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Past the Edge: Blencathra

Past the Edge: Blencathra

Postby OpenC » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:44 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Blencathra

Hewitts included on this walk: Blencathra

Date walked: 15/08/2015

Time taken: 3

Distance: 8.5 km

Ascent: 700m

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This is obviously not going to be a surprising walk to 95% of you on here but is recorded for posterity :)

Been over to the Lakes today; I was there on Wednesday and Thursday on Best Man duties so I got a feel for the place again. Can't go wrong with Blencathra via what I always somewhat grandly regard as "my" route, since it was the first proper mountain I climbed, and I picked the route myself.

A couple of views, one and and one down, from halfway up the short, sharp start at Mousthwaite Comb. I've always been lucky and managed to park right at the bottom of the Comb, even when the laybys for miles around are full. This is a good start and reminds you that you're on a proper mountain - hard work, and a couple of awkward rocky slopes above biggish and steepish drops toward the top of this path just to give a bit of pause to respect that this isn't just a wander through a field.

Down, back to the A66

Up, toward the top of the Comb

At the top of the Comb, you get your first look at the top architecture of Blencathra and the fabled Sharp Edge, and the delightful flat stretch of walk toward them both. My route goes past the bottom of Sharp Edge and carries on to the Blencathra/Bannerdale Cags col then up the skyline at the back of the picture.

Lola, on the flat bit. The aforementioned col behind her

Sharp Edge beginning to tower over the route

This waterfall issuing from Scales Tarn under Sharp Edge is where the trade route leading to Sharp Edge and the regular bypass path around to Scales Fell heads off. This route crosses the waterfall and instead goes on to a much more faint path through the grass.

The green and gentle Cheviot-esque route ahead after the waterfall

At this second, smaller, waterfall it's very easy to go wrong. Following the lower path leads to it petering out very quickly, and while this is not a difficult moor to cross without a path, it's certainly easier to follow the higher path which keeps on all the way to the col at the top.

The back side of Sharp Edge, not viewed from any other ascent route on the mountain. If you were going to fall off it, this would be the place to do it I guess :)

At the col, the views open up to the famously dreary "back o' Skiddaw". I live in the Cheviots so this scenery is OK by me.

The start of the final ascent to Blencathra, again looking rather Cheviot-esque from here..

..but less so after that first skyline is reached. This is a lovely little bit of path, and is always very quiet.

View to the Blencathra summit plateau

Skiddaw and the Grasmoor group behind it, just before the final final ascent through the grit and scree.

The final final ascent is quite steep and exposed (to the elements - not in a "long way down" sort of way), but short.

Summit plateau. I didn't bother going to the very top today; the path down starts just short of it with all the climbing done, and I've been up there enough times.

The start of the path down Scales Fell. It would probably be a good ascent route as well (and I'm guessing is probably the most popular, save perhaps for Blease Fell), but not as good as mine :)

It's a good path, well maintained, and ventures close to some good sized drops to remind you of where you are. Pictures, of course, never do them justice.

Classic Lakeland views toward the Vale of Keswick on the way back down.

And a good look at the long drop side of Sharp Edge above Scales Tarn.

I forgot to take a picture, but the way I finish this off is to branch left off this path to rejoin the ascent path at the top of Mousthwaite Comb, but it would be just as easy to continue down the ridge to the pub at the bottom. All depends where you parked, really :)

I'm a bit of a Scotland snob these days, but the Lakes does have some really great mountains, and this is one of them :)

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Re: Past the Edge: Blencathra

Postby mamoset » Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:24 pm

Nice pics them, showing your route. Enjoyed them even more after clicking on the photo and realising i could view them larger.
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Re: Past the Edge: Blencathra

Postby dav2930 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:44 pm

Enjoyable report. Atkinson Pike and across the saddle is a fine way up Blencathra and a good alternative to Sharp Edge. I'm lucky enough to be able to see Blencathra from my house and I've been up it dozens of times, usually by Mousthwaite Combe and Sharp Edge, but quite often from Mungisedale via Atkinson Pike, which I always enjoy. Glad you enjoyed your visit. :)
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Re: Past the Edge: Blencathra

Postby ChrisW » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:17 am

Another beauty OpenC, I too 'invent' my own way up mountains....usually because I lost the trail while looking around but still it all adds to the excitement :lol:

the views open up to the famously dreary "back o' Skiddaw"

Not sure why that lovely view would be considered dreary...folks get too picky I reckon :lol: :lol:

Another enjoyable write up mate :)
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