I got a real Easter treat earlier this week, an outing to one of the Lake District's most well known and highly viewed fells, the mighty Blencathra. As AW noted it is 'one of the grandest objects in Lakeland', I heartily agree. I pass this fell each and every time I have driven along the A66, and every time, as I do in the Lake District struggle to concentrate on the road, but have noted its stunning angular form. I consider it as the welcoming gateway to the Lake District, I often whoop with delight when I see it. To AW it looked as if giant's hand had clawed at it and left a scooped out hollow where each finger had been, I understand his well observed point as you can clearly view from the A66 Southern face that there are three buttress style fells (W-E), Gategill Fell, Hall's Fell and Doddick Fell. Each hollow has it's own watercourse (W-E), Blease Gill, Gate Gill, Doddick Gill and Scaley Beck. To the sides and rear of this 'Mountaineers' Mountain' there are two subsequent fells (W-E), Blease Fell and Scales Fell. Blencathra also plays host to Scales Tarn, a challenging summit route Sharp Edge and the fast flowing River Glenderamackin. AW's love for this mountain extended the pages he dedicated in his book five to a whopping 36, more than any other, and claimed it to be one of his best half dozen. I found the prospect of climbing this Lakeland classic thrilling and totally absorbing, even it's name sounds magical. The magic of the day didn't stop at Blencathra's name but also I had a Ring and a Cross to discover on the summit and to my amazement an Angel appeared too.
Map: Bing and Ordnance Survey
The day began in the little hamlet of Scales, directly off the A66, I parked up in the little free car park just a little way up from the White Horse pub, I got brewed up, booted up and checked my OL5 map and set off out of the car park. I took a sharp left and walked up a short section of roadway to find a helpful finger post directing me toward Blackhazel Beck and proceeded straight on to Mousthwaite Comb and it's steep diagonal path.
As I waked up this path I was struck by the area of scree ahead and to me it looked like the side profile of an Angel, a Scree Angel.... Perhaps the excitement of being there and the glorious spring weather was getting to me!
A view back along the path and in the distance towards Threlkeld Common.
Once I was a the top of Mousthwaite Comb Scales Fell was there to greet me.
The view towards Brunt Knott in the foreground and Sharp Edge behind is a truly awesome sight.
As you follow the well trodden path towards Scales Fell and round the corner you enter the beautiful River Glenderamackin valley. I noted the two paths, the left hand higher path was my route in and the lower right hand path was, later on, my way out.
Brunt Knott and Sharp Edge were a brilliant and dominant feature on this section of the path.
The path picks up Scales Beck as I round another bend and a little way on I crossed over the beck.
This path continues to take you towards the perilous and famed summit ascent of Sharp Edge.
If you are either contemplating Sharp Edge, or like me in need of a brew and rest stop then the beautiful Scales Tarn is a welcome addition to this section of the walk.
My ascent to the summit was on the south side of Scales Tarn, this involved me crossing Scale Beck again and straight up the steep path.
My route to the summit.
Scales Tarn and Sharp Edge as a backdrop.
The view from the first section of the summit path was awesome, including a profile view of Doddick Fell.
The summit was in sight.
As I climbed on I looked back, Doddick Fell now behind and Scales Fell beyond that.
The final section of the route took in a section snaking of zig zag path. Doddick and Scales dominate the view.
The final push to the summit on Hall's Fell included crossing possibly the last fragment of residual winter snow, incidentally and befittingly 'Hall' is the family name of Dad's best friend and long term fishing buddy.
The view from the Hall's Fell summit is made up of a wonderful panorama of the Northern fells.
The official ordnance survey summit trig point is the form of a concrete ring, I was glad to rest MDB and observe the spectacular aerial show given by a native Raven. I also took in the view of Derwentwater, to the right, Tewet Tarn, just over Gategill Fell ridge and a small slice of Thirlmere to the left.
The Raven and Derwentwater.
The ridge route along to Blease Fell.
Walking towards Atkinson Pike I passed the Summit Tarn and then the white quartz stone cross, an apt symbol for an Easter walk I thought.
The view from Atkinson Pike along to the top of Sharp Edge.
I choose to descend, back towards River Glenderamackin via Mungrisdale Common, so I had to make my way along the top of Tarn Crags, the Blue Screes and Foule Crag.
Blue Screes and Foule Crag.
Looking back towards Atkinson Pike.
T'other side of the imposing Sharp Edge.
Another quick look back.
The convergence of paths on Mungrisdale Common, the summit of which is a Wainwright, offers a myriad of exciting route options. Another local Wainwright, Bannerdale Crags can be easily sought off to the right. My route was the closest right hand route down into the river valley.
The source of the River Glenderamackin can be found in this lovely valley.
Part way along this most picturesque valley paths you pass the site of a disused Lead Mine.... Seems to be a perfect camping spot!
Foule Crag from the valley path.
Cloud spotting was definitely a spectacular sport as I continue along the valley path.
My route across the river was taken on a small solid footbridge.
I stopped for a little while and took in the infant River Glenderamackin from the footbridge.
The path up the other side of the valley brought me out back at the top of Mousthwaite Comb, I retraced my steps back down passed the Scree Angel and back on to the quiet road I had come in on.
As I strode on I passed a real springtime scene, a field full of lovely young lambs.
This was undoubtedly one of my favourite days in the fells as I feel it has been a real accomplishment, a feather in my cap to scale such a famous fell and now I have 11 Wainwrights to my name. I loved every minute of the day.
Till next time.... Tight laces. MDB x
Phil your invaluable knowledge, encouragement and guidance is highly appreciated. As always, Thank you.