee attached to a waist belt instead of a lead). We picked our way down the ridge, weaving our way between rocky sections whilst avoiding the big drop to our left. Near the bottom of the steep section there is an old mine, but nothing much of interest - if there had been a shaft or adit, it had long ago collapsed or become blocked by spoil.


The East Ridge drips away alarmingly


Looking back up the steep East Ridge from below the mine workings


Looking back from the grassy lower part of the ridge

The ridge levelled off pleasingly, and we descended towards the River Glenderamackin - I love the name. There is also a Glenderaterra Beck on the western side of Blencathra. The temperature seemed to rise as we descended, and I started to suffer - so much so that I filled my sun hat with water from the beck and put it on - what delicious agony!


Down towards the Glenderamackin valley


A tempting pool at the junction of Bannerdale Beck and the River Glenderamackin

The last mile down the valley would have been most enjoyable if it hadn't been so hot, but we all just wanted to get back. The Glenderamackin must be quite something in spate, as in several places the banks have been eaten away, and a landslip had destroyed the path. We crossed a footbridge, and I made an error, heading downstream rather than taking the new gravel path apparently leading away from the river. The map that I was using was at least 30 years old, and in that time the boisterous river has been making some changes to the landscape - the riverbank path marked on the map no longer existed, and we had to ford the river twice. My wife suggested taking off boots and socks, but I was past caring and already wet from my hat dousing, so I just ploughed on through the more than boot depth water, my family followed my lead. Tess didn't care of course, being a dog.


Looking back up the Glenderamackin valley - the boisterous river had changed course since my map had been printed and we had to ford it twice


Green pastures around Mungrisdale, Bannisdale Crags visible to the left. The hill in the foreground is the end of The Tongue.

The last half mile or so down the track and through Mungrisdale was pleasant, back to civilisation, the scent of a climbing rose, blessed shade, green pastures, and we were relieved to get back to the car! A modest 7 miles or so that took us the best part of 5 hours. Back home to cold beer in a shady garden!
« Last Edit: 09:16:00, 26/06/20 by richardh1905 »
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karl h

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #1 on: 18:24:00, 25/06/20 »
Lovely pics Richard...but walking in that heat you must be mad ;D


Love Bowscale, I'm not certain but I'd bet it's up there on my ten most visited fells.
The east ridge is on my to-do list but I'd be climbing not descending  :)


The river bank was a victim of storm Desmond and a lot of work had to be done to repair it
show your love for Lady Nature. And she will come back again.
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Ridge

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #2 on: 18:38:07, 25/06/20 »
Great pics, love the one with the Helvellyn range in the back ground.
It must have been so hot, there wouldn't be an inch of shade, I'm not surprised that you decided to miss Blencathra.


I love Bannerdale Crags but that is because of some great memories rather than it being a really lovely hill.

April

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #3 on: 19:22:42, 25/06/20 »
Great report and pics Richard  O0 I love that route up to Bowscale Tarn  :)

I have ascended the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags a few times but it is on the Banned List on descent, even though I've never descended it  ;D Yes the river bank has suffered and some of the path has been washed away. We went up that way from Mungrisdale not that long ago and went up the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #4 on: 20:23:09, 25/06/20 »
Lovely TR, particularly the bomhomie you wrote this one with.  Think Karl is on to something about being mad going out in that heat though, maybe you intended to visit another part of the Lakes with more shade - better drive to Barnard Castle to make sure those eyes are working properly..! ;D


Have such a soft spot for those fells, not least because I've sat in Mungrisdale pub post-epic plenty of times and also due to Carrock Fell, which hosts one of the best bouldering spots in the Lakes where you can spend many nice evenings pebble humping. 


You did well not to take the direct route up Bowscale, did that one with a wild camp pack on and it was a real slog, I can't imagine doing it in 27C heat.   Think the Bowcale wild camp in more relaxed autumn conditions is a good shout.

GinAndPlatonic

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #5 on: 20:35:44, 25/06/20 »
That view up Mosedale is a beauty , and brilliant views of Bowscale Tarn & Blencathra . I absolutely know what you mean about the heat yesterday  O0

vghikers

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #6 on: 20:53:28, 25/06/20 »
Terrific walk and pics again in a fairly quiet corner of the Lakes.  O0

I've never done the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags, very tempting.
From experience Bowscale Fell and Bannerdale Crags make very good pitches  :)

richardh1905

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #7 on: 07:38:07, 26/06/20 »
Lovely pics Richard...but walking in that heat you must be mad ;D
Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun

A bit unfair on Tess, mind - she had no choice in the matter!

Quote
Love Bowscale, I'm not certain but I'd bet it's up there on my ten most visited fells.
The east ridge is on my to-do list but I'd be climbing not descending  :) 
My first time up to Bowscale Tarn and the fell. Some pencil lines on my map indicate that I have been over Bannerdale before (I seem to recall that the Mill Inn in Mungrisdale featured in our walk too - which is perhaps why I cannot remember much about our return route to Threlkeld, the Glenderamackin valley.

Quote
The river bank was a victim of storm Desmond and a lot of work had to be done to repair it
Still some work to do a bit upstream of the bridge - in one place a landslip has completely obliterated the path, and it is just about to go in a couple of other places.
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #8 on: 07:41:27, 26/06/20 »
Great pics, love the one with the Helvellyn range in the back ground.
It must have been so hot, there wouldn't be an inch of shade, I'm not surprised that you decided to miss Blencathra.

I love Bannerdale Crags but that is because of some great memories rather than it being a really lovely hill.

Thanks Ridge. Yes, far too hot in retrospect, especially descendign into the valley.
That Bannerdale steep east ridge is interesting, and the path above the crags is worthwhile.
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #9 on: 07:45:24, 26/06/20 »
Great report and pics Richard  O0 I love that route up to Bowscale Tarn  :)

I have ascended the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags a few times but it is on the Banned List on descent, even though I've never descended it  ;D Yes the river bank has suffered and some of the path has been washed away. We went up that way from Mungrisdale not that long ago and went up the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags.

Thanks April  :)
The tarn is lovely, the moraine is quite big so we came across the tarn quite suddenly - what a sight in the heat.
Not surprised the east ridge is on the banned list. I hadn't really done my homework on it as we had not intended to come down that way, and I did approach the drop off with some trepidation, wondering whether it was a viable way down for an overheated family and an energetic dog. But it was fine, if steep and, in places, loose. Tess romped down.
« Last Edit: 07:50:04, 26/06/20 by richardh1905 »
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #10 on: 07:48:42, 26/06/20 »
Lovely TR, particularly the bomhomie you wrote this one with.  Think Karl is on to something about being mad going out in that heat though, maybe you intended to visit another part of the Lakes with more shade - better drive to Barnard Castle to make sure those eyes are working properly..! ;D

Have such a soft spot for those fells, not least because I've sat in Mungrisdale pub post-epic plenty of times and also due to Carrock Fell, which hosts one of the best bouldering spots in the Lakes where you can spend many nice evenings pebble humping. 

You did well not to take the direct route up Bowscale, did that one with a wild camp pack on and it was a real slog, I can't imagine doing it in 27C heat.   Think the Bowcale wild camp in more relaxed autumn conditions is a good shout.

Thanks fmop, ah yes, the Mill Inn. And Carrock fell will be visited soon. I've poked around the tungsten mines to the west, but have not been over the fell itself.
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #11 on: 07:51:21, 26/06/20 »
That view up Mosedale is a beauty , and brilliant views of Bowscale Tarn & Blencathra . I absolutely know what you mean about the heat yesterday  O0

Thanks G&P. Thursday was even worse. I broke out in a sweat just thinking about going outside!
« Last Edit: 07:55:30, 26/06/20 by richardh1905 »
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #12 on: 07:54:44, 26/06/20 »
Terrific walk and pics again in a fairly quiet corner of the Lakes.  O0

I've never done the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags, very tempting.
From experience Bowscale Fell and Bannerdale Crags make very good pitches  :)
Thanks vghikers - the ridge is steep but interesting and varied, and the views down the drop into Bannerdale dramatic.
The top of Bannerdale Crags did appeal as a possible pitch, but some distance to any water, so I would have to carry. No great hardship as I am a bit of a Spartan when it comes to wild camping.
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pdstsp

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #13 on: 08:30:27, 26/06/20 »
Cracking write up of a great route Richard _ I'm with April and Karl, that descent route is an ascent route only in my book!  Sure has been hot these last couple of days - I was struggling yesterday descending to Mardale Head - very glad to get to the car.

richardh1905

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Re: TR - Bowscale Tarn and Fell, Bannerdale Crags
« Reply #14 on: 11:26:57, 26/06/20 »
Cracking write up of a great route Richard _ I'm with April and Karl, that descent route is an ascent route only in my book!  Sure has been hot these last couple of days - I was struggling yesterday descending to Mardale Head - very glad to get to the car.


Thanks pdstsp. I must be unusual in that I don't mind a steep descent.
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