Bowfell (left) and Rossett Pike

Bowfell (left) and Rossett Pike, viewed from the slopes of Pike o’Stickle. Picture taken on walk 10, back in February 2010.

Height: 2960 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 4 (The Southern Fells)

Bowfell from the top of the Band

The upper slopes of Bowfell, as seen from the plateau at the top of the Band

Date climbed: First visit: 19th March 2011 (walk 34). Second visit: 25th November 2016 (walk 121).

Bagged as number: First round: 106 out of 330. [ << Esk Pike (105)  (107) Mardale Ill Bell >> ]

Second round: 82 of 330. [ << Low Pike (81)  (83) Hampsfell >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: First visit: Ascended from Ore Gap, descended to Three Tarns and then down to Great Langdale.

Second visit: Came up from Dungeon Ghyll via the Band and then the ‘Walkers’ Route’ (see page Bowfell 6). Descended the same way as last time.

Great Slab, Flat Crags

View of the Great Slab, with the Langdale Pikes behind.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “A favourite of all fellwalkers, Bowfell is a mountain that commands attention whenever it appears in a view.  And more than attention, respect and admiration too; for it has the rare characteristic of displaying a graceful outline and a sturdy shapeliness on all sides…. As much as any other mountain, the noble Bowfell may be regarded as affording an entirely typical Lakeland climb, with easy walking over grass giving place to rough scrambling on scree, and a summit deserving of detailed exploration and rewarding visitors with very beautiful views. Rank Bowfell among the best half-dozen.”

Bowfell summit

The summit of Bowfell. Stones ahoy.

What I say: As Wainwright’s words clearly state, Bowfell is one of the big ones; the sixth-highest mountain in England and a very popular climb. Which all means that I doubt you will be alone here should you visit it.

After my first visit I said that I hadn’t quite seen the best of Bowfell, but I heartily revise this statement following my second visit, on which the weather was spectacularly good, and snow above 1500 feet gave the climb a real sense of adventure. I regret not trying the Climbers’ Traverse (although that was the sensible decision on the day), but that just gives me a reason to return again in the future.

The best feature on the fell is the Great Slab of Flat Crags, the like of which I have never seen before – it really is just an almost perfectly flat, and gigantic, slab of rock, the size of a football pitch at least. The topmost fifty feet of the fell are no picnic, the whole summit being, in Wainwright’s words (page 11), “a shattered pyramid, a great heap of stones and boulders and naked rock, a giant cairn in itself.” With possibly the sole exception of Scafell Pike, Bowfell probably has the roughest and spikiest summit in Lakeland (it was actually easier when covered in snow), but the effort is well worth it as it also has what must be one of the best views in the country. It’s all worth a visit, certainly.

Bowfell, from Great Crag

Bowfell, from Great Crag

[ << Bonscale Pike     Bowscale Fell >> ]


2 Responses to “Bowfell”

  1. […] snow and ice. Either way, lucky me for being able to take advantage of it on walk 121 by going up Bowfell, one of Wainwright’s ‘Top Half-Dozen’, and justifiably so. An excellent mountain, […]

  2. […] with the snowbound walk 105 in January. That was a memorable experience, as were Blencathra, Bowfell (last time), the Mosedale Cottage marathon, to name but a few others. And all recorded on here, for […]

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