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Blease Hell & Sharp Edge - no photos today

Brilliantly sunny September weather means a trip to Blencathra to get my fix of Sharp Edge and to try a different ascent.

I parked the car at the car park on the Blease Road in Threlkeld and took the footpath signposted Blease and Blencathra. On reaching the open fell at Blease Gill I followed the more obvious path on the left of the gill, I should have read my Pictorial Guide beforehand because this wasn’t the ascent of Gategill Fell that I had planned but the direct climb of Blease Fell.

After the first steep section on short grass through the bracken, at a wall corner I heard the “pweet, pweet” calling of a family of birds circling above, they were large birds of prey but they disappeared before I could get my camera out. Were they the Bassenthwaite Ospreys?

The next section of the path on short grass was steeper, the section after that on rough grass was steeper still and the final section over loose slatey rock was even steeper. Wainwright called it good exercise for the legs, I call it a hundred minutes of torture on the legs, the summit never getting any nearer and it felt too hot for ten o’clock in the morning.

Eventually I reached the summit, the near distance view of Skiddaw showed it to be a completely green mountain. The middle distance view showed fell tops bathed in sunshine above the haze of the valleys, the view eastwards was of an extensive area of mist covering the low lying areas.

Walking along the summit ridge was a delight in the bright sunshine and a welcome cool breeze. My intention was to descend by Doddick Fell but I somehow missed the path and ended on the easier descent of Scales Fell down to Mousthwaite Comb, probably just as well after my harder than expected climb up Blease Fell.

I joined the popular path up to Scales Tarn and then upwards to Sharp Edge in perfect conditions for an exhilarating walk along the edge. For the first time at my third attempt I walked across the narrow knife-edged gap, it’s not too difficult if you concentrate on looking for footholds rather than worry about the precipice on either side of the two foot wide crossing. After that the scramble to the summit is a pleasure.

Up to the summit then for the descent via Hall’s Fell Ridge, keeping to the ridge as much as possible but going downwards asks different questions to when you are climbing the ridge.

So, I have used three different routes on Blencathra this year, still a few more to look forward to.

Andy Wallace 14th September 2002

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