Mungrisdale Blencathra Loop

Introduction

My initial thought for this trip was I’d like to do Blencathra again. Last time I ascended from Threkeld - but with this being a bank holiday Sunday was fearful of there being any parking. Examining the local fells it became obvious that if I set off from Mungrisdale it would be a longer walk but gave me the opportunity to take in three Wainwrights on route.

Equipment

2m FM QSOs

RIG: Yaesu FT1XD
ANT: Spectrum Communications Slim-G
PWR: 5w

HF QSOs

RIG: Yaesu FT-817ND
ANT: SOTABeams Quadband Dipole
MAST: Decathlon 6m travel pole
PWR: 5w via ZIPPY Compact 2100mAh 3S1P 30C LiFePo4 Pack
Case: PowerPort WorldPouch for FT-817

All power connections standardized using PowerPole connectors.

Other

Logging: Rite in the Rain 4x6 Notebook and STAEDTLER Noris HB Pencil
Rucksack: Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek 45:55
Phone/Camera: Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T
Water 1.5 litre
Footwear: Salomon X Ultra 3 Prime GTX

Safety

Garmin Connect

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Mungrisdale

No problem with parking in Mungrisdale. My spot was just on the entrance to the village, but the road is wide, there is a honesty box further North with lots of parking on the side of the road, and half a dozen parking places opposite the Church Hall.


Parking place off the road


View to the North from the Parking spot

There is a clearly signposted right of way on the left-hand side of the road as you walk North that takes you down over a foot bridge to pick up a tarmac path leading South. At the end of the path is a gate, with the walk on the fell starting on the right. You track back North towards the nose of Souther Fell. The path is initially steep but does calm down into a consistent drag.


Looking back at Mungrisdale from the ascent


Blencathra from Souther Fell

On the ascent to Souther Fell I responded to a CQ call from Patrick 2E0VGF driving down from Scotland, having dropped his daughter at University in Aberdeen. Dave G6LKB then contacted me, he was /M at Junction 40 of the M6. In response to my alert for Souther Fell, a new chase for him, he had come out /M to work me! I said I was planning on doing Bannerdale Crags too - also a new chase - so bless him he stuck around for a couple of hours while I trudged up to Blencathra, and then onwards.

Souther Fell

WOTA ID: LDW-163 Height: 522 m (1713 ft)
SOTA ID: n/a Grid ref: NY354291
HuMP ID: n/a QTH Locator: IO84LP
Book: The Northern Fells Lat: 54.652741 Long: -3.001356

The lack of rain over the last few weeks was really showing on these fells. Whilst there is some dampness under foot in places a lot of the wild grass is tinder dry, and I totally understood having felt the grass how wild fires could spread.

Looking South there isn’t the path on VHF that there is from Blencathra towards Morecambe Bay and Lancaster, so it was no surprise that I didn’t get anyone chase me from that direction.

Time Call Band Freq Mode Grid Country Operator Name
12:50 G0UOK/P 2M 145.575 FM England
12:44 G6LKB/M 2M 145.575 FM England
12:42 GM4WHA 2M 145.575 FM IO84ix Scotland GEOFF HARPER
12:41 G0TDM 2M 145.575 FM IO84oq England John Sutton
12:13 2M0VGF 2M 145.575 FM Scotland Patrick

There were three operators activating The Cheviot and they kept me entertained with their QSOs on the ascent to Blencathra. I was somewhat fascinated with the detour off my path to Sharp Edge on which several folk were braving the ascent from this direction. I’ve heard it is more extreme than Striding Edge, and it certainly looked it from my direction. Definitely not one to tackle on the descent!


Sharp Edge

Blencathra

WOTA ID: LDW-014 Height: 868 m (2848 ft)
SOTA ID: G/LD-008 Grid ref: NY323277
HuMP ID: n/a QTH Locator: IO84LP
Book: The Northern Fells Lat: 54.639754 Long: -3.049076


Summit Stone on Blencathra

On the ascent to Blencathra I had heard Jack GM4COX/P calling CQ SOTA GM/SS-130 Griffel (a very easy copy given this summit is south of Dumfries) and responded. As it happens he was very chatty from this summit and he was still on frequency when I reached the top, so first in the log as a SOTA S2S.

For HF 20m was suffering from massive QSB, signals dropping from 58 to no copy and back again. 40m was noisy and I may have picked a frequency with too much QRM. I had to walk towards the ridgeline to get a mobile phone signal, so couldn’t afford to be picky. Summit conditions were also against me with a biting NW wind ensuring that my hands were slowly freezing. No chance for CW in this conditions. 80m was working well, S0 noise and most stations coming in loud, but not that many folk about. Probably for the best as, having munched a sandwich whilst reclipping the Band Hopper antenna I was ready to pack up and get moving.

Time Call Band Freq Mode Grid Country Operator Name Comment
15:08 G4IPB 80M 3.767 SSB IO84XP England PJ HODGKINSON
15:07 G0PMX 80M 3.767 SSB IO94fs England Jim Garnham
15:06 G4WSB 80M 3.767 SSB IO91vl England Bill Bowditch
15:05 G6PJZ 80M 3.767 SSB IO94hl England Andy
14:57 F4HZR 40M 7.141 SSB JN18EU France Mickael MONDON
14:57 2E0WGA 40M 7.141 SSB JO01ng England Ant Weatherall
14:56 EA2DT 40M 7.141 SSB IN92et Spain Manuel
14:55 G0RQL 40M 7.141 SSB IO70uv England DON ROOMES
14:49 EA3EVL 20M 14.320 SSB JN00hr Spain PABLO PANISELLO
14:48 SA4BLM 20M 14.320 SSB JP70lt Sweden Lars Markus
14:46 EA2DT 20M 14.320 SSB IN92et Spain Manuel
14:45 EA7GV 20M 14.320 SSB IM87ec Spain JOSE L. MENJIBAR
14:44 EA1DHB 20M 14.320 SSB IN82fw Spain Ricardo Pena
14:44 F5JKK 20M 14.320 SSB JN23mx France ERIC JAUCH
14:43 F4WBN 20M 14.320 SSB IN93hl France Christian SAINT-ARROMAN
14:29 G7CDA 2M 145.575 FM IO83qt England Douggie G7CDA
14:25 GM4ZPL 2M 145.575 FM Scotland
14:25 M5TUE 2M 145.575 FM IO84qi England Nigel Wadsworth
14:24 G10HH 2M 145.575 FM England
14:18 GM4WHA/M 2M 145.400 FM Scotland
14:16 G6LKB/M 2M 145.400 FM England
14:15 G1OAE 2M 145.400 FM IO84fp England TONY STEEL
14:14 G0TDM 2M 145.400 FM IO84oq England John Sutton
14:13 GM6BIG 2M 145.400 FM IO85cp Scotland David
14:11 GM4COX/P 2M 145.400 FM Scotland Jack SOTA: GM/SS-130

The walk to Bannerdale Crags was fairly straightforward, and although the crags form a semicircle you don’t get any impression of the drop off on the ascent.

Bannerdale Crags

WOTA ID: LDW-096 Height: 683 m (2241 ft)
SOTA ID: n/a Grid ref: NY336290
HuMP ID: n/a QTH Locator: IO84LP
Book: The Northern Fells Lat: 54.651609 Long: -3.02923


Bannerdale Crags Cairn Stones


Bannerdale Crags on the walk to Bowscale Fell

Back in the shadow of the Helvellyn range no chance again for contacts to the South.

Time Call Band Freq Mode Grid Country Operator Name Comment
16:04 GM4WHA 2M 145.575 FM IO84ix Scotland GEOFF HARPER
16:02 G0TDM 2M 145.575 FM IO84oq England John Sutton
15:58 G6LKB/M 2M 145.575 FM England

Although on the map Bannerdale Crags looks like a detour from the direct route to Bowscale Fell it was a pleasant enough walk with nice views down the crags.

The final ascent to Bowscale was a just a trudge this late in the day. No problem with footing, but it looked like it would be boggy when wetter.

Bowscale Fell

WOTA ID: LDW-087 Height: 702 m (2303 ft)
SOTA ID: n/a Grid ref: NY333305
HuMP ID: n/a QTH Locator: IO84LP
Book: The Northern Fells Lat: 54.665049 Long: -3.034222


Cairn Stones on Bowscale

Had a couple of new contacts from Bowscale including Hayden in Wigton and Ian near Hadrian’s wall. The cairn stone horseshoe wasn’t high enough to provide any protection from the wind but did give me a seat at least!

Time Call Band Freq Mode Grid Country Operator Name Comment
16:45 G4IIY 2M 145.575 FM England Ian
16:44 G0TDM 2M 145.575 FM IO84oq England John Sutton
16:38 2E0WFT 2M 145.575 FM IO84kt England Hayden GRID: IO84KT
16:36 GM4WHA 2M 145.575 FM IO84ix Scotland GEOFF HARPER

On my walk from Bannerdale Crags I had spied a path running down the valley above Bullfell Beck and decided to take this path rather than following the ridgeline path just because I’d had enough of the biting wind! It was a nice steady descent and just before I hit the village there was a section of concrete slabs over very boggy ground, would have been no fun without these!


Descent path above Bullfell Beck


Obligatory Sheep Photo


Path back to Mungrisdale


Concrete Slabs over the bog

I stopped at The Mill Inn and had a surprisingly nice pint of Dizzy Blonde - I’m not generally a big fan of Robinsons beers - and contemplated the day before heading back down the road to the car, only 5 minutes walk away.

Regards, Mark. M0NOM

2 Likes

That’s a wonderful area. I was brought up around Carlisle and the northern Lakes were a regular haunt. We often entered a little north of Mungrisdale via the road up Mosedale. Carrock Fell was often visited.

Thanks for the reminder of what I’m missing! :slight_smile:

And many more thanks for the very comprehensive report.

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As I was walking @2E0GQM John I was thinking how different the fells in this area are, and just how huge they are, most folk looked like specks!

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The north west Lakes are a quiet area. They were the nearest to us from Carlisle and we could easily get there for an evening walk. This was 50 years or so ago and things might have changed! I’m looking forward to returning to the area in September for the SOTA weekend,

John

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