1 - 2
FATMAP difficulty grade
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. From the houses at Bowscale take the obvious hill track west, to make a long rising traverse across the slopes overlooking the peaceful valley of the River Caldew.
Bowscale Tarn has been a well known beauty spot for centuries, and since it was originally used to take Victorian visitors up by pony, the track gives an easy climb (it'd be nice on a bike too).
Cross the outflow of the tarn and take the rougher continuation path up steep grass, through scattered rock outcrops, and onto the gentler ground of the fell's north ridge.
Follow the cliff edge uphill, then bear right across the broad summit slopes to reach the wind break and cairn on top.
There's a great view of Blencathra's Sharp Edge from here. Retrace your steps briefly towards the top of Tarn Crags, then veer right to reach a cairn on a very minor summit.
Descend onto the east-bounding ridge of the Bowscale Tarn cove, then turn left to head straight for the northeast corner of the tarn - a steep, rough descent with no real path.
Once down by the tarn follow the obvious trail along the base of the moraine ridge that dams the water, then rejoin the pony track for a quick return to Bowscale.
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com, Nov 2014