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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Blencathra Via Sharp Edge 21-6-2014

Another last minute decision, and I mean last minute, as at 10.45am we were lazing about having just finished breakfast and wondering what to do. I had sort of planned a few bits and pieces around the house but feeling rather lazy they were put on the back burner, again!. I have done Sharp Edge on Blencathra a few times before and Jill has done it twice before, once in perfect conditions where we both felt completely at ease and the other time where the cloud and drizzle came in to make it a bit more difficult. Now this is where Jill got a couple of collywobbles and it took a bit longer than we expected and she made the decision that she wanted to do it again when the conditions were right to put any fear behind her, so with the week leading up to Saturday being dry, warm and sunny it seemed an ideal opportunity to take the fear away. So it was just gone 12 noon that we set off up North and we were parked and booted and ready to go at at 2pm. Not bad going as the motorways were very quiet and we stopped off at one of the best service stations on the motorway, West Moorland Farm Shop, for a couple of pieces of homemade pie, lovely :-)
The day started in good warm sunny weather and was quite a hot walk up from the small car park down the single track lane as we followed Comb Beck through the valley to reach the paths junction at the base of Souther Fell. It was then a quite easy relaxed walk along a good path to the base of Scales Beck before a climb up by the beck to Scales Tarn where some kids were enjoying a cooling swim!
Our route for the day
Good path on the way up
Looking back down on the car park
First sight of Sharp Edge
Steps alongside Scales Beck
Scales Tarn with happy swimmers
After a brief rest while watching the swimmers it was time for the last pull up and get on the ridge. The wind had picked up slightly but not enough to put any doubts in our minds. Sharp Edge has a reputation of a fearsome ridge walk/scramble and extra care must always be given. There are in places some highly polished rock that can be lethal in bad weather but can also be tricky in good dry weather like today was. All in all though, we were feeling in good high spirits. We got to the starting point and had decided to tackle it head on, straight onto the ridge from the off. There is a path that can be used that takes you almost two thirds of the way before you have to head on the the last bit of the ridge which can come in use if you need to turn back or in really bad weather it gets too much at the start. Today was going to be awesome :-)

Sharp Edge
Here we go then
Jill doing well
Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy :-)
Scales Tarn below
Top of Sharp Edge conquered
Sharp Edge
Go girl :-)
A very blue looking Scales Tarn far below
It was very quiet up there today and apart from when we were on the last 100 yards or so, we had the ridge to ourselves. It really was a great playground but although the weather had been very kind to us upto now, very little wind, warmish sunshine and blue skies, when we topped out on to Foule Crag and the walk along the plateau to the summit of Blencathra, the wind had picked up and there was quite a bite to it as well as a lot of rather large dull looking clouds rolling in. It had changed in an instant and it was feeling rather chilly and we had no hat or gloves with us. One thing I always keep in my pack but in the rush to pack I took them out and left them behind. How I wish I had them!! Although the whole intention of today was just to get over Sharp Edge, I did have in mind a small detour to take us off Foule Crag and back down the valley next to White Horse Bent but as the weather had taken a turn for the worse we decided to head off the summit after taking shelter and a bite to eat after a good rest taking in the views before heading down over Scales Fell and back to the car. As luck would have it the sun and warmth came back out again as we neared the car park which made for a great end to a great afternoon "doing Sharp Edge"
A very cool and windy summit
Dark clouds gathering over the fells
A gloomy outlook over Derwent Water & Bassenthwaite
Sheltered dinner spot
Dinner :-)
Across to Sharp Edge and Scales tarn
Sun comes back out over a distant sharp Edge
Looking down to the car park bathed in sunshine
 Another great day out that started in good clear warm sunshine but became rather dull, windy and very cool on the summit but clearing up and becoming warm as we were on the final approach back to the car. The best part about it being that Jill had got over the collywobbles and put the fear of her second attempt behind her. Will she do it again????

Video of Sharp Edge



  1. Replies
    1. Hee Hee, Cheers Chippy Lad :-)

  2. Fantastic! Sharp edge is still on my to do list.

    1. Cheers Phil. Hope you get to enjoy it :-)

  3. Errrrmmmm, might do Andy. Give me a year or two. :)

    1. No worries, any time you're ready give us a nudge ;-)

  4. Class. I like the video and your Jill. Mebbe I'll pluck up the courage one day.......... If I see more videos and get to see every detail of it before I give it a go. As I said. Class! Cheers Andy.

    1. Thanks as always Tracey. Pick a good dry day with little wind and you should be OK. :-)