Bowscale Tarn is a simple fell walk suitable for all the family. It was a popular tourist attraction in Victorian times but has long since fallen out of fashion. I think this is a real pity as it is a lovely walk and the crags above the tarn are dramatic. It is also highly accessible from our self catering Lake District cottages in Mungrisdale and Mosedale.
The pony track to the tarn starts in Bowscale at a sharp turn in the road between the traditional stone cottages. A finger post directs you past a row of cottages to a gated track that signals the start of the walk.
A pony track from the Victorian era climbs gently to Bowscale Tarn, a gentle climb all the way. Sitting in a glacial combe, the tarn is said to be home to two fish that have survived ever since the ice age that created the 60ft deep tarn.
If you are just looking for a simple stroll, then simple retrace your steps from here. But if you fancy making a day of it then carry on to the summit Bowscale Fell. At the point where the tarn flows out into the beck, cross to the other side where a path leads up through an obvious grassy rake and on to the shoulder of Bowscale Fell. From here it is nothing more than a grassy climb to the summit.
There is a decent wind shelter at the top, an ideal spot for lunch and taking in the view
Leaving the top of Bowscale Fell you can make a boggy beeline for col below Blencathra, which is where this walk descends. To avoid the bog and take in the view, I like to walk along the rim of crags that lend their name to Bannerdale Crags.
Make your descent along the flanks of White Horse Bent and follow the River Glenderamackin, which meanders through the valley. This will lead you back to Mungrisedale.
As you walk back through the valley be sure to take a look at Bannerdale Crag’s east ridge, an exciting route of ascent for another days adventure.
As you make your way along the river you will notice a wide wooden bridge crossing the river on your right. At this point you can choose to continue through the valley or to walk over the top of Souther Fell. I highly recommend the little extra effort it involves to include Souther Fell in the walk as it allows a birds eye view of the ground you covered earlier.
Local legend has it that on Midsummers Eve in 1745, an army of troops complete with chariots was seen continually marching along the wide grassy plateau of the summit. Although there were several sober witnesses, an inspection the following day could not find a trace. No footprints, no treads from wheels. If you are not too busy looking for the ghosts of a long departed army, you may be lucky enough to see gliders taking off from the summit which is a popular gliding site.
You can descend the northern nose of the fell to Mungrisedale Village and refuel at the Mill Inn, which serves tasty homemade food and Robinson’s Ale.
The walk would also be ideal for anyone staying in our Keswick cottages and Ullswater cottages.