A Sunny Saturday Of Exploring

A long dry spell and warm weather made another run in the Lake District an attractive proposition. The same factors also appealed to others who wanted to make the most of new freedoms. For this reason we decided to try the northern fells where things should be a bit quieter. Another family day out with the rest of the party taking in Bowscale Tarn while I enjoy a Sunny Saturday of exploring higher up. Parking at Bowscale and following the path to the tarn is the extent of my route planning. I remember to apply my sun cream after last weeks near miss, check my map and compass and its time to go.

Bowscale with Carrock Fell in the background.

Bowscale Tarn and Bowscale Fell

Climbing the path to Bowscale Tarn is exactly how it looks on the map. A steady gradual incline rising from 250 to 493 metres. It is a stony path with excellent views of Carrock Fell to the right. The tarn is located within an impressive bowl with the imposing Tarn Crags to the South West.

Bowscale Tarn and Tarn Crags

Climbing from the tarn to Bowscale Fell was via a grassy path which curled round above the crag. In the distance the hulking form of Blencathra drew me towards the Lake District’s 14th highest peak. A mostly runnable couple of miles through some dry peat bogs and I was closing in both on the summit and another runner in orange. The initial 100m gap near Bowscale reduced to ten metres by the start of the steeper climb to Blencathra and I realised it was John Tollitt (Tyne Bridge Harriers/Northumberland Fell Runners) ahead of me. John had been a pacer on leg 4 of my Bob Graham and completed the Joss Naylor Challenge in June 2019.

Approaching Blencathra from the East


After so long away it was good to see a familiar face and catch up on future plans. John is running a recce of the Old Crown Round which takes place in July. At the top of Blencathra we meet Geoff and Susan Davis (Elvet Striders/Northumberland Fell Runners). Geoff and Susan were instrumental in my Bob Graham and I’m delighted to see them.

View from Blencathra

After a break for lunch my Sunny Saturday of exploring begins again as John and I head down Mungrisdale Common. Halfway down the bank the path splits. John goes left to Skiddaw House and Skiddaw and I go right towards the river Caldew and the bottom of Great Calva.

John goes left Longscale Fell and Skiddaw Little Man in front of him

I’m aiming to head along Wiley Gill to Knott. It looks pretty simple on the map. Follow the gradual incline on the path then walk the last 50 metres of climbing straight up the hill. Despite the month of extremely dry weather we have had the ground is still wet and sticky in places but the stream crossing is only calf deep.

Great Calva in the centre and Knott to the right with the River Caldew below


Knott is 710 metres high and consists of grass and heather. I’ve only been up here once before on a claggy night in 2012 taking part in the Fellside Fell Race. I must have used a better line than this. After plenty of heather bashing up the featureless side of the hill I’m near the summit and have a glorious view of Over Water to the North and Skiddaw to the West.

Over Water from Knott

High Pike

The Fellside Fell Race route also takes in High Pike but I can’t remember it either. I follow the well marked path between Knott and High Pike which includes a run up past the walkers shelter Lingy Hut. A fell runner waves from a few hundred metres away as he goes down on the other side of the hut.

Lingy Hut

As I approach High Pike I see some walkers coming the other way for the first time in an hour. The stony bank up to the top is quite runnable and there is a seat.

High Pike

Carrock Fell

I’m now in totally new territory with only Carrock Fell left on my journey. It is the only fell today I haven’t previously climbed. From parking the car this morning I was always coming back this way. After a short decent from High Pike I get back onto the Carrock Fell path. From the empty fell of a few minutes ago there are now walkers everywhere and a fast looking runner wearing his Cumbria vest flies past in the opposite direction. Carrock Fell has great views in all directions.

View from Carrock Fell

Getting back to Bowscale

The hardest part of my Sunny Saturday of exploring was still to come. Reaching the end of the fell I had a choice. Either drop down the steep side down to the road and endure a couple of miles road running or follow the well defined path which should gradually take me down to a few hundred metres away from our parking place. Obviously I took the second option but unfortunately the path quickly disappeared and I began to trudge through bracken and heather on a steep camber. I could see the car below but it was slow progress until the undergrowth cleared and left a stony decent.

Following the path off Carrock Fell

We hope you enjoyed reading about “A Sunny Saturday of exploring”. Do you enjoy the Lake District? Have you done any of the peaks in the article? Let us know in the comments below.

Read some of of other blog posts for more hilly adventures on dreamingofthefells.uk

Day trip to Wooler

Running in Newlands Valley after the second Covid-19 lockdown

Supporting Stuart’s Bob Graham Round

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