At 845 meters, Blencathra is not as high as neighbouring Skiddaw. It is, however, more of an exciting fell in many respects. Whereas Skiddaw has mainly gently routes to its summit, Blencathra has a number of rocky ridges, the most dramatic being Sharp Edge on its north-eastern flank. Because many of Blencathra's ascents involves some challenging scrambling, Wainwright refers to this fell as "... a mountaineers mountain" (Wainwright 1962, Blencathra 2).

Blencathra Sharp Edge

Blencathra's Sharp Edge ridge. Photograph by Ann Bowker

Wainwright notes, "Blencathra is one of the grandest objects in Lakeland. And one of the best known. Seen from the south-west, the popular aspect, the mountain rises steeply and in isolation above the broad green fields of Threlkeld, a feature being the sweeping curve leaping out of the depths to a lofty summit-ridge, where the skyline then proceeds in a succession of waves to a sharp peak before descending, again in a graceful curve, to the valley pastures far to the east" (Wainwright 1962, Blencathra 2).

Blencathra Walking Routes

Sharp Edge Ledge

This photograph of Sharp Edge, Blencathra was taken on a walk I did on the 25th October 2009. The route started from Mousthwaite Comb near Scales, followed the River Glenderamackin to Scales Beck, where I then ascended the steep path to Scales Tarn. From the Tarn, I climbed another steep slope to the start of Sharp Edge, which I then traversed, taking the above photograph en route. At the far end of the ridge there is a rocky climb to Foul Crag at the north end of Blencathra’s saddle. From here I followed the path round to Blencathra summit. You can read more about this walk in my Lake District Walks Blog

As you can see from the 3d map of Blencathra, there are walking routes from the Blencathra Centre, Threlkeld and from Scales. Routes that involve scrambling are Hall's Fell ridge and Sharp Edge which start at Threlkeld and Scales respectively. Easier routes go from the Blencathra Centre via Blease Fell and from Scales via Scales Fell. The map also features two excellent routes to Blencathra via Gategill Fell and Doddick Fell.

Sharp Edge and Foul Crag

This photograph of Sharp Edge and Foul Crag was taken on my approach to the ridge from the lower slopes of Scales Fell. The steep climb up onto Foul Crag and the Blencathra saddle can be seen at the end of the ridge. Blencathra walk, 25 October 2009.

Halls Fell ridge ascent to Blencathra

Halls Fell ridge on Blencathra. Writing about the Halls Fell route to Blencathra summit, Wainwright notes, “The last half-mile of the ridge, from 2000’, is entirely delightful. This section, known as Narrow Edge with good reason, is a succession of low crags, with steps and gateways and towers of rock.” He goes on to say, "For active walkers and scramblers, this route is positively the finest way to any mountain-top in the district. It is direct, exhilarating, has glorious views, and ...[leads] unerrringly to the summit cairn" (Wainwright 1962, Blencathra 17). Photograph by Ann Bowker

Lakeland Fells
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