Unless you're a sheep, the grassy hump of Bowscale Fell looks only moderately promising from a distance. Yet this northernmost summit of the Blencathra range has a hidden scenic corner, the high glacial bowl of Bowscale Tarn. Typical of the rolling northern fells there's a feeling of empty spaciousness here, and wide views out over the nearby farmland of the Eden Valley. Several routes are possible, but the circuit described here is probably the shortest, easiest and most obvious. Do it as a quick hill run, or stretch it into a family-friendly half day.
Bob Graham Round: 2 Threlkeld to Dunmail
140 - 947 m | 19.7 km
A broad ridge provides easy peak bagging but with a sting of a series of big ascents and descents towards the end.
Bob Graham Round: 1 Keswick to Threlkeld
82 - 930 m | 20.4 km
The first (or last) section of the classic 24hr challenge is a route of contrasts. From the sanitised track and crowds of Skiddaw to the loneliness of Great Calva; from the pathless section to cross the Caldew to the exposed scrambling of Hall's Fell; from quintessential Lakeland to something more Pennine.
Blencathra via Bannerdale Crags East Ridge
225 - 866 m | 13 km
Blencathra's classic Sharp Edge is most often done in a short circuit from the A66. To add distance and novelty to your day, not to mention a whole extra bonus ridge, why not come instead from Mungrisdale in the uncrowded east? Start via the scrambly east ridge of Bannerdale Crags - it's no nail-biter, but serves as a great intro to the day's scrambling, and it's relatively untrodden too. A quick moorland stride then brings you to Sharp Edge from an unusual angle. And after Blencathra, the little peak of Souther Fell is a scenic place to end.
Skiddaw up the quiet side
298 - 930 m | 13.2 km
Skiddaw looks its most monumental from the Keswick side, but this aspect is much nicer viewed from a distance than actually walked up. In the flesh it's a dull and seemingly endless grind. Well, someone had to say it. Easy access makes this flank of the hill the most popular by far too, and crowds don't really add much to the experience. But enough of the negativity. For a completely different day out head round to the hill's wilder northeastern side, where the wide open spaces of the Skiddaw Forest have plenty to offer lovers of remote country. OK, the hill itself is a shapeless lump from this angle, but it's blissfully uncrowded too. You can even make a weekend of it with a night in the rustic Skiddaw House YHA. One of the few hostels anywhere in the UK with no road access, it's well worth the trip in its own right.
Blencathra's classic ridges
222 - 866 m | 7.9 km
Blencathra is not only one of the oldest mountains in Lakeland, it’s one of the finest too. Exhibiting a strong spirit of independence it is a favourite of young and old alike with myriad routes to its lofty summit where, on a fine day the fellwalker will be rewarded with some of the best views in the district. Complimenting the easier walking routes are two excellent scrambling ridges, one of which has attained classic status - and for good reason; in an area where narrow arêtes are in short supply Sharp Edge is in my opinion the daddy, gifting the scrambler and adventurous walker with the airiest, most sensational tightrope Lakeland has to offer.