Weekend Walking North Lakes Part 2
Just outside the National Park , Penrith sits on the North Eastern Corner of the Lake District and the boundary follows the A66 west before bulging north to encompass Skiddaw, Blencathra and the slopes behind.
North from the A66, before Blencathra is an intriguingly named village of Mungrisdale. On the road to the village footpaths cross in ladder like regularity giving several access points to Blencathra and the fells. The clouds of the previous day had been blown away and the hills were etched in high definition on blue screen. Several cars were parked in the village, but the walk proved to be quiet, and pretty much devoid of other people. The high pressure was undoubtedly attracting many to brave the higher crags.
We followed the path north out of the village and could see a path up Raven Crag on to Bowscale Fell. Not marked as a footpath, but there was a clearly trodden green track through the still brown bracken. The ascent was steep but the rewards quick.
The valleys scratched broad and deep to create the soggy home for Glenderamackin dropping down behind. The path continues to rise past three cairns, each giving false hope of a summit, before the eventual top of Bowscale. Worth a detour to the northern edge of the ridge to see Bowscale tarn, and the river Caldew which guides the Cumbria way towards central Lakeland.
Blencathra from Bowscale Fell
Once on the top the land fell away north east in a vast green apron, in contrast to the eastern, snow patched craggy heights. The air was so clear that other walkers could be seen scaling other slopes, or merely stood enjoying wild isolation on the top of a hill. Despite the arrival of an itinerant cold wind it was a day to linger and enjoy.
Ice still coated the puddles and snow lingered in shady hollows, perfect dog entertainment. We followed a track along The Tongue. Flat and easy until the final fall line where it dropped down so quickly that at times the vertical grass and heather was best negotiated by sitting and sliding. Hardly conventional but fun. Not sure it did my Mammut pants much good.
Walking a horse shoe kept us in the winter sunshine for most of the time and only when we got to the shade in the village did I realise quite how cold it had become. There is a convenient pub, The Mill Inn and though we did not eat, if the food tasted as good as it looked and smelled, it would be worth a taste.
Mungrisdale is at NY363 302,
Map Landranger OL5
Other walks in this area can be found in this book.