walkhighlands

This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell


Postby dav2930 » Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:51 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Blencathra

Hewitts included on this walk: Blencathra

Date walked: 26/11/2016

Time taken: 5

Distance: 8.35 km

Ascent: 794m

4 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

With an unusually heavy dump of snow on the fells for November, and a week of clear blue skies and frosty nights, I was chomping at the bit to get up there but had to wait 'till Saturday. By Friday the forecast was still good, so it was just a matter of deciding where to go. After much delightful pondering of several options I decided on Blencathra by the classic traverse of Sharp Edge and Halls Fell. From what I'd seen of Blencathra through the week it looked as though there was plenty of snow on it (Blencathra doesn't always hold the snow for long) and I was hoping there would still be enough by Saturday to yield a proper winter traverse.


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Driving along the A66 I could see there was still a good amount of snow, but it was beginning to thin out, as it is wont to do on the south-facing slopes. It didn't look like full-on alpine conditions, but I thought the traverse would still be interesting enough for so early in the winter.

I parked in the new car park at the White Horse Inn, Scales, and headed along the lane and up into Mousthwaite Combe. The combe is quite a sun-trap and with no breeze it soon became very warm. Hitting the colder air at the col was something of a relief! It was also great to see the route ahead leading to Scales Tarn and Sharp Edge.

P1020135.JPG
Sharp Edge from Mousthwaite Col


P1020136.JPG
zoomed


The snow on the level path above the Glenderamackin Beck was well compacted by the passage of many pairs of boots and, as a consequence, was rather icy. I could have done with my Microspikes, which I'd forgotten! :roll: Never mind.

P1020141.JPG
Approaching Scales Tarn, Brunt Knott ahead


At the edge of Scales Tarn was a group of tents, still audibly occupied (some low voices and, yes, snoring! :shock: - it was well past 9.30am). Maybe they didn't get a good night's sleep? Anyway, I wasn't hanging around and headed off up the trail of footprints to the top of Brunt Knott.

P1020144.JPG
Wild camp at Scales Tarn


P1020146.JPG
Sharp Edge above Scales Tarn


P1020149.JPG
Bowscale Fell from top of Brunt Knott


At the start of Sharp Edge I had a decision to make. The rock on the sunny south side was largely clear of snow and ice, while on the shaded north side it was covered in the stuff. To put on crampons or not to put on crampons, that was the question. Was it nobler in the mind to not wear them and try to avoid the ice and snow, or to wear them and try to keep to the ice and snow as much as possible? Not wishing to waste too much time deliberating on this profound dilemma, I plumped for the latter.

P1020152.JPG
Starting Sharp Edge


P1020158.JPG
Sharp Edge


Now winter conditions on Sharp Edge vary greatly. Trickiest (and most dangerous) is deep powder, which just slithers off the rock when you grope about through it in search of holds and ledges - a very time-consuming process. I usually try to avoid it in such conditions. But when the snow is firm and crisp, crampons bite in securely and the edge can seem a breeze. Such was the case today. It was probably easier keeping to the snow in crampons than it would have been trying to avoid it without.

P1020162.JPG
Looking down from the crest


P1020163.JPG
Scales Tarn


P1020164.JPG
Bannerdale Crags


Even the slab directly above the end of the edge, which can form the crux of the route, was conveniently supplied with snow-steps. It almost felt like cheating! (Not that I was complaining :D)

P1020165.JPG
The slabs up Foule Crag


P1020166.JPG
Scales Tarn again


P1020172.JPG
Skiddaw from Atkinson Pike


P1020173.JPG
Great Calva and Knott from Atkinson Pike


On reaching the top of Atkinson Pike (the northern end of the saddle), I could see some cloud to the west and mist was scudding across the saddle on a brisk breeze. I wondered if the weather was about to turn.

P1020175.JPG
Across the saddle to Halls Fell Top


P1020176.JPG
Savouring the view from summit of Blencathra


On the summit the tremendous views to the south were only enhanced by the flying wraiths of mist. What threatening cloud there had been seemed now to have disappeared. It was very pleasant indeed sitting in a sheltered spot just below the summit for coffee and a bite. The sun was quite warm.

P1020177.JPG
View south-west


P1020182.JPG
Looking down Halls Fell


Going down Halls Fell I made the opposite decision from the one I made going up Sharp Edge. I elected to do without crampons as there was too little snow to justify them. Care was needed as the rock was icy in places, but the ridge made for an enjoyable way down.

P1020183.JPG
St. John's in the Vale


P1020187.JPG
zoom to the Scafells etc.


P1020194.JPG
Coming down Halls Fell


P1020199.JPG
Looking up the ridge


P1020202.JPG
East to Eden


When I got back to the White Horse I looked at my watch and was surprised to see it was only 1.45pm. :o It seemed a shame in a way. There was only one thing for it - to sample the wares of the new café in Threlkeld! And very smart it is too, replete with outside balcony and views across to Clough Head... :D
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1331
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby Guinessman » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:49 pm

Excellent report Dav and great pictures. It looks as though the weather held from the previous day. After seeing some pictures of Scotland yesterday it looks, for the moment that the Lakes is holding more snow. Strange!
User avatar
Guinessman
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1075
Munros:282   Corbetts:51
Grahams:27   Donalds:89
Hewitts:143
Wainwrights:214   Islands:13
Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Location: NW Durham

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby dav2930 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:39 pm

Guinessman wrote:Excellent report Dav and great pictures. It looks as though the weather held from the previous day. After seeing some pictures of Scotland yesterday it looks, for the moment that the Lakes is holding more snow. Strange!

Thanks GM. :D Yes I was very pleased that the weather held, though for a little while it looked as though it wouldn't.
It's not often that the Lakes has more snow than Scotland!
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1331
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby trailmasher » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:42 pm

Great report and photos GM :clap: with great weather conditions to boot :) Blencathra is just about my favourite mountain with so many different ways to go with good views thrown in :) Well done on a great little walk on a great mountain :clap:
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1129
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:35 am

Some excellent images of a classic route.
User avatar
johnkaysleftleg
Walker
 
Posts: 3048
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:166
Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby dav2930 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:29 pm

trailmasher wrote:Great report and photos GM :clap: with great weather conditions to boot :) Blencathra is just about my favourite mountain with so many different ways to go with good views thrown in :) Well done on a great little walk on a great mountain :clap:

Erm...not sure if I should be responding to your comments here TM, or if I should leave it to GM! :lol:
Thanks anyway though - and Blencathra is indeed a very fine mountain. I believe Wainwright devoted more pages to it than any other Lakeland fell. :thumbup:

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Some excellent images of a classic route.

Thank you JK. Coming from a photographer of your calibre, that's made me quite chuffed :D
Mind you, anyone with a camera was bound to get some decent images on such a day as that! :lol:
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1331
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:21 am

I've been thinking about Blencathra as a possibility for quite a while, but this report does it. Really crisp report: and aside from the entertaining narrative, there are some very seductive pics of the ridge and environs (certainly it looks like a consummation devoutly to be wished :D ).

Scale Tarn looks like a wonderful camping spot (reminds me, probably wrongly, of Angle Tarn) - maybe one for a Friday night, followed by Saturday walking...

And - big bonus - 3, rather than 8 hours plus drive...
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2727
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby trailmasher » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:44 pm

Erm...not sure if I should be responding to your comments here TM, or if I should leave it to GM! :lol:


Hey, sorry about that dav :? :? can't think how I got you mixed up with GM :roll: :crazy: Hope that you get over it PDQ :lol: :lol:
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1129
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby dav2930 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:57 pm

Alteknacker wrote:I've been thinking about Blencathra as a possibility for quite a while, but this report does it. Really crisp report: and aside from the entertaining narrative, there are some very seductive pics of the ridge and environs (certainly it looks like a consummation devoutly to be wished :D ).

Scale Tarn looks like a wonderful camping spot (reminds me, probably wrongly, of Angle Tarn) - maybe one for a Friday night, followed by Saturday walking...

And - big bonus - 3, rather than 8 hours plus drive...

Many thanks AK - I saw what you did there sneaking in the Hamlet quote :wink: :lol: It's certainly a great route for a short day, especially in winter.

I can see why Scales Tarn reminds you of Angle Tarn; similar shape, size and setting (different geology though), and yes it does look a great spot to camp (Angle Tarn even better). Hope you can get up this way soon AK - certainly a lot more accessible for you than the Highlands. :D

trailmasher wrote:
Erm...not sure if I should be responding to your comments here TM, or if I should leave it to GM! :lol:


Hey, sorry about that dav :? :? can't think how I got you mixed up with GM :roll: :crazy: Hope that you get over it PDQ :lol: :lol:

Well, it might take a while TM, I was rather traumatized! (only kidding :lol: :lol: )
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1331
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby ChrisW » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:46 pm

Wonderful wander in great conditions Dav, sharp edge is one I never tire of seeing no matter how often it's posted. It looks wonderful in the snow too :clap:
User avatar
ChrisW
Scrambler
 
Posts: 4940
Munros:18   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

Re: Blencathra by Sharp Edge and Halls Fell

Postby dav2930 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:13 pm

ChrisW wrote:Wonderful wander in great conditions Dav, sharp edge is one I never tire of seeing no matter how often it's posted. It looks wonderful in the snow too :clap:

Thanks Chris. Sharp Edge is definitely at its best in the snow - just could have done with a bit more of it! Early days yet though. :D
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1331
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

4 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests