Blencathra, from the path to Skiddaw House

Blencathra, from the path to Skiddaw House. Picture taken on walk 50.

Height: 2847 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 5 (The Northern Fells)

Date climbed: First visit: 14th January 2012 (walk 49). Second visit: 23rd May 2016 (walk 110).

Blencathra from Hart Side

Blencathra from Hart Side, taken on walk 48. This is the Southern Front. Hall’s Fell is the buttress to the left, Doddick Fell the lower one to the right.

Bagged as number: First round: 151 of 330. [ << Glenridding Dodd (150)  (152) Mungrisdale Common >> ]

Second round: 39 of 330. [ << Potter Fell (35-38)  (40-41) Kinmont Buck Barrow and Buck Barrow (Whit Fell) >> ]

Route of ascent and descentFirst visit: Approached from Doddick Farm on the A66, up Doddick Fell. Descended to Mungrisdale Common – though unless you really have to, don’t bother, and head off down Scales Fell instead.

Second visit: Came up from Threlkeld via Hall’s Fell, and descended back there via Blease Fell.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “Blencathra is one of the grandest objects in Lakeland. And one of the best known… This is a mountain that compels attention, even from those dull people whose eyes are not habitually lifted to the hills. To artists and photographers it is an obvious subject for their craft; to sightseers passing along the road… at its base, between Keswick and Penrith, its influence is magnetic; to the dalesfolk it is the eternal background to their lives, there at birth, there at death. But most of all it is a mountaineers’ mountain.”

Blencathra summit

Blencathra summit, with Clare and Joe

What I say: Blencathra is one of the Lake District’s major players, definitely in the first team. Wainwright names it at the end of volume 7 as one of his ‘Top Six fells’, and it is the only one of these to be located outside the Southern and Western fells (the Sty Head – Langdale sector). He explored and delineated it more thoroughly than any other fell: It has more pages (36) and more separate routes of ascent than any of the 214 – 15 of the latter, including variations (of which AW admits that at least two are impractical). So does it live up to the hype?

Blencathra from High Rigg

Blencathra from High Rigg

By now I have been up it three times, twice counting for this project and once previously, back in 2007 or so, Each time I have found it an enjoyable experience. One thing about Blencathra is that it’s a very accessible fell, and for the same two reasons as Helvellyn. First, that the climb seems to be one that can be made as easy or as difficult as one desires.  Second, that it is right by a main road with a regular bus service, and an easy day trip from most of the north-west of England. So you could just wait for the right day, and go. It’s worth it, and if we can get Joe up and down it (aged 8), then you really have no excuse not to give it a try, right?

Gategill Fell top

Looking along to Gategill Fell top, from Blencathra summit

But whether I can count the climb as “positively the finest way to any mountaintop in the District”, as Wainwright claims for the Hall’s fell route on page 17 of this chapter — not sure I quite agree with that one. Certainly a good climb but I’m not personally assigning it top rank. However, ignore what I have to say — visit yourself and find out.

[ << Bleaberry Fell      Boat How >> ]

3 Responses to “Blencathra”

  1. […] other four I’ve chosen, this walk was an ascent of one of the District’s major players, Blencathra. Wainwright clearly adores this fell, giving it more pages and routes of ascent than any other fell […]

  2. […] only 4.75 miles approximately — but no simple stroll, as it took me up to the summit of Blencathra, one of the Lakes’ major mountains, and the first real player that I have gone up a second […]

  3. […] done, starting with the snowbound walk 105 in January. That was a memorable experience, as were Blencathra, Bowfell (last time), the Mosedale Cottage marathon, to name but a few others. And all recorded on […]

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