Blencathra via Sharp Edge Walk with Route Map.

Blencathra Sharp Edge Walk, with photos and route map, via Scales Tarn & Sharp Edge. 


One of the best ridge walk's in the Lake District. Here's some photo highlights of the Blencathra Walk:



Blencathra sharp edge, blencathra walk, via scales tarn, lake district,

Blencathra via Sharp Edge Walk – Sharp Edge to the right, above Scales Tarn, which is a perfect place for a stop off before the climb ahead


view from the summit of blencathra, looking towards keswick and derwent water, lake district
Looking west from the highest summit on Blencathra, Hallsfell Top, where you can make out Derwent Water just off centre. On the horizon to the left you can just make out Great Gable & Scafell Pike.



Blencathra Sharp Edge Route Map:


blencathra via sharp edge and scales tarn walk route map
The Blencathra Sharp Edge Walk, Route Map. From www.walkingenglishman.com ( a great site for walkers)

Getting there:

This Blencathra walk was done on the 28th March 2012, when we had around 5 glorious days of weather around the full UK (which maybe happens about once a year!). So we made the 2 hour drive from Hartlepool (North-East Coast of England) over the pennines on the A66. 

Blencathra is perhaps the most accessible mountain to travel to in the car if you are entering the lakes from the east on the A66, as it's quite easy to get too, and you can park in a lay-by right on the A66, so avoiding all the country roads. 

Blencathra - the Route:


Blencathra itself (sometimes called Saddleback), actually has 6 separate fell tops, the highest being Hallsfell at 2,848 ft. You can see the route we took above, starting from near Scales village, then straight up towards Scales Fell and Scales Tarn. From Scales Tarn there are a few options to get to the top - but Sharp Edge is the most exciting, challenging and my best route. I think it looks worse from a distance and in photos than it actually is when you are on it - although it can be dangerous in wet (and very windy) conditions when it becomes rather slippy (due to the rock being smoothed/polished by the boots of walkers over the years) and can be quite dangerous in ice&snow if you don't have the right equipment. Don't let this put you off though - in dry conditions, as long as you have decent foot wear -I would say it's quite safe if you just be careful :-)

From the top of Blencathra - you can either come back down via one of the routes to Scales Tarn - and then it will be quite a quick walk (3hrs) - or you can continue along the summit yo Hallsfell top, then Knowe Crags and come down Blease Fell towards Threlkeld and then walk back along the base of Blencathra (It was a cracking day - so we wanted to extend the walk and we done this longer route in 4hrs)

Now for a few photos of the route, below is the start of the footpath on the A66 not far from the car:




The walk begins pretty steeply up Scales Fell and you are straight into it, so be prepared :-) Here is a shot west towards Derwent Water. Below is a shot east towards the Pennines and from where we came from in the car on the A66. My car is down there somewhere!



After heading up the path then takes you around Scales Fell, where there is now no hint of civilisation. From here you get your first sight of Sharp Edge, below.

Sharp Edge from a distance:


first glimpse of sharp edge, blencathra, lake district

Yup, thats where we are going!






sharp edge, scales tarn, blencathra, lake district

Scales Tarn below Sharp Edge:

A little tarn en-route is always a good place to stop off for something to eat, and Scales Tarn is a cracking place to stop, with great views. And in this glorious weather we stayed more than usual. Tempting to even have a little swim, until you feel how cold the water is, so maybe not..

sharp edge, scales tarn, blencathra, lake district

Sharp Edge to the right, above Scales Tarn


looking towards sharp edge, blencathra

So we begin the climb towards Sharp Edge....

sharp edge, blencathra


the start of the sharp edge ascent
the start of the sharp edge ascent




looking down on scales tarn
Doesn't take long to get quite high on sharp-edge. Looking back down on scales tarn.


Sharp Edge gets pretty steep in parts. Not sure if I would fancy this in the ice & snow!
Sharp Edge gets pretty steep in parts. Not sure if I would fancy this in the ice & snow!


Sharp Edge:


Sharp Edge walk en route to the summit of Blencathra

Perhaps the most dramatic shot of the Sharp Edge walk en route to the summit of Blencathra!


I always think some of the edges/ridges in the Lake District (sharp edge, striding edge) look worse and more dramatic from a distance and in photos than they actually are when you are on them, and in dry conditions they are really quite safe. So don't let the above picture put you off - it's not as scary as it looks. I'd encourage anyone with a sense of adventure to try Sharp Edge out. It's only in bad weather (rain, ice, snow) where teh big danger lies and where you gave got to be extra careful and take teh right equipment with you.

pretty sheer rock face on sharp-edge, maybe not the best place to lose your footing.....
pretty sheer rock face on sharp-edge, maybe not the best place to lose your footing.....

Bit of a final scramble near the top of Sharp edge
Bit of a final scramble near the top of Sharp edge

sharp edge blencathra walk, lake district
Another shot of the sharp edge ridge walk from higher up on the blencathra walk, lake district 

Scales tarn looks quite small from up here...
Scales tarn looks quite small from up here...


Above, looking west from the summit of Blencathra, where you can make out Derwent Water just off centre. On the horizon to the left I think you can just make out Great Gable & Scafell Pike.


A bit further on west along the ridge, looking back to the summit of Blencathra.
A bit further on west along the ridge, looking back to the summit of Blencathra.

Now on the decent - with good views looking towards Keswick & Derwent Water.
Now on the decent - with good views looking towards Keswick & Derwent Water.

Heading towards Threlkeld, the end of the walk now approaching
Heading towards Threlkeld, the end of the walk now approaching

sharp edge, scales tarn, blencathra, lake district
Looking back up towards the summit of Blencathra, I believe you can also come down via this valley



You can just about make out the summit of Blencathra in the distance.



Finally, after around 4hours walking in the glorious hot sunshine, and now out of water - perhaps one of the best sights :-) Time for a refreshing drink...




Further information on Blencathra Walks:

In March 2016 I blogged about another, quicker walk of 4.5miles up to Blencathra  via Sharp Edge - see http://stuarthodgson.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/blencathra-walk-via-sharp-edge-lake-district.html


You might also find the following web-pages worth checking out in planning your Blencathra Walk (I did):





I hope this post helps & inspires you to venture up to Blencathra via Sharp Edge. Just be careful on sharp edge (especially in bad weather) - I'm sure you will love it though. Sharp Edge alongside Striding Edge is one of my favourite walking challenges in the Lake District :-)

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions - just post a comment and I'll try and answer. 

Blog Post by Stuart Hodgson, 'The Hiking Photographer'


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