Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge, Lake District

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Looking down towards one of my favourite ridge walks - Sharp Edge, en-route to the summit of Blencathra.




It had been a busy March for me, but with the Long Easter weekend falling in late March this year - I had a free day on Good Friday - so we pencilled in that day for a hike. We lucked out on the weather as this particular day was sunny (with rain forecast on the Sat, Sun & Mon). On this occasion my brother wanted to come along - who hadn't done Sharp Edge before (and had no idea what to expect) so I planned a relatively short 4.5 mile route that would get us up to Sharp Edge and then quite quickly back down.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Driving west on the A66 with Blencathra and Sharp Edge in full view. There's still a bit of snow up top despite it being late March and you can see why the mountain also gets the nickname 'Saddleback'.

Blencathra Walk, (Atkinson Pike & Hallsfell Top), via Sharp Edge


Map route Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
The full 4.5 mile map route we took starting at Mousthwaite Comb, up to Scales Tarn then onto Sharp Edge to the summit of Blencathra (Atkinson Pike & hartsfell Top), returning via Scales Fell


Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Blencathra is one of the most accessible summits in the Lakes in terms of actually getting to a parking spot at the start of the walk as it's just of the A66 - perfect for the likes of me who don't live in the Lakes and travel west along the A66 to get there. In terms of parking places - the above location is the closest to the start of this walk - with free parking for around 12 cars, there are a handful of spaces along the side of this road, a few more at the pub at Scales, and failing that quite a few spots actually on the A66.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
The day we done this walk was Good Friday 2016, with the best weather forecast for the long weekend -  it was pretty busy (for the lakes anyway).

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
After a gentle walk of a couple of hundred metres - it's straight into uphill mode at Mousthwaite Comb - probably the most strenuous section of the walk.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Taking a little breather and looking back towards the ground just covered

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
A glimpse of sharp edge and the summit of Atkinson Pike on Blencathra

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
We now follow Scales Beck all the way to Scales Tarn


Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Looking back along the path


Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Arriving at Scales Tarn - a great little spot to take a break, have a cup of tea and something to eat whilst admiring the view and getting ready to tackle the mighty Sharp Edge


Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
As it was Good Friday ( a UK public holiday) and great weather - there were plenty of people about with the intention of tackling Sharp Edge.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
It's a steady walk up the clearly marked path towards Sharp Edge - and from Scales Tarn we gain height pretty quickly. 

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
There were still patches of snow kicking around on the higher summits - but thankfully no snow (or ice) - on Sharp Edge - that would have made the ridge a different kettle of fish to get across and quite dangerous to be honest. (If you haven't done Sharp Edge before - and aren't very experienced then I would recommend to only attempt it in the warmer months when there is no ice, and no wet rocks for that matter). But if you have a head for heights - then give it a go - it's a great little ridge.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Taking another breather (it's hard work all this uphill walking!) and looking back down  to where we have walked.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
It doesn't take long at all to get quite high up and peer over Scales Tarn.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Here we go - Sharp Edge in full view. The footpath ends here and it's a case of making your way along the ridge and up to Atkinson Pike on Blencathra. It may not look it from this angle - but it's pretty easy to figure out the route along the ridge. Everytime I have done Sharp Edge I always go up it rather than down it - I just think it's more fun (and maybe a little safer) doing it that way - so if you haven't done sharp Edge before - I'd recommend going up it rather than down!

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Looking back along the first section of Sharp Edge. You can either walk right along the very top of Sharp Edge - or even just a little to the side - which makes it seem safer.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
The obligatory photo of yours truly on one of the rocky outcrops on Sharp Edge en route to Blencathra. It looks worse that it is here - I felt quite safe!

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
And a pic of my brother! He hadn't done Sharp Edge before so wasn't as sure footed as me - and was a little tentative in places - but he still managed to complete it fairly easily. So if you have done a few walks before, but have not yet tackled Sharp Edge - then give it a go. If the conditions are good - I'm pretty certain you'll enjoy it! We did.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Looking back down across the majority of Sharp Edge - and now it's a bit of a scramble using your hands up to Atkinson Pike on Blencathra

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
This was one of my favourite views along the whole route - gives a good feel for Sharp Edge and how high you are compared to Scales Tarn.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
After taking a bit of a breather and grabbing a bite to eat & drink - some other walkers begin to catch us up, so we make a move for the summit.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Arriving at the top of Atkinson Pike

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
We've hit the snowline here - but thankfully there is no ice kicking about. Even though I'm wearing shorts it doesn't feel that cold

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Making our way now towards Hallsfell Top.

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
You can really get a sense of the height of the summit here looking back down again on Scales Tarn. It was also strange chucking a few snowballs about while wearing shorts on the Easter Weekend!

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
The view west from Hallsfell Top - where you can see Derwent Water in the distance

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
It was an ideal spot to stop and grab another cuppa and bite to eat, while soaking in the views. This time you can just make out Thirlmere lake too to the left

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Making a decent down Scales Fell on the opposite side of Scales Tarn

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Our last glimpse of Scales Tarn and Sharp Edge. There is a path that actually takes you back down to the Tarn - where you can then follow the same path back to the car - but I prefer not to cover the same ground on a walk - so it's all the way down Scales Fell for us

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
It's now a fairly gentle stroll down Scales Fell - although going downhill is always tough on the old knees!

Blencathra walk via Sharp Edge Pictures The Lake District Mountains UK Best View
Nearing the end of this walk - with the A66 in full view  - and I can just about make out my car in the centre of the shot


So there you go - I hope you have enjoyed that little write up - and that it inspires you to want to give Sharp Edge a go your self! 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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