Climbing Blencathra

As we were getting ready for our trip to the Lake District I discovered that one of our friends from our morning dog walks on the beach is originally from that area, so I asked him for a recommendation for a good hike. He suggested Blencathra, which he grew up at the foot of and had climbed many times. Since this mountain is in the corner of the Lake District that we were going to be closest to, we decided to climb it. We set out at midday on New Year’s Day.

Public footpaths are well marked. At least at the start.

I had carefully checked out the trails beforehand and had brought an ordnance survey of the area with us. There are several steeper ascents but we decided to take a trail up Blease Fell that winds around the spine of the mountain. There were lots of people out enjoying the day.

Trail along the hill

We walked. And we walked. Two miles seemed to be taking a long time. We consulted the map. We scratched our heads. We walked some more. Finally we consulted with some other walkers. It turns out that instead of winding up our target mountain we had wandered along the side and between two mountains. The other walkers, clearly locals who had walked this area many times, said something like, “Oh, well now, you should just go over this way and through a stile and past so-and-so’s-farm and there’s a really good view from there and it’s only four more miles!”

Still more trail

Sun starting to drop and kids getting weary, we opted to just retrace our steps. So, we did not get to the top of Blencathra on this trip and I have to confess that I was frustrated and mad at myself for not reading the map better (it must have been because I got the computing badge in girl scouts instead of the orienteering one).

Westward view from…behind Blencathra

However, the views were still very pretty even though we didn’t get to the top, and there was beautiful golden afternoon light. It seemed like a good life lesson for the first day of the new year: be flexible and enjoy the view wherever you are.


Another view
Boy and dog enjoy the view
Happy New Year!

To actually see what the top of Blencathra looks like you can watch this video.

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