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Blencathra via Sharp Edge

September 26, 2019

The climb of Blencathra via Sharp Edge is one of the most famous walks in Britain. Scales Tarn makes a beautiful backdrop to the ridge. Blencathra itself stands isolated from other fells, enhancing the walk considerably.

The Walk

I believe that the scramble up Sharp Edge on Blencathra is probably as much fun as you can have on any Lake District fell without taking a rope. This is a summer only route, winter is more serious. Sharp Edge is clearly seen on the drive from Penrith on the A66, as it falls steeply towards the perfect, but hidden Scales Tarn where the ridge starts. The only problem I have with the ridge is that it is too short and emerging on to the saddle brings a sense of disappointment that the fun is over.

In fact the ridge can be divided in to two. First climb along the almost horizontal crest. There is a path a few metres under the ridge on the northern slopes which avoids some but not all the difficulties. I enjoy sticking to the crest. A tilted flat slab marks the most tricky part of the ridge and is unavoidable. From here the steep slabs of Foule Crag (pick your route) complete the route. Away from the ridge the climb from Scales to Scales Tarn is thoroughly enjoyable with the return on the other side of the Tran, along Scales Fell even better. The views on this east ridge are absolutely superb. Pick a clear day

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Being on the smoother rocks of the Skiddaw Slates means this is considerably trickier in the wet. This is certainly true if you use the ridge on the way down. Best fun is going up the ridge in dry conditions.

Navigation Tips on Sharp Edge walk

Regardless whether you climb Sharp Edge or not you should head for Scales Tarn. To avoid the ridge head due north to meet a path skirting the north side of the edge. It bends north and meets the main Blencathra summit ridge nearly half a mile to the north. Turn left and follow the ridge south towards the summit.

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