Bannerdale Crags is a
fell in the English Lake District standing between Blencathra and
Bowscale Fell in the Northern Fells and is a ridge running north west
to south east.
The name was originally applied purely to the steep north
eastern flank, but is now generally given to the fell as a whole.
A broad convex slope
descends northward from Blencathra's Atkinson Pike top, gradually
resolving into two ridges. The western arm continues to Mungrisdale
Common while the north eastern limb, flecked with outcropping rock,
falls to a steep sided col at 2,020 ft (620 m).
From the depression, Blackhazel Beck descends north west to join the River Caldew while the
source of the Glenderamackin lies on the opposite slope.
Across the col,
smooth slopes rise once more up the south western flank of the Bannerdale Crags ridge. There is little clue here to the wall of crags
on the other side.
The north eastern side of the ridge
looks down upon the valley of Bannerdale Beck, a tributary of the
Glenderamackin. The crags on this side are almost continuous for a mile
in length, the highest sections falling 600 ft (180 m) to the valley.
The major breach is a spur protruding from the face almost below the
summit, providing a fine route of ascent.
To the north,
the summit ridge continues across a broad grassy saddle to Bowscale
Fell, the crags continuing a little way into the territory of the
By contrast to the south east, the fell ends in White
Horse Bent, the abrupt ridge-end descent to the Glenderamackin. This
river has one of the most convoluted passages in the district, passing
around the south and east of Bannerdale Crags before turning back on
itself to surround Souther Fell on almost all sides and finally head
west for Keswick and the River Derwent.
The summit of the fell is
smooth and grassy, the highest point being set back from the crags and
marked by a small cairn of flat stones. Nearer the face is another
cairn, referred to on older large scale maps as a currick. A currick is
a stone shelter built by shepherds.
The view is surprisingly extensive, the
Coniston Fells being in sight to the south, 20 miles (32 km) away. The
Eastern and Far Eastern Fells are also in view, but the highlight is
probably Sharp Edge and the eastern prospect of Blencathra.
Starting from Mungrisdale village to the east, the Glenderamackin can be
followed as far as its confluence with Bannerdale Beck. From here the
east spur climbs almost direct to the summit, the rock scenery improving
throughout and ending with a gentle scramble.
ascent from Mungrisdale is the wide and easy track leading up to the ridge between
Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell.
Less direct is the climb from
Scales, first crossing Mousthwaite Combe to reach the Glenderamackin to
the south of the fell. From here a straightforward assault on White
Horse Bent is one alternative, or the miners track can be followed to
Saddleback Old Mine and the source of the river.
routes near Bannerdale Crags