Bowscale Fell is a hill in the English Lake District
and rises above the village of Mungrisdale in the Northern Fells. It
stands at the extreme north east the Blencathra group, connected to this
higher fell by the intervening Bannerdale Crags. In common with many
fells the western slopes are smooth and convex while the eastern side
A curving ridge surrounds the head of Bannerdale
with Bowscale Fell at the northern end and Bannerdale Crags to the
south. The ridgeline is broad and grassy with occasional patches of bog
and a couple of small tarns in the north.
Bannerdale flows due
east from the depression between the two fells to its junction with the
River Glenderamackin. A second tributary of the Glenderamackin, Bullfell
Beck, runs parallel a little to the north, its source being directly
beneath the summit of Bowscale Fell.
The heads of the two valleys
are divided by a truncated east ridge, The Tongue, which sports a top
(1,814 ft) at the far end. From below, The Tongue appears as an
impressive pyramidal peak with steep slopes on all sides, obscuring the
higher ground behind.
A second, longer eastern ridge runs out to the north of
Bowscale Fell, forming the northern wall of Bullfell Beck. This has two
subsidiary tops at 2,017 ft and 1,981 ft and ends steeply at Raven Crag
above the Mungrisdale to Heskett Newmarket road.
Perched in a
bowl scooped out on the northern face of this ridge is Bowscale Tarn.
This is a classic corrie tarn, held in by a whalebacked mass of debris
having a depth of around 60 ft. Bowscale Tarn was a popular tourist
attraction in Victorian times, visitors being brought by pony to observe
its wild and moody setting.
Tastes change and the tarn now finds
itself on few itineries for a grand tour of the District. Legend had it
that the tarn was home to two immortal fish, one version of the tale
also crediting them with the gift of speech. Above the water is Tarn
Crag, the steepest face on the fell.
The western and northern
flanks of the fell drain to the River Caldew which heads north east to
Carlisle for a meeting with the River Eden and thence to the Solway
Northward across the deep cutting of the Caldew is Carrock
Fell, while to the west are Great Calva and Knott. Wainwright remarked
that the western slopes of Bowscale Fell are drained by the Caldew which
ultimately flows to the east, while the eastern slopes feed the
Glenderamackin which soon turns west for Keswick and the River Derwent.
Being on the Derwent - Eden watershed, Bowscale Fell has further
significance by providing the link between the Northern and Eastern
Fells. The eastern ridge continues almost imperceptibly beneath Raven
Crag, crossing the road before rising again to form Little Eycott and
Eycott Hills. From here the watershed runs south across Great Mell Fell
and ultimately climbs onto Great Dodd in the Helvellyn range.
summit of the fell bears a rash of stones although all else is grass.
There is a windshelter at the highest point and a cairn a little to the
north, marking the direction of Bowscale Tarn.The view of Blencathra and
Sharp Edge is excellent, together with a surprising vista of the North
Western Fells through the Glenderaterra gap.
A number of
alternative ascents are available when starting from Mungrisdale. The
easiest follows a gently rising track to the depression at the head of
Bannerdale, while a variation is to turn off and climb steeply up the
terminal slope of The Tongue.
Bullfell Beck can also be followed
to give the most direct ascent to the summit but the best route is
perhaps to follow the east ridge over its undulating tops. From Bowscale,
a little along the road to the north, the Victorian pony route to
Bowscale Tarn can still be followed, continuing up a grassy rake that
bisects Tarn Crag.
For a much longer walk, the ridge between
Bowscale Fell and Bannerdale Crags can be reached from the Caldew Valley
to the west. This makes Mosedale, or even Skiddaw House and points west
into possible starting points.
routes near Bowscale Fell