Thursday, 7 July 2011

Blencathra via Sharp Edge

Recounting a walk I did a while ago...enjoy!

This is one of the Lakeland classics. Sharp Edge is a name that commands a certain degree of respect. As Wainwright himself put it; 

"the crest itself is sharp enough for shaving ... and can be traversed only à cheval at some risk of damage to tender parts."

So of course it was that route that crag rat Rainer and myself decided to have a go at. After nearly a week's worth of tough walking, maybe we should have set our sights a little lower but what the hell, when you have flown a thousand miles to come to the Lakes for a precious few days, what's the odd blister or ten between friends?
We walked from Keswick to Scales and that in itself is a pleasant walk, along the old railway path via Threlkeld.

Easy section over with, we headed up the side of the fell behind Scales, heading onwards and upwards. It was quite amazing how the sounds of civilisation and the A66 all but disappeared once we headed round thr ridge onto the path that follows the River Glenderamackin.

We puffed and panted our way up to Scales Tarn in the blazing heat and marveled at the fell-runners who flew effortlessly by.

Scales Tarn really is the perfect picnic spot, as you might expect with this location on a sunny Summer day, we weren't alone but it was still very serene. As we were sat there - as if to top the fell runners - a man ran up to the tarn, jumped right in, swam across then scrambled up the side of Sharp Edge!

Sarnies and cherries finished we headed up onto Sharp Edge.

And, it certainly is sharp - and a great experience despite getting quite giddy looking at the ground drop away either side of you.

The adrenaline was flowing and it was great fun.
What I didn't realise was that Sharp Edge was the easy bit! Immediately after you've crossed the Edge the scamble up Foule Crag and that was real hard work.

The scramble was over before long, and the plateau or Saddle of the summit was reached. We had been up Skiddaw the day before to be surrounded by cloud but this time we were lucky to have a massive view over Lakeland and beyond. Blencathra benefits from its commanding position, not to mention the mass of information Wainwright dedicates to this Fell in his Pictorial Guide to The Northern Fells.

Our descent took us down the more eastern facing flank of the fell, down towards the Blencathra Centre. We then retraced our steps back to the welcoming pubs of Keswick. Definitely one to repeat!

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