Where is this walk?

Bowscale Tarn and Bannerdale Crags

February 26, 2023

Mungrisedale is the start of an interesting walk to Bowscale Tarn and Bannerdale Crags. The tarn is in a beautiful setting and the easy walking from Bowscale summit to Bannerdale has some wonderful views over Blencathra and Skiddaw.

The Walk

The Victorian’s certainly knew a good walk and the bridleway to Bowscale Tarn provides an excellent example. They turned round there but a much better plan is to extend the walk over the summits of Bowscale and Bannerdale Crags. However the short walk is fine for those who just want to visit a tarn, no more than a half hour walk to the tarn.  Nowadays Bowscale Tarn and Bannerdale Crags have fallen out of favour. In fact the entire area around the back of Skiddaw and Blencathra is rarely visited except by enthusiastic Wainwright baggers. One of the benefits of the walk is to admire the dramatic cliffs of Bannerdale. Others are the remote scenery and of course a visit to one of the most perfectly formed tarns in the Lake District.

Sadly Bowscale Tarn faces due north and rarely seems to get much sun. However anyone interested in the impact of glaciers on the geography of an area it is a great place. Above the tarn and over the summit of Bowscale the walk skirts the cliffs of Bannerdale. I would recommend taking the track nearest the cliffs to enjoy it too its fullest. Only a fool would fall off although Bracken my old collie did have a rather disturbing habit of snow sliding uncontrollably on her back towards steep drops and only just scrambling clear before disappearing in to the void.


On the return along the embryonic Glenderamackin River there is a bad section of path. Muddy and awkward. This can be avoided by taking a direct line north after crossing Bullfell Beck and soon meeting up with the track on the north side of the valley. There is a faint path in places but it is a 30 metre climb. Worth doing in particular when the weather has been wet.

Navigation Tips on Bowscale Tarn

There is no avoiding the very steep climb due west from Bowscale Tarn. The contour lines look very close together on a map but it is a safe climb on a decent path.

  • Rebecca says:

    Can anyone please tell me the best place to park to start this walk and is it moderate? Could you please also supply the postcode to get there. Thanks.

    • Jonathan says:

      The start is on the road in Mungrisedale, the Mill In . Post Code CA11 0XR.
      The walk is easy up to the tarn, then a steep climb and then a wide ridge. In good conditions the walk is moderate but in cloudy, bad weather you do need to be able to map read properly.

  • Maria Mackenzie says:

    Did this walk with mt daughter yesterday as we needed a lakeland fix but as the weathervwas glorioys knew most routes would be crowded. This walk was perfect. The tarn is beautiful and the scenery was lovely. We only saw 6 other walkers all day until the last mile next to the river. Thank you for the walk suggestion.

  • Hannah Turnbull says:

    Thank you.
    Will possible do this next week.

  • Hannah Turnbull says:

    How long does this walk take?
    Been wanting to do my 1st solo day and this looks like it wouldn’t prove too difficult

    • Jonathan says:

      3 to 4 hours, it is a good walk but take care near the cliffs at Bannerdale in the cloud and mist

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