Blencathra - Hall's Fell Ridge, Sharp Edge, & More.

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By Lancashire Lad on 19/06/17 at 9:48pm

Hills walked:
Blencathra - Hallsfell Top (Wainwright, Birkett, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP, High Hill of Britain, Clem, Sim, Fellranger, Synge, and Tump)
Atkinson Pike (Birkett, Nuttall, and Synge)
Bannerdale Crags (Wainwright, Birkett, Hewitt, Nuttall, Fellranger, Synge, Sim, and Tump)
Souther Fell (Wainwright, Birkett, Dodd, Dewey, Fellranger, Synge, and Tump)
Bowscale Fell (Wainwright, Birkett, Hewitt, Nuttall, Fellranger, Synge, Sim, and Tump)
Souther Fell South Top (Synge)
Date started:18/06/2017
Distance:19.2 km or 11.9 miles
Ascent:1409m or 4623ft
Descent:1409m or 4623ft
Start OSGB:NY339267
Time taken:10:04

The promise of a gloriously sunny day on Sunday had me travelling back to the Lake District once again, for another grand day on the fells. This time, I'd decided to do Blencathra, Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell, then dropping back to valley level at Mungrisdale. Where, (depending on how good the legs were feeling at that stage :D ), I had the option of walking back to the car by the gated road between Mungrisdale and Scales, or going up and over Souther Fell and Mousthwaite Comb.

GPX track of the walk: -

Starting from the layby on the A66, (Between Scales & Doddick), I walked along the roadside towards Threlkeld, taking the lane towards the Kennels at Gategill. Along that lane, many hundreds of common Nettle plants were to be seen, and it was noticeable that lots of them were playing host to Nettle Clustercup Rust, (Puccinia urticata), a "rust" fungus which infects the Nettle plant causing gall like structures on the stems and leaves. Worth taking a look at these, as under close inspection, they are quite attractive looking things: -

Nettle Clustercup Rust - Puccinia urticata.

Beyond the lane, the public footpath quickly took me past the buildings and onto the fellside for the first scenic shot of the day. Looking up to Hall's Fell Ridge just before crossing Gate Gill. - Hall's Fell to right hand side of the photo, and Gategill Fell to the left: -

Looking up to Hall's Fell Ridge from Gategill.

Approaching Hall's Fell Ridge: -

Approaching Hall's Fell Ridge.

Looking back from Hall's Fell Ridge, with Clough Head and the Helvellyn range prominent in the shot: -

Looking back down Hall's Fell Ridge.

Almost at the top now, and looking in a West-South-Westerly direction to the skyline vista across Gategill Fell: -

Almost at the top.

The Ordnance Survey Trigonometrical Station at Blencathra summit: -

The Ordnance Survey Trigonometrical Station.

The OS Trig Station in context: -

The westerly skyline from the summit.

Looking northwards, just a few paces from the summit, and it seems that Blencathra's little known population of miniature Druid's have finally given themselves away! :lol: (No idea who "built" this, but it did add a little bit of interest to the vast expanse of grass in the shot!)

Blencathra  - miniature Stonehenge.

On the way down to Scales Tarn, and looking towards Souther Fell in the distance. - Will the legs be feeling good enough to still want to climb that at the end of the day?

Looking towards Souther Fell.

First sighting of Sharp Edge and Scales Tarn. - Never fails to impress, no matter how many times I've seen it: -

Sharp Edge and Scales Tarn.

Sharp Edge, looking good in the sunshine: -

Sharp Edge.

Sharp Edge across a flat calm Scales Tarn: -

Flat calm Scales Tarn.

Looking back down Sharp Edge: -

Looking back down Sharp Edge.

Looking across Sharp Edge from part way up Foule Crag: -

Sharp Edge from Foule Crag.

After climbing Foule Crag, I made a short diversion to the White Cross Memorial, located on Blencathra's "saddle", before calling in at Atkinson Pike's nearby summit.

The White Cross Memorial, with Skiddaw on the horizon: -

The White Cross Memorial.

The other side of Sharp Edge, (with Foule Crag to right hand side), - as seen from the path heading from Atkinson Pike towards Bannerdale: -

Sharp Edge from path leading towards Mungrisdale Common & Bannerdale.

Looking back to Sharp Edge. (Taken on the way up to Bannerdale Crags summit): -

Looking back to Sharp Edge.

A female Skylark, spotted during a short lunch break on Bannerdale Crags summit plateau: -

Female Skylark.

Blencathra from Bannerdale Crags summit: -

Blencathra from Bannerdale Crags summit.

Looking down Bannerdale from Bannerdale Crags ridge: -

Looking down Bannerdale

Looking back to Blencathra from Bowscale Fell summit:-

Looking back to Blencathra from Bowscale Fell.

Approaching Mungrisdale after the long easily angled descent across the flanks of The Tongue, and Storm Desmond's flood damage is very much still in evidence along the banks of the river Glenderamackin: -

River Glenderamackin flood damage erosion.

The Mill Inn at Mungrisdale: -

The Mill Inn.

At this point in the walk, I had to make the decision whether to carry on along the road back to the car, or climb Souther Fell. Decisions, decisions! - it had been a very hot day, (in fact as I found out from a news broadcast later, it had been the hottest day of the year so far). However, it was still only mid afternoon, it would only involve about another 1000ft of ascent, and the legs didn't feel too bad. - Oh, go on then, I'd talked myself into it!

The view back towards Bannerdale Crags from Souther Fell: -

Bannerdale Crags from Souther Fell.

Approaching Mousthwaite Comb: -

Approaching Mousthwaite Comb.

Sharp Edge from Mousthwaite Comb: -

Sharp Edge from Mousthwaite Comb.

Looking across the flat plains beyond Mousthwaite Comb to Great Mell Fell: -

Great Mell Fell from Mouswthwaite Comb.

From Mousthwaite Comb, the last leg of the walk involved an easy gradual descent around the flanks of Scales Fell. Passing behind the White Horse Inn at Scales, (at which point a steep and direct alternative path drops down the fellside for those in dire need of liquid refreshment! :D ), to come out onto the A66 at Scales, with just a few final yards along the roadside back to the car. Another great day in the Lakes!

Footnote: Storm Desmond has caused major erosion to the banks at the point where Bullfell Beck flows into River Glenderamackin. A large section of land has completely washed away, taking with it the footpath from just beyond the footbridge. (and the footbridge itself is currently sitting very precariously on a partially washed away base).

There are signs, (Only seen on descending from the fellside when almost reaching that point), advising walkers to take extreme care when trying to negotiate passage across that area.

I would fully agree. Getting across this short stretch of ground is at best very awkward - and potentially dangerous. The shot below was taken from near the ridgeline on Souther Fell. The annotated red line is the route I took to get past the obstacle.

The blue line, which at first glance appears to go across easier ground, in fact crosses an extremely boggy area. (I'm talking knee deep in mud and probably losing your boots boggy!).

The route I took has the one merit that it doesn't put you into a bog - but I would stress that the ground underfoot was very loose and very steep. Given the terrain, any slip would probably be injurious, or at best, involve getting very wet!

Also worth noting that there wasn't that much water in the river. - Had there been, I wouldn't have been able to get across that first section immediately beside the water's edge, just beyond the bridge. - I certainly wouldn't like to have traversed any of that area, had I been with children or dogs.

Regards, Mike.

By houstonwalker on 29/07/23 at 12:48pm (last edited 29/07/23 at 12:49pm)

My husband and I saw a miniature Stonehenge near the peak of Blencathra. It was absolutely perfect, like your picture. By the time we walked to the peak and back down past it, it was destroyed by a sheep that sat down right in the middle of it. We figured it was a fleeting thing, meant to last minutes (but it was so well done!) I joke abut it often, saying it was the best thing I've ever seen in my life. Everytime we are back in The Lakes (we live in Texas and come each summer), I think about that miniature Stonehenge. I told him I was going to get to the bottom of this great mystery! :)

So this year, after another walk up Blencathra, I decided to figure it out. Upon googling, I found your post. I couldn't believe it. I thought, "Oh this is a thing, perhaps!" Maybe it happens often, all over. Turns out your walk was just 1 week before ours, 7/2017!

Have you ever seen anything like it before or since? I would love to know who built it. It was just so cute and thoughtfully done. I can't believe it survived the week but was destroyed in minutes after we saw it. Perhaps others kept rebuilding it that week...The mystery deepens.

By Lancashire Lad on 01/08/23 at 1:16pm


Thanks for commenting on my photo.
Although I do occasionally see little oddities on my Lake District walks, I hadn't seen anything quite like the miniature Stonehenge before, (or since).

As you say, it was well constructed, and it did make me smile at the time.
I suspect it would have been made by a family with children, or someone with an active imagination!

I don't particularly mind ephemeral things such as that, being that it was made entirely from natural pieces of rock found nearby, and knowing that it would quickly revert to being just a localised patch of random stones. - I had no idea that it's demise was hastened by a sheep!

However, ( a short rant!) I greatly dislike the seemingly growing trend of people leaving small memorial tablets on the fells.
Sometimes actually screwing them or cementing them in place.
To me, such actions are those of self-entitled people who have no respect for the landscape.
The Lake District is a truly beautiful place, and it needs to be treated with respect - by everyone.

Regards, Mike.

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