Saturday, April 22, 2006

View from Blencathra


Good Friday seemed like a fine day for a spot of fellwalking, so we set off on the 35 minute drive to the foot of Blencathra in the Lake District. Blencathra is about 3.5 miles long with rounded slopes on its east and west sides: Scales Fell and Blease Fell, respectively. The mountain has a rounded body, but on the south face four combes cut deep into the mountainside. Gills flow through each combe, separated by three jagged spurs: Doddick Fell, Hall's Fell and Gategill Fell. We followed the footpath up Scales Fell, taking a detour to look down upon Scales Tarn which lies deep in a corrie to the north of Scales Fell.
There were still patches of early spring snow and we stopped here and there for a bit of snowballing. Although the legs were feeling the burn, we pushed on to Hallsfell Top which marks the summit of Blencathra at 2847 ft, the 18th highest peak in the Lake District.

Blencathra also has two other peaks in the 'Lakeland top 100': Gategill Fell Top, 2791 ft (27th) and Atkinson Pike, 2772 ft (28th). The view from the summit made the effort worthwhile as we were able to look down on landmarks such as Threlkeld quarry, Keswick golf course, Thirlmere and Derwent Water. In places the remaining snow was nearly knee-deep (which made for great fun!).

The Easter weekend would see a new set of Open University students arriving to attend an Ecology residential school at the Field Studies Council's Blencathra centre on the flank of Blease Fell... it would seem like they were to have a week of fine weather as they would learn about the practicalities of fieldwork. As the sun started to cast long shadows we set off for home, in the knowledge that we had bagged another of the Lakeland peaks. Next up... Skiddaw, the 7th highest peak at 3054 ft?

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