Blencathra and your need to know guide on the Wainwright


Wainwright Number:

Northern Lakes

OS Map:
OL map 5

Blencathra is 868m high or 2848ft tall. 

This Wainwright is located in the northern Fells of the Lake District.

You can head up to Blencathra in many different directions. The easiest is by walking up the tongue of the Fell from the easterly side. 

You will need Explored map OL5.

Blencathra is located near many different Fells in the northern Lakes. Some of these include Bannerdale Crags, Mungrisdale Common, and Souther Fell. 

At the top of Blencathra is a flat concrete round disk which is placed on the ground. So until you're at the top this isn't visible from a great distance. 

Facts about Blencathra

So here are some of the best facts that I could find about this magnificent fell of Blencathra. So maybe share them with your walking partner if you have one on your visit here. I do the same to Hazel but she never seems to be all that keen on what I have to say. Maybe you’ll get a better reaction than me haha.

- Blencathra is also known as Saddleback because of the shape of the mountain.

- It has a total of six different Fell tops and the tallest being Hallsfell Top which stands at 868m.

- The mountain has one of the most famous scrambles in the area, which is Sharp Edge.

- In 2014 the mountain was put up for sale by its private owner. But it was never sold and has remained off of sale ever since.

How high is Blencathra? (m/ft)

This Fell in the Lake District stands at 868m high. Or if you work in feet it relates to 2848ft. It is the 14th highest Wainwright in the Lakelands and has some grand views looking down from the North of the Lakes.

Check out the up to date weather forecast for Blencathra right here

Where is Blencathra located?

Blencathra is located in the Northern Fells of Cumbria and sits just east of Keswick. It is clearly visible from the A66 as you drive through the Lakes. Parking along the roadside and lay-bys is one place to start your hike from up the mountain.

So how hard is the Fell to climb and which routes can you take?

As with all of the Lakeland fells it isn’t too hard to climb. If you are of moderate physical fitness then you shouldn’t have any problems here. The most challenging part of the hike would have to be Sharp Edge if you decided to take this route up to the summit.

There are many different routes up the Fell. In Alfred Wainwright's pictorial guide to the Lake District, he wrote down more routes for Blencathra than of any other fell in the Lakes. So if you want to get to know the fell just as he did, then you’ve got a lot of walking to do.

One of the most famous and popular routes up to the top is via Sharp Edge. This is because of the scramble and sense of achievement that you get from completing the Edge itself. As long as you are careful and take your time then this shouldn’t prove as too much of a problem. But there are other routes up if you want to avoid this.

There are routes from all directions up the mountain. And these can be combined to walk other Wainwrights on the same day. This way you get to take full advantage of the views and the area while you are there.

Take a look at our walk up Blencathra and surrounding Fells right here

How long does it take to climb Blencathra?

To climb Blencathra usually takes on average a couple of hours. You can do a round route up and back down in around four hours. But this depends on where you’re starting from and how far around the fell you are planning of going.

I’d say to give yourself the four hours to be able to not rush but enjoy the whole experience and to get some good shots, and memories along the way. If the weather is misty or poor then allow yourself a longer time to accommodate this fact.

Are the paths good climbing up Blencathra?

With Blencathra or Saddleback being one of the most popular walks in the Lake District. The paths are generally good, although depending on the time of year you might come into contact with some muddy routes. On top of this Sharp Edge is certainly a route not for the faint-hearted. So if you are scared of heights and feeling exposed to the mountains then it might be a good idea to avoid.

Choose the best route and paths for your own ability is the best advice I can give.

Best parking to start your route

Again with there being so many routes up the fell parking is ample depending on which is your start-off point. Along the A66 there is lay-by parking for the fell. As well as this the village of Threlkeld is just down the road. You can park just above the Blencathra centre, and makes for a good spot to start your walk.

You can also park at Mungrisdale and start your route from the further East. This can take you up to other Fells on your way to Blencathra and can be an all-day trip on the Fells in the Lakes.

What is at the summit of Blencathra?

At the very top of Blencathra is rather a strange-looking trig point. This is because it is rather a subtle concrete ring on the ground. When you reach the summit it can feel a little deflating to not be able to see a grand trig or cairn waiting for you. But it’s a lovely bit of character for the fell and makes it well worth checking out when you’re there.

Views from Atkinson Pike
Views from Atkinson Pike (Blencathra)

What are the views from the top?

From the summit of the mountain, you can see Skiddaw looking out to the west. Then up to the north, your views will include the likes of Bowscale Fell and High Pike. To the east, there are the lovely views of Great Mell Fell, and Little Mell Fell.

But the views of the north is really what makes your eyes and soul smile. The views look down towards the Helvellyn Fells, then across to Borrowdale and beyond to the Scafell Range too. On a really clear day, you can see for miles and miles and really take some time out to enjoy the views.

Take a look at our walk up Blencathra and surrounding Fells right here

Which OS map do you need to climb Blencathra?

The ordinance survey map that you need for Saddleback or Blencathra is OL5. This will highlight all the routes which you need to climb the Fell and see where else you can go from there.

Where to stay. B&Bs, etc.

Some of the best places to stay if you’re wanting to hike Blencathra would be Keswick as a first choice. It’s not too far away and there are B&Bs as well as campsites and lodges. So there really is something to suit every need. Scales has a small B&B as well which is even closer so you might just get yourself a room for the night there too.

True Freedom Seekers
Thank you for taking the time to read our page. We hope you have enjoyed the information which we have for you. Please feel free to reach out to us about anything regarding the Lake District. Or leave a comment below. Happy Wainwright bagging.

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