Bowscale Tarn & Bannerdale Crags

  • A lonely & haunting landscape
  • A perfectly formed tarn
  • Traditional Lakeland villages

The Victorian’s certainly knew a good walk and the bridleway to Bowscale Tarn provides an excellent example. I prefer extending their walk over the tops but even for those who just want a short walk by following the footsteps of the Victorians it is very worthwhile.  Nowadays Bowscale Tarn has fallen out of favour but only because the whole area around the back of Skiddaw and Blencathra is rarely visited except for enthusiastic peak baggers. However this walk is not just about completing both peaks, it is about admiring the excellent cliffs of Bannerdale, enjoying the remote scenery and visiting one of the most perfectly formed tarns in the Lake District.

Sadly Bowscale Tarn faces due north and rarely seems to get much sun(witness the poor souls in one of the pictures) but for anyone interested in the impact of glaciers on the geography of an area it is a great spot. Above the tarn and over the summit of Bowscale the walk skirts the cliffs of Bannerdale and 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.

Recommend: The best descent by far off Bannerdale Crags is down the ENE shoulder only 100 yards from the summit. It is steep but without difficulties and as well as being dramatic leads through what appears to be a mini slate mine.

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Bowscale & Bannerdale map


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OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL5 The English Lakes North East. Buy Map
Start Point: NY 362302. Mungrisedale is the best place to start and finish this walk. Not only is the road walk done early but the Mill Inn can be visited for a tea before and a pint after!
Height to Climb: 486ms (1,594 feet)
Terrain: Road followed by bridleway and an intermittent track over the summits is ended by rather a boggy path out once you are off the Bannerdale Crags ENE ridge.
Eating & Drinking: The Mill Inn at Mungrisedale is perfect. Friendly service is complemented by a quirky inside (not yet opened out as appears to be the fashion) it also has long opening hours during the day.
Similar Walks Nearby: Carrock Fell from Mungrisedale
Blencathra via Sharp Edge
The Remote North
Places to Stay: Troutbeck Camping & Caravanning