By: Blonde One
Copyright Ordnance Survey
My first attempt at a Lake District mountain was the mighty Blencathra in the North of the area. It stands at 868 meters high so is fairly significant; Scafell Pike is only another 10 meters higher. It was forecast to be a dry morning in amongst some very wet days so it was a case of ‘now or never’! The day started well (if you ignore the very steep, lung-busting incline) with the weather being cold but dry. The surrounding undulating hills looked like velvet and were crying out to be explored. I could easily have taken many detours to explore them. As we reached the snow line the wind let us know that it was there! It was very gusty, as predicted, and made walking quite arduous. To accompany the wind we were treated to some rain/sleet/snow to make sure we were properly challenged and the clouds stole the view of the summit. You might say it was a typical UK mountain day!
The route down took us to Scales Tarn (a tarn is a mountain lake) which was a little haven from the wind. It was so peaceful I could have stayed for ever (well, until the sandwiches ran out). Accessing this mountain via Scales Fell, as we did, makes it a fairly quick mountain to climb but I would recommend taking your time to enjoy the stunning views and the tarn on the way back down.
Blencathra is also known as Saddleback but it is said that Alfred Wainwright preferred to use Blencathra so that is what stuck. Wainwright died in 1991 after years of walking in the Lake District and writing about his adventures. The 214 peaks he visited are now known as Wainwright’s and it’s common to try to collect all of them. The man himself sums them up perfectly:
‘The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is yet time will be blessed both in mind and body.’ A Wainwright, The Western Fells 1966