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On the Edge

On the Edge


Postby skuk007 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:02 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Blencathra

Hewitts included on this walk: Blencathra

Date walked: 21/06/2010

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I was in The Lakes for a week with my wife and mother-in-law and well I finally managed to bag Blencathra via Sharp Edge. I intended keeping a close eye on the weather all week and picking the driest and least blowy day to do this one, turns out any day of the week would have done as it was sunny and dry every day.

After dropping them in Keswick to enjoy the shops and a boat trip round Derwent Water I headed off to park in a layby on the A66 by Scales, then walked past the pub to pick up the path which goes up Mousthwaite Comb. Soon reached the top of this rise where I got views of the ridge up ahead, basking in the sunshine. Was quite nervous now as I had read other peoples reports on this site and was hoping I would manage ok.
SE_1.jpg

A bit further along and I reached Scales Tarn where the path to the ridge was quite clear.
SE_2.jpg

There was a couple just up ahead and a group of three walkers by the tarn so I hung around to see who went first. I wanted to see how they did it. Turns out we all may have had the same idea as it seemed no-one wanted to go first. I wanted to get cracking so set off first - gulp!

There seemed to be a path slightly lower down but I headed up to the ridge as soon as possible wanting to get the most from the experience. It didn't take long to get to the pointy bit of the ridge so took some photos.
SE_3.jpg

Can just see someone about two-thirds of the way up here, for scale. The rocks at this point do look very polished and I can imagine how slippy they would be if wet.
SE_4.jpg

It doesn't actually take long to traverse the ridge and get to the steep shoulder part which leads to the top. Here is a view back down once I'd started the steep bit. Again if you look close the group of three walkers can just about be spotted on the ridge.
SE_5.jpg

SE_6.jpg

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It is a good ridge walk and very exposed in one or two places but I couldn't help feeling disappointed that it was over so quickly. I almost wanted to go back down and do it again, then I realised I was listening to that "crazy little man voice" in my head. Here is a view up the steep bit where I still had to go.
SE_8.jpg

There are plenty of hand holds on this ascent but again some of the rock is quite polished. Once the steep bit is over it is a straightforward walk on the path to the summit. Great views all around.
SE_9.jpg

Lazed about in the sun taking in the views for a good hour before making my way down the Halls Fell route. There is some tricky steep bits going down this route but nothing too technical. Small chimney type scramble down at one point. Just to the right of this craggy bit.
SE_10.jpg

Once down it was an easy stroll back to the car along the bottom of Doddick Fell. Took some video too.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2M4wg4PxeI[/youtube]
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skuk007
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Re: On the Edge

Postby mountain coward » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:01 am

They're superb photos illustrating the difficulties, polishedness and scariness of Sharp Edge! I've actually been down Foule Crag to the end of Sharp Edge itself but didn't continue - I'll never actually do the edge as I believe it is just dangerous due to the polished and sloping slabs across it. Looking at your photos of Hallsfell and Foule Crag, I'm amazed that as a mountain coward I'm happy on both :D

I honestly think your photos are so illustrative, they should be offered to a guidebook somewhere

BTW - that guy on the close-up of the 3 people on the ridge - has he got something stuffed down his t-shirt or has he grown a moob? :lol:
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Re: On the Edge

Postby monty » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:28 am

Good report there Sku....
Some excellent pictures. It looks quite scrambly and steep in places. I imagine it would be slippy in the rain? :D

The video is especially impressive. It shows the exposure on the ridge with the drops either side in great detail. Thanks for that. :D :D
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Re: On the Edge

Postby mountain coward » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:18 pm

Anything rocky on Blencathra is lethal in the rain as it's slate!
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Re: On the Edge

Postby 734 norm » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:09 am

Fantastic insight as to the challenge sharp edge presents, love the video. Now I know what I'm letting myself In for this Wednesday as I will be doing the same route, lets just hope the rain stays away.
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Re: On the Edge

Postby ndhudson » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:28 am

Loved this!!! Fantastic photos! I have been told there isn't much good hiking in England and have yet to venture that way...reports like this (and a quite a few others on WH) are completely changing my perception! Just goes to show...you can't take someone else's word for it. :roll: Thanks Skuk!
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Re: On the Edge

Postby colgregg » Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:03 am

ndhudson wrote:Loved this!!! Fantastic photos! I have been told there isn't much good hiking in England and have yet to venture that way...reports like this (and a quite a few others on WH) are completely changing my perception! Just goes to show...you can't take someone else's word for it. :roll: Thanks Skuk!


There is some excellent walking in The English Lake District ranging from afternoon strolls to strenuous all day "rounds" taking in several summits . Granted you won't find the challenges you get on some Scottish mountains like in Skye, Glen Coe and the like but you will end up walking over some superb summits, often with fantastic views into the valleys and the lakes below. In areas such as the Scafells the rock scenery is as fine as you will get in the U.K.
The downside to this if you seek solitude is you will always find people as the Lakes are so accessable. The upside is a lot of walks can be started/ended close to a village/pub and in my mind there is no better way to end a day in the hills than with a pint or two and a chance to reflect on another great (hopefully) day out. If you have a few days here ND you will find them quite rewarding but stick to the hills and don't get sucked in by all the tat sold in shops which cater for the Sunday trippers.
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Re: On the Edge

Postby skuk007 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:57 pm

Thanks for the comments. Good luck on Wednesday norm,fingers crossed for a bit of sun.
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Re: On the Edge

Postby ndhudson » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:57 pm

colgregg wrote:There is some excellent walking in The English Lake District ranging from afternoon strolls to strenuous all day "rounds" taking in several summits . Granted you won't find the challenges you get on some Scottish mountains like in Skye, Glen Coe and the like but you will end up walking over some superb summits, often with fantastic views into the valleys and the lakes below. In areas such as the Scafells the rock scenery is as fine as you will get in the U.K.
The downside to this if you seek solitude is you will always find people as the Lakes are so accessable. The upside is a lot of walks can be started/ended close to a village/pub and in my mind there is no better way to end a day in the hills than with a pint or two and a chance to reflect on another great (hopefully) day out. If you have a few days here ND you will find them quite rewarding but stick to the hills and don't get sucked in by all the tat sold in shops which cater for the Sunday trippers.


The Lake District sounds and looks fantastic, colgregg! It doesn't always have to be about the challenge...the scenery is just as important. And I must say...I wish more of my Utah hikes started/ended close to a pub! :lol: Another wonderful thing about the UK! Thank you for the insight, it is much appreciated. Looks like my next visit is going to have to be a looooong one!!! :lol:
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Re: On the Edge

Postby 734 norm » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:30 pm

Managed to do it on Wed as planned what should have been a relatively easy ridge walk turned out to be quite tricky in parts due to the fact we ended up doing it in the wet ( not for the faint hearted ) particularly the flat polished slab of rock halfway across with no grip at all managed to get across it on my knees. I agree with you on the length though disappointingly short compared to the likes of crib goch. In the dry It would have been a different story. The descent via Halls Fell ridge made the scramble so much better, even though I've not seen much written about it it's a great descent which keeps you alert. The whole climb took us about 5 hrs, would have been a lot quicker had it not been for the conditions. Again thank you for the review at least I had an idea what I was facing before I got there....but for anyone planning to do this ridge think twice before tackling it in damp or wet conditions.
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Re: On the Edge

Postby Crawler » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:45 pm

I'd personally say the Lake District was by far the best area in Britain for hill-walking. Everything is accessible, you don't have to spend a night out somewhere to reach your hill, you can get back at a sensible time for the pub or whatever you fancy. There are paths everywhere so you don't have to plough through deep energy-sapping heather. There are a lot of very varied hills close together so you can get some good multi-hill 'rounds' done in a day.

The lakes themselves are all very beautiful and there are a lot of mountain 'tarns' which are equally beautiful. Even the valley walking is very scenic and enjoyable almost anywhere in the Lake District.

When you've finished with the walking, there is a lot of other stuff to do like various boating activities, horse-riding etc which can be very difficult to find in Scotland or even Wales.

Well worth a visit
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