This is the perfect walk to follow a delicious Cumbrian breakfast; with the aroma of beautifully browned toast and freshly brewed coffee still lingering in your nostrils you can set out on this walk up Souther Fell in the knowledge that it will follow on sublimely from your leisurely breakfast.
There are some walks that demand vigorous exertion straight out of the car but this is not one of them. The highest point of the walk is the summit of Souther Fell, which is 522 metres high, but this route takes such a gentle, scenic approach that you hardly ever feel as though you are walking uphill.
Start in the lovely little village of Mundrisdale – you can park just before the pub on the wide grass verge by the side of the river. Walk past the pub and to a hairpin bend and turn left onto a footpath that leads you past a red phone box. The footpath climbs ever so gradually along side River Glenderamakin, crossing a couple of streams and a few boggy sections.
When you reach a substantial footbridge the path doubles back on itself and sets off up the gentle flanks of Souther Fell. Don’t forget to keep looking behind you for wonderful views over to Blencathra – from this angle it is easy to see why its other name is “Saddleback”. There is no path marked on the map over Souther Fell but it is clear on the ground and leads you up over the summit and down the front towards Mungrisdale. The summit of Souther Fell is not dramatic but the views are breathtaking: from the flat, lush fields of the Eden Valley to the rocky outlines of Blencathra and Bannerdale Crags.
The decent is certainly steeper than anything you have come up but most of it is on a wide grassy path with just a couple of rockier sections nearer the bottom. The village of Mugrisdale is in sight but you will need to follow the permissive path off to the right to drop down to the gated road from Scales. Follow the road left until at the bottom of the road you see a grassy track leading down towards the river. It looks as though you are going to get your feet wet but just in time you will spot some stone steps over the wall on the right and on the other side of them a footbridge. Cross the footbridge and follow the footpath signs through the fields to the road. Turn left again and you will soon be back at your car.
The whole walk can easily be done in under three hours leaving you plenty of time to drive back home, finish painting the kitchen, help the kids with their homework or whatever else it is you find yourself doing on Sunday afternoons.