Blencathra Circular – Updated 27th July

 I forgot to include another link at the end of this post so have updated the page accordingly. Its at the bottom of the page underneath the Dr David E Martin link. 


Walk date – 25th July 2021

Distance – 7 miles

Weather – very warm and sunny with fair weather cloud, slightly hazy at times


Plodding up steep fellsides on a hot day is not our idea of enjoyable so the blistering heat of the last few weeks has kept us off the fells and seeking cooler pastimes. For example, swimming in Ullswater (unbelievably crowded and busy), enjoying a slight offshore breeze on the sands at St Bees together with other similar pursuits. A visit to Forces Falls in Swindale would have been on the cards but the thought of walking a couple of miles through a searingly hot valley coupled with the risk of finding the falls reduced to a dribble thanks to the lack of rain was enough to leave that alone for the time being. The evening ritual of unrolling the hose pipe and watering the garden continues. I’m struggling to remember the last time it rained.

Although still very sunny and warm the oppressive heat seems to have subsided a little during the past two or three days so we chanced a moderately gentle walk over the much maligned Mungrisedale Common and then across to Blencathra. There’s nothing excessively steep to sap your energy, or your spirit, as you climb steadily out of the Glenderaterra Valley across the Common, and the views of the Skiddaw group and the rest of the Northern fells are magnificent. It was only as we were approaching Foule Crag that we began to see other walkers, all of whom must have sweated their way up to Blencathra via one of the many much steeper routes starting on the A66 side of the fell. Hardly surprising then to see so many walkers stretched out on the grass around the summit area.



Parking area above the Blencathra Centre – track above Glenderaterra Beck – Sinen Gill – Cloven Stone – Mungrisedale Common – Blencathra – Gategill Fell top – Knowe Crags – Blease Fell – Parking area above the Blencathra Centre

The track above the Glenderaterra Beck begins at the top of the parking area from where there is this view of Latrigg and the North Western fells beyond them. Latrigg looking lovely in the morning sunlight.

The view along the track after rounding the bend with Lonscale Fell on the left and Great Calva in the distance. There’s a lovely light breeze to our backs,  not a soul in sight and only the sound of our boots crunching over the gravel disturbs the peace and quiet.

From the track the view along the Glenderaterra valley with Great Calva at its head. Hardly any water to be seen in the beck …..

….. and a similar situation in Roughten Beck

At the ford across Sinen Beck where the water situation is better than in many other becks around the fells, perhaps its source is an underground spring. Can’t think of any other reason given the absence of rain for weeks.

The engineered path crosses Glenderaterra Beck and begins rising up the slopes of Lonscale Fell to eventually meet up with the Cumbria Way. We left it at Sinen Gill and began making our way to the Cloven Stone path. Here’s a view of Lonscale Fell as we made our way over.

Across the valley is Skiddaw House, mostly hidden in the stand of trees, with Bakestall, marking one end of the Skiddaw range, right behind it.

We’re climbing steadily but the gentle easterly breeze is helping to keep us cool. We paused for drinks so I took a look back along the valley towards Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and High Seat.

A look across from the Cloven Stone path to Skiddaw Little Man, on the left skyline, and Skiddaw taking up most of the right. Sale How is the hill rising up behind Skiddaw House. The shot shows the Cumbria Way quite clearly and where it passes Skiddaw House you can pick up a path over Sale How which leads on to the last few feet of the main path up to the top of Skiddaw.  That’s a much quieter route up to Skiddaw if you’d rather not be in a queue.

We arrive at the Cloven Stone and make use of the flat stones around it to have a five minute break and take more liquid on board.

We spent a very pleasant few minutes at the Cloven Stone doing nothing more than resting our legs and gazing at the surrounding scenery which, in this shot, comprises Bakestall on the left and Great Calva on the right. The Cumbria Way carries on between the two.

A look back at Skiddaw, Broad End and Bakestall as we carry on from the Cloven Stone …..

….. up to this marker cairn just below the crest of the rise. At the top of the rise the Cloven Stone path joins the main path from Blencathra. When we reach this junction we turn right and make our way across Mungrisedale Common to …..

….. this small cairn which may or may not mark the hight point of the common but very definitely marks the junction of a whole lot of paths. Ahead is the path to Blencathra, to the right is the Cloven Stone path we’ve just left, to the left is a track leading over to the main path between Blencathra and Bannerdale Crags and behind me is the track going back across the Common towards the River Caldew and the Cumbria Way. Walkers probably wouldn’t have had any trouble crossing the Caldew today with water levels as low as they are.

Having picked up the main path to Blencathra we carry on over the Common. This can be a very soggy route as it crosses the area where Sinen Gill and Roughten Gill have their sources, no such difficulties today though as everything was totally dry. This shot is looking towards Lonscale Fell after crossing over the Roughten Gill source area.

The walk across doesn’t take long and we soon arrive the little grassy col below Foule Crag. Foule Crag is the steep shady area on the right and with a zoom in you might just be able to see walkers making their way across the remaining section of Sharp Edge before the steep climb-out over Foule Crag. Over to the left is the Gleneramackin Valley above which rises Bannerdale Crags.

Making our way over the traverse path through the Blue Screes area with this view of the much gentler western aspect of Blencathra. When viewed from the A66 the eastern aspects of Blencathra look much more formidable.

Our traverse path through the scree brought us up to the ridge just below the tarn and the extent to which it has dried out is quite obvious.

We cross over to join the path coming up from the Sharp Edge side so I took a quick look back at what remains of the tarn and across to Atkinson Pike before carrying on up to the summit.

Just below the summit is this view of Scales Fell with Bannerdale Crags right behind it and the Vale of Keswick far below.

The summit area was very crowded and it was impossible to get a shot from it so we dropped down a few yards for this shot of Gategill Fell top with Derwentwater in the distance. We then found a quiet spot on the grassy western slopes and had a break and something to eat and drink. A very peaceful twenty minutes or so passed by until it was time to return to the path along the ridge and rejoin the crowds.

A look back at the summit of Blencathra where a few walkers were still standing around chatting. Most folk had perched themselves on the grassy edges on either side of the stony summit area and were getting their lunch boxes out.

A section of the Hall’s Fell Ridge below the summit area. The ridge is long so its difficult to fit it all into one shot.

Looking ahead to Gategill Fell top where walkers, silhouetted against the sky, have just reached the top and stopped for a breather. We had a very light easterly breeze to accompany us all the way across the ridge and very pleasant it was too.

From Gategill Fell top the view back to Blencathra’s summit at the end of the Hall’s Fell Ridge. The silhouetted group of walkers in the previous shot are now on the path to the left and making their way over to the summit.

From Gategill Fell top the view down to the top of Knott Halloo.

Looking ahead to Knowe Crags and Blease Fell.

From Blease Fell the view back to Gategill Fell top.

Descending Blease Fell with Derwentwater and the North Western fells in view for most of the way down.

Looking along St John’s in the Vale towards Thirlmere with the Helvellyn group in the distance on the left.

Looking across Latrigg to the Coledale Horseshoe from the descent

Clough Head and the Dodds from the zig-zag path down to the marker cairn. The occasional patches of shade were very welcome as the breeze disappeared while we descended.

It might not look all that steep but legs and knees soon tell you otherwise whether ascending or descending. Look closely and you’ll see another walker toiling up, there were a few more coming along behind him who were battling the heat and the gradient.

Lonscale Fell showing a lot of detail and looking quite colourful in the early afternoon light.

Clough Head and the Dodds directly across the valley. Just a couple of yards ahead we turn off down a clear path through the bracken …..

….. and back down to the parking area which, surprisingly still had some spaces available. Perhaps it was just that bit too warm for most visitors to want to be going up Blencathra today. So, that’s just about it for today’s walk, all that’s left for us to do is make our way steadily down the steep, dry and dusty path without ending up on our derrieres, fling the car doors open and let out some of the heat, divest ourselves of our packs and flop down into the comfy seats and relax. Well, I can relax, but J still has to drive us home and the holiday traffic at the roundabouts on the A66 continues to be the usual nightmare. Another video interview with Dr David E Martin hit the airwaves last week, in this one he explains further about the patents issues he has uncovered and why the US Dept of Justice hasn’t taken action, here’s the link –

and this is the link I forgot to add–lockdown:a

Its a ten minute video pointing out what is likely to happen if positive action isn’t taken. More short videos can be viewed here on the Hugo Talks web site –