Blencathra via Hall’s Fell

Tuesday 23 June 2015. Sunday was showery and yesterday was a transfer day between caravan sites so it was good to get out walking again today. It was a beautiful morning and I took a couple of pictures from the caravan site across to Cat Bells before setting off.

I caught the 10:20 bus from Keswick to Thelkeld, the starting point for today’s walk. I’ve been up Blenacthra via a variety of routes but never across Hall’s Fell. Wainwright described this route as “positively the finest way to any mountain top in the district”. My route directions warned that people have fallen to their deaths from this Grade 1 scramble and “to take care”. It was therefore with some trepidation that I set off on the 2,300ft climb up Hall’s Fell to the summit of Blencathra at 2,850ft. The initial stages were steep but not too difficult and I stopped a couple of times for a rest and to catch my breath. The last 600ft or so was out and out climbing and bore little resemblance to hill walking. A guy who was following close behind me remarked “that he wouldn’t have come this way had he known how difficult it would be”. I have to agree with him and doubt that I’ll be doing this climb again. It was difficult enough going up but I passed half a dozen crazy walkers/climbers come down. This site has some good pictures of today’s route.

Topping out on to Blencathra came as a welcome relief but I was greeted by a blizzard of midges which didn’t clear until I was well down the descent route across Blease Fell. It was here that I made a brief stop for lunch with magnificent views of the fells to the other side of Keswick. It had taken me 2hrs 30mins to climb Blencathra and another 2hrs to descend to the Blencathra Centre. At this point i had only walked a total of 4.5 miles but I was knackered and the energy reserves were close to empty. I still had to walk another 4 miles back to Keswick and the caravan site and chose the easiest possible route by following the disused railway line back into town.

I think that I may have set myself a too demanding task with today’s 8.6 mile walk which had a total ascent of 2,770ft and a total descent of 3,040ft. I think that I’ll look for something considerably easier tomorrow.

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