Lake District Walks
Bannerdale Crags & Bowscale Fell
Date: 16th November 2005
Distance: 5.7 miles
Ascent: 1897 feet
Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY363302
A fantastic climb up the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags preceded an easy walk up on to Bowscale Fell.
Route Summary: Mungrisdale - Bannerdale Beck - Bannerdale Crags - Bowscale Fell - Tarn Crags - Raven Crags - Mungrisdale
1. The River Glendermackin
2. Looking along Bannerdale Beck to the rim of Bannerdale Crags
3. The east ridge of Bannerdale Crags
4. Looking back down the east ridge towards Souther Fell
5. Blencathra dominates the summit of Bannerdale Crags
6. Great Calva and Knott
7. The easy grassy path on to Bowscale Fell
8. Skiddaw from Bowscale Fell
9. The summit cairn of Bowscale Fell
10. High Pike from Bowscale Fell
11. Looking down Tarn Crags to Bowscale Tarn
12. Cross Fell and the North Pennines
Walk Detail: The mile long rim of Bannerdale Crags had appealed to me ever since I had first read about them, therefore when I decided to take advantage of the continuing good weather by going out for a walk on my own this was a priority.
As it turned out the first mile along the Glendermackin proved a rather wet and muddy affair. Matters improved massively though when I began to climb up towards Bannerdale Crag's east ridge. It helped when I got out of the gloomy shade of the valley into the sun but, after the walks earlier in the week, my calves were screaming at me as I began to climb.
The east ridge narrows down to a steep arête that had looked quite imposing on approach but in fact provided a great scramble to the top. It was another fantastically clear day and my arrival at the summit of Bannerdale Crags was greeted by a sudden and impressive view of Blencathra as well as a wider sweep of Northern Fells from Skiddaw round to Bowscale Fell.
I lingered for as long as I could but neither summit cairn proved sufficient shelter against the cold wind that was blowing so I set off on an enjoyable march along the rim of the crag itself. En route I took in the northern top of Bannerdale Crags just to be on the safe side before making the easy climb up to the top of Bowscale Fell.
The summit of Bowscale Fell is marked by a stone shelter that was facing the wrong way to be of any practical use for protection against the day's wind. After the lengthy process of refolding my map in the wind I carried along the ridge to the subsidiary summit of Tarn Crags Top. Along the way I got a good view down to the atmospheric hollow containing Bowscale Tarn.
The initial descent from Tarn Crags Top was enjoyable with clear views across the Eden Valley to Penrith and the North Pennines with Cross Fell and the two Dun Fells featuring prominently. The final descent down a steep path in the gorse was not easy going though.
From the climb up the east ridge to Tarn Crags Top this was a simply magnificent walk, a shame then about the soggy beginning and the final descent.