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Lake District Walk
Blencathra via Hall's Fell ridge from Scales Farm

Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District Northern Fells

Wainwrights - Blencathra

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km    Ascent - 2230 feet / 676 metres

Time - 5 hours 10 minutes    Grade - mod/hard

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Blencathra via Hall's Fell ridge from Scales Farm
Click image to visit gallery of 6 images.

Blencathra is one of the great mountains of Lakeland also referred to as the Saddleback. For those approaching Keswick from Penrith along the A66, it provides an awe inspiring sight as it climbs steeply from the road. Seen from further away it appears as though some giant has gouged four great marks on its southern face giving the mountain a rather ominous dominance on the landscape.

The Lake District walk starts from near Scales Farm. Park in one of the lay-bys on the A66 - on a good day spaces may be hard to find! - to take the short footpath (grid ref NY340267) that provides access beyond the intake wall and onto the fell. After breaching the wall turn left and follow the path at the base of Scales Fell to cross Scaley Beck where a little scrambling is required to exit the valley. Continue along the lower slopes of Doddick Fell and Halls Fell to reach Gate Gill. This is where the ascent begins.

Halls Fell is a wonderful approach to the summit of Blencathra. Besides being direct and leading straight to the summit is never tedious except perhaps in the early stages as you gain an initial foothold on the mountain. True it is a steep climb in places but as height is gained the view improves with wide ranging panoramas over the fells to the south. Eventually the going becomes rockier and there are a number of places where mild scrambling is the order of the day although for the more adventurous you can choose harder routes.

Arrival at the summit gives one an immediate sense of achievement. Suddenly you have a 360 degree view with Skiddaw and the Northern Lakeland Fells appearing. After scaling the steep southern slopes of Blencathra the tamer northern slopes are in complete contrast. There are many routes off the mountain but the way described offers an excellent look at some of the more interesting features of the Saddleback. From the summit cairn turn right and head east and then north to reach the subsidiary summit of Atkinson Pike. By doing this you traverse the saddle and are treated with a superb aerial view of Sharp Edge, which drops precipitously to Scales Tarn far below. From here you can safely decide whether a traverse is within your capabilities ...!

Retrace your steps south and then take the descending path that leads across Scales Fell - for this walk ignore the path descending Doddick Fell - and continue towards Mousthwaite Comb. Do not descend to the col but instead turn south on a narrow path that contours along the fellside. This offers an easy and delightful route back to the start. Finally it is worth saving this walk for a fine day as the views are tremendous. Good weather is also essential if you are to enjoy the ascent as you clamber upwards amongst the crags. Finally do not be put off by the "look" of the ascent - It is one Lakeland's greatest.

Other walks nearby

Walk 1008 Blencathra via Sharp Edge from Scalesmod/hard5.0 miles
Walk 3470 Blencathra via Foule Crag from Scalesmod/hard8.0 miles
Walk 1506 Sharp Edge & Blencathra from Scalesmod/hard5.0 miles
Walk 1354 Bannerdale Crags & Souther Fellmoderate7.5 miles
Walk 1073 Skiddaw & Glenderaterra Beck from Underscarmoderate9.0 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Walking the Lake District Fells - Keswick

Walking the Lake District Fells - KeswickPart of the Walking the Lake District Fells series, this guidebook covers a wide range of routes to 30 Lakeland summits that can be climbed from Keswick, Whinlatter, Bassenthwaite, Caldbeck, Mungrisdale and Threlkeld, with highlights including Skiddaw and Blencathra. Includes suggestions for longer ridge routes.
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Great Mountain Days in the Lake District

Great Mountain Days in the Lake DistrictAn inspirational guidebook to 50 challenging walks on the high fells of the Lake District. The graded circular routes, between 4 and 14 miles in length, cover classic Lakeland summits like Fairfield, Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Blencathra, to the lesser-known High Spy, King's How and Brund Fell.
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The National Trails

The National TrailsThis inspirational guidebook looks at each of the UK's 19 National Trails, with information that allows ease of comparison and contrast, inspiring you to find out more and to take up a long-distance challenge. Some Trails are short and easy, others much longer, many have strong themes - they may follow a coastline, or traverse ranges of hills.
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Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

Lake District Walking

The Lake District National Park is seen by many as one of the scenic gems of the British Isles. The natural beauty has attracted many artists and writers through the centuries and today the same scenery provides the perfect backdrop to a wide variety of walks. The National Park is located wholly within Cumbria with Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick the main tourist towns. For many this is the finest area in England for walking with a wide variety of scenery. Even on the busiest weekends it is possible to get away from the crowds by carefully selecting one of the less-visited fells. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

Hedgehog Hill
4.9 miles / 7.8 km away
Sally's Lake District Cottages
Lake District
5.0 miles / 8.0 km away
Helvellyn Cottage
Glenridding by Ullswater
6.4 miles / 10.3 km away
Lakeland Cottage Holidays
6.8 miles / 10.8 km away
Stybarrow Cottage
Glenridding, Ullswater
6.8 miles / 10.8 km away

Self Catering & Cottage Holidays - Properties throughout the UK & Europe

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