Lake District Walks
Blencathra via Sharp Edge
Date: 24th May 2008
Distance: 11.5 miles
Ascent: 3295 feet
Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY363302
A real walk of contrasts including the adrenaline rush of Sharp Edge and the relaxing stride across Mungrisdale Common.
Route Summary: Mungrisdale - Souther Fell - Mousthwaite Col - Sharp Edge - Blencathra - Gategill Fell Top - Atkinson Pike - Mungrisdale Common - Bannerdale Crags - Bowscale Fell - Mungrisdale
1. Bannerdale Crags
2. The broad grassy top of Souther Fell
3. Blencathra from Mousthwaite Col
4. The path to Scales Tarn
5. Just about keeping my balance on Sharp Edge
6. Foule Crag
7. Looking back down at Sharp Edge
8. Gategill Fell Top
9. Hall's Fell Top the summit of Blencathra
10. Mungrisdale Common from Atkinson Pike
11. The top of Mungrisdale Common
12. The Glenderamackin valley
13. The large cairn on Bannerdale Crags
14. Bowscale Fell from Bannerdale Crags
16. Souther Fell
17. Souther Fell and the River Glenderamackin
18. The River Glenderamackin as it runs through Mungrisdale
Walk Detail: Prior to this walk I'd been ill for two weeks; first with a stomach bug then laryngitis followed by an unpleasant cold and a badly blocked nose which meant I hadn't been able to taste food at all for almost a week. All in all probably not the best preparation for tackling Sharp Edge but as it turned out it was just what I needed.
I started from Mungrisdale so that I could first 'bag' Souther Fell. The initial climb up the latter was quite steep but once up on the ridge I had good views of Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell. Souther Fell itself was fairly broad on the top but it still afforded an enjoyable traverse to the sound of skylarks.
The walk got more interesting on reaching Mousthwaite Col where the outline of Sharp Edge raised my pulse. Scales Tarn was as attractive as I expected. I was a bit apprehensive about Sharp Edge but at the same time I had a certain reckless need to feel alive and Sharp Edge certainly did the trick. I managed to do almost the entire traverse on the very ridge itself before the steep scramble up the side of Foule’s Crag.
For the second time I made the summit of Blencathra in less than great weather for views and photos but regardless of this it is still one of my favourite tops and mountains. After a brief detour to Gategill Fell Top I visited the top of Atkinson Pike before striking out for Mungrisdale Common.
You could not ask for a greater contrast with Sharp Edge. After all the excitement this was pure relaxation and though I saw no one close by on the Common I was surprised to see the summit had becoming a meeting place for number of trods from different directions. None of these would probably be in existence if the fell hadn't been included by Wainwright in his volume on the Northern Fells. I sat and ate my lunch by the summit cairn and soaked in the atmosphere listening to the skylarks.
As I made my way back around Blencathra to the Glenderamackin Col the sun finally started to break through and by the time I reached Bannerdale Crags the weather was quite glorious. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk round the rim of the crags and up on to the summit of Bowscale Fell where I stopped for a while again. My descent following the fine path down the side of The Tongue was easy on the knees and enabled fine views of Bannerdale and Souther Fell.
All in all this was a walk full of contrasts and though Sharp Edge was all I hoped it would be the traverse of Mungrisdale Common was, in its own way, just as pleasurable.