Blencathra is a fine fell in the North of the Lake District, a large rolling mass that looks smooth and friendly from most angles. Sharp Edge is a relatively short ridge that joins the eastern side the Blencathra’s summit with Scales Tarn below. You get a brief glimpse of sharp edge from the A66 at the foot of Blencathra.
For this particular walk I was looking for an exciting ascent, some drama from the norm. I had planned to walk Sharp Edge this weekend and Striding Edge the next.
Parking at Scales just of the A66 you are immediately onto the fell side, there’s a relatively straight forward climb up along Mousthwaite Comb where the path sweeps around and brings you out on a relatively flat section alongside River Glenderamackin a good 15-20 minute walk along this section steadily climbs you up to Scales Tarn.
The route straight ahead to Sharp Edge.
Zooming in on Sharp Edge. At this point you start to get an appreciation of what Sharp Edge is.
Some other walkers on the Edge.
Zooming in on Sharp Edge.
It looks pretty daunting from here.
Scales Tarn at the foot of Sharp Edge.
Somehow I end up going round the back of the edge to start with, not sure if this is the intended route but this is where the path lead me.
Finally on to the Edge.
Apologies for the burnt out sky, keeping hold of everything was my first priority. It was pretty windy up here and taking these 360 degree panoramas wasn’t that easy, rotating around the camera on a windy ridge isn’t the easiest of thing, but worth getting so you can relive and share the experience and environment in all its glory.
Exposure sorted. Wonder if you dropped a ball from here how far it’d get, I reckon it would end up in the Tarn.
An easier section with a fine slab of rock.
Things start off pretty straight forward but as you move across the edge towards Foule Crag the terrain gets tougher. Like Striding Edge the last part is the toughest.
As I moved across the edge I became aware of someone clearly in distress. As I was going up a guy had been coming down the opposite way. I could hear him shouting for help but couldn’t see him. As I got closer to the start of the final section, the steepest part, I caught sight of a guy who had taken a wrong turn and ended up on an outcrop that was going nowhere. At this point he was shouting for the Helicopter, seeing a memorial cross didn’t go down well and it almost pushed him over the emotional edge.
With no hope of a phone signal and being alone myself it’s a tough call, I took the option of trying to calm the guy down and guide him back up to me. I must admit in my whole live I have never seen anyone so scared, the guy was literally frozen to the spot with fear. After 5 minutes of reassurances I eventually got him to agree to turn around and lie down then crawl up to me. It must have been no more than 5 meters away but 45 minutes later he was back on the main path with me, just as I’d never seen anyone so scared before, equally I’d never seen someone so grateful.
We rested for a bit (as I took this Panoramic shot above) and moved back up the final part of the ascent to the summit (below). At this point we went our separate ways.
I doubt I’ll ever attempt to descend Sharp Edge and I know I’ll never go near it in bad weather it’s an exposed ridge that takes no prisoners in the wrong weather and given the nature of how quickly the weather can change in the Lake District extreme care should be taken in this area. Weather dependent you’d be wise to consider avoiding Sharp Edge. A few weeks after I went over there was a fatality here.
Heading for the Summit now.
Not a great view today, but it’s not always about the view.
Autumnal colours in the fields opposite the A66.
I can see the bike from here.
A stop off at Castlerigg Stone Circle on the way back to Kendal.
A popular spot with visitors. I waited a bit until they had moved on.
So I could get the whole scene in these 2 pictures.
I took the road round the back of Thirlmere on the way back, here’s a gloomy looking Helvellyn.
My bike form above. Everything you need for a day on the Fells right there.
Given the events that unfolded on my visit I didn’t get the change to take as many photos as I’d like, however I feel my time was well spent on a more pressing issue and hopefully the next time I visit I’ll be rewarded with safe weather.
Here you can see more of my Lake District Landscape Photography from Blencathra and Sharp Edge.
Onwards to Striding Edge and Helvellyn next….