Blencathra via Sharp Edge

Sharp Edge Blencathra photography by James Bell

Blencathra is a fine fell in the North of the Lake District, a large rolling mass that looks smooth and friendly from most angles. Sharpe 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.

Sharp Edge - Blencathra the Lake District - Photography by James Bell

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.

Sharp Edge - The Lake District by James Bell Photography

Zooming in on Sharp Edge. At this point you start to get an appreciation of what Sharp Edge is.

Lake District Landscape Photography of Sharp Edge by James Bell

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.

Sharp Edge - Lake District Panoramic Landscape Photography by James Bell

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.

Lake District Panoramic Photography by James Bell

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.

Lake District Landscape Photography and Prints from James Bell

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.

Blencathra Summit - Lake District Landscape Photography

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.

Sharp Edge Landscape Photography Prints

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….

Blencathra via Sharp Edge

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