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Snowdonia Peaks

Friday, 17 August 2012

Blencathra via Sharp Edge 15-8-2012

It's hard to believe that my daughter turned 25 the other day, yes 25!!! Good god, it only seems like yesterday that she was being pushed along in the pram and then telling us that she won't walk to the shops or back from school. Walking, why walk when you can sit down in comfort and get taken everywhere!! Well, how time has moved on. She now loves to be in the mountains when ever she gets the chance, few and far between at the minute as work, coursework and relationship get in the way, but luckily August 15th was to be one of those days. We should of been out two weekends back doing the Snowdon Horseshoe but the weather got in the way. Again, we penciled the 15th in for the horseshoe but again the forecast was not in favour so we opted for the far northern fells of the Lake District as this area was to be clear of rain for most of the day. We got off to an early start leaving home at 6am in clear, warm conditions. It stayed like that all the way to the start point at Scales. We got parked up, got boots on and made sure we had everything we needed and headed off in bright warm sunshine at 7.40am. We headed off up the track that leads on to Mousethwaite Comb

As we made are way up we soon reached the high path and got our first view of our destination with a bit of cloud hanging around

As we got nearer the cloud had lifted and it all started to get a bit exciting as sharp edge started to dominate

We made our way up the steps by the beck that bought us out by Scales Tarn below the summit of Blencathra. All was clear and looking great in the warm but breezy conditions

We rested here for 15 minutes as it was quite warm and a thirst had built up. We also needed a bit of time to asses the conditions as the wind was blowing quite strongly and we were a bit unsure wether to do sharp edge. I have done it a few times before but Terri hadn't done it. She has done Striding Edge and some scrambles in Snowdonia but this is very exposed. Anyway we headed on and decided that we would go for it thinking that we would turn back if it got to hairy. As we made our way to the start the cloud started to roll in across the summit

We started off on the crest but soon found that we weren't going to go anywhere but over the edge using that route, it was very windy. We decided to use the path that runs about 20feet below the crest that gave us some shelter from the wind until we came up further down the crest where there are plenty of foot and hand holds. We weren't the only ones doing this as everyone else we saw went the same way. It was very dry and despite the wind we felt in no danger at all as we scrambled across and up the rock face that bought us out on the summit plateau.

As luck would have it, the cloud had come right down and all the views had all but dissapeared. The wind was quite strong across the open plateau but was still quite warm. We just had time for the summit photo before we headed off down across the broad path over Scales Fell

As we made our way down there seemed to be a lot of dark clouds gathering and we thought that the promised rains of the afternoon had come a few hours early. There was a few glimpses of brightness but it seemed like we might be putting on the waterproofs a bit earlier than planned

We got to where various paths meet at the crossroads to Scales Fell, Souther Fell & Mousethwaite Comb and decided that we would carry on to Souther Fell as it was quite pleasantly warm. The threat of rain seemed to be passing over the far western fells so off we went again to 'bag' another one. This time its a straight forward walk along a broad grass path that seemed longer than it looked. Quite a change to the rocky windy scramble that we had just done.

We decided to have a lunch break on Souther Fell as here the wind wasn't that strong and it felt quite pleasant having a picnic lunch in the warm conditions looking back across to the moody looking summit we have just left behind

After our lunch stop we had a wander to the end of Souther Fell before heading back. When we got to the crossroads we noticed that the summits were all becoming clear of cloud again and looked like it was clearing up nicely. As it was only about 12 noon we worked out that it would take us about 3 hours to retrace our steps back up to the summit of Blencathra and back down to the car. So without further ado, that's what we did!! Must be mad but it was early and it was turning out to be a really great day out. Onwards and upwards again then

This time it was to be clear all the way to the summit and we did have the views although that threat of rain seemed to be getting rather close

The wind this time was just as gusty so again we and the four other people that were going this way all went on the low path before picking up the edge. the wind had changed direction and was now blowing up behind us. Again we felt safe and as long as you respect the place and take care there shouldn't be too many problems. There is always the option of turning back.
The views were so much clearer and more than made up for missing them the first time round

At the summit the wind had became really strong, in fact at one point it blew me off my feet. We had a bit of trouble staying upright as it was blowing up from scales Tarn with tremendous force. For some strange reason there is something quite funny about being blown about. At one point it was like sticking your head out of a car window as it zooms down the motorway at 70mph. Talk about gurning!!
A quick summit photo shows the oncoming rain getting closer so we didn't hang about

We came down in warm and clear conditions and despite the wind we had a fantastic day and at least we did have some views in the end. A fantastic place and even the wind didn't get in the way. The sky stayed bright for most of the descent which gave us a great look back to this great walk along Sharp Edge and up onto Blencathra,

descending down Scales Fell

before turning off at the crossroads path at the bottom of Souther Fell

before making our way down the path that took us back to the car

 Another great day out and which marked a bit of a milestone. Happy 25th Terri x

 A short video from the summit


  1. Great trip report Andy and I like the vid too, very funny :-)

    1. Cheers Rich. It was fun in the wind :-)

  2. I absolutely love the wind. My favourite element of the weather. It's exhilarating when it's like that. Awesome. Brilliant pictures of the rest of the walk too. :-)

    1. Cheers. It was a great day and yes, I love it when the wind is like that. There's something strangely funny about being blown of your feet like that but just a bit more careful in the more exposed places ;-)

  3. An energetic report there, a double ascent shows some commitment!.
    I imagine the wind could be nerve wracking if standing on the flat slab about halfway up Sharp Edge.
    I though you might have had some entertainment on the scrambly bits with the really nervous types that often do that climb.

    1. Cheers Geoff. I think the wind was blowing the right way for us as we didn't feel really threatened by it. Still had to be cautious though, that's why the escape path came in use. Good job it was very dry :-)