One of the most incredible structures in the Lake District, hikes to Blencathra’s unique summit have thrilled for generations and are adored by many. Also known as Saddleback, due to its distinctive profile when viewed from the east, this is a mountain of supreme airy ridges, multiple tops, soaring curves and sensational views.
Its south facing aspect is perhaps the best known. It’s as if a giant has clawed away at the mountain, leaving five fell sides interspersed by four hollows, each containing their own tumbling gills. The middle three fells taper to superb ridges, the central of which, Halls Fell, is a glorious and fairly narrow grade one scramble leading right to the summit.
Sublime views and sharp scrambles
Blencathra’s true summit, Hallsfell Top, is a wonderful viewpoint. The muscular expanse of the Helvellyn range dominates to the south, whilst the Vale of Keswick and Derwent Water are backed by wave after fading wave of the Lake District’s western and southern mountain ridges.
To the north east of the summit are Blencathra’s most famous features. Scales Tarn nestles dramatically in a glacial amphitheatre, a lovely spot for lunch.
Above it is the serrated profile of Sharp Edge, the most notorious ridge in Lakeland and a grade one scramble. It is a very narrow traverse and dangerous when wet, icy or windy. However, in favourable conditions, anyone with a head for heights should have few issues.
At the base of the mountain, Threlkeld has a range of accommodation options and Keswick’s many amenities are only a short drive away. Blencathra is a serious mountain in full winter conditions and should be attempted only by those with appropriate skills and equipment.
A bona fide scrambler’s paradise, Blencathra serves up two glorious ridges in a truly memorable horseshoe. The Grade 1 scramble up Sharp Edge, a razor-like spine featuring the notorious Bad Step, gets the juices flowing, before an equally thrilling descent of the craggy towers and rocky arête of Hall’s Fell ridge.
December 13, 2019
Not the biggest fell in the area, but Blencathra provides panoramic views of most of the Northern Lake District. With so many routes up, no matter your experience there's a route for you.
June 19, 2019
This was the first fell I summited and with a good set of boots plenty of water and a steady head it's a nice intro. Stay at a pace your happy with don't rush because that's when you make mistakes.... I know I've fallen over many times.
May 10, 2017
A superb day out doing the Grade 1 scramble up Sharp Edge and the craggy dropping ridge of Halls Fell. Great scrambling and great views on a sky blue day with a great bunch of guys and a girl. Fantastic outing!
5 days ago
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