Blencathra via Halls Fell Ridge
Hall’s Fell Ridge – a superb airy approach to Blencathra and a worthy alternative to Sharp Edge. Certainly a contender for the best half-day route in the Lake District.
|2.8 km||686 m||1.5 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Threlkeld - Blencathra
There are plenty of pubs in Threlkeld; the Horse & Farrier being a particular favourite.
Hall’s Fell Ridge has some short, exposed sections that should only be attempted if you’re confident in your abilities and have a head for heights. However, these sections can be safely avoided.
The upper crest of Hall’s Fell is classed as Grade 1 scrambling and, like Sharp Edge, the slate rock can be particularly slippery when wet.
Under snow and ice the ridge is a sustained Winter Grade 1 climb requiring ice axe, crampons and plenty of winter walking experience.
Buses patrol the A66 – the X4 and X5 buses from Keswick will stop at the Horse & Farrier Inn in ThrelkeldTraveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable): CA12 4TZ - Threlkeld Cricket Club
Parking is available in Threlkeld at the Cricket Club (who operate an honesty box) or on the streets in the village.
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Blencathra via Halls Fell Ridge Route Map and GPX Download
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Blencathra via Halls Fell Ridge Details
Blencathra is one of the great Lake District fells. For those approaching Keswick from the east, it is the mountain which really draws the eye. It’s an awe inspiring sight. It may be best known for Sharp Edge, the razor-thin ridge which inspires excitement and dread in equal parts. Not up to the challenge of Sharp Edge? How about considering it’s neighbour – Hall’s Fell instead.
Hall’s Fell Ridge is perhaps lesser known than the famous Sharp Edge or Striding Edge on Helvellyn, however, it is a superb outing and an idyllic route to one of the Lake District’s most famous peaks.
Don’t take my word for it though, Wainwright described Hall’s Fell Ridge as: “positively the finest way to any mountain top in the district” – high praise indeed. Don’t be put off by its appearance, its bark is definitely worse than its bite – it is the perfect introduction to airy scrambling.
Blencathra via Halls Fell Ridge Route Description
1 – Make your way into the village and head northeast along the lane called Fell Side towards Gategill Farm. After passing a small business park on the right, leave the lane by bearing left up a stony track which leads to Gategill Farm itself. Pass through the farmyard via a gate and head up alongside Gate Gill – the stream which which gives its name to the farm. The path crosses the steam atop a stony dam before passing through another gate onto the open fellside.
2 – Here, there is a path to follow which is incredibly steep and has a number of false summits. It’s the only real downside of this walk. Follow the path as it swiftly climbs 300m up the fellside. Don’t worry though, the effort is worth it and the ever-expanding view will spur you on.
3 – After rounding a heathery shoulder, Hall’s Fell Ridge will begin to present itself – a wonderful rocky curve stretching towards the summit. The path may naturally lead you below the main crest of the ridge, around the right hand side but, as with most ridge walks, the best of any scrambling can be found on the ridge crest itself.
4 – Around half way, the ridge takes a slight bend to the left and the crest narrows. This is known as Narrow Edge for obvious reasons. This section is home to the full Grade 1 scrambling – if you search it out – as you will cross a series of crags and outcrops before reaching a large fault which cuts across the ridge. Crossing the fault requires some careful footwork above a considerable drop. Competent scramblers will tackle this head on, though a bypass path veers off to the left hand side. It is advisable to return to the crest of the ridge as soon as possible as the ground to left of the crest becomes increasingly difficult with loose scree underfoot.
5 – After the narrowest part of Hall’s Fell Ridge, the climbing becomes easier once again and you will eventually emerge atop Blencathra.The bonus of Hall’s Fell Ridge is that it terminates right at the summit which is marked by an underwhelming concrete ring rather than a traditional trig pillar or cairn. This, however, does not detract from the incredible panorama of the northern Lake District.
6 – There are a number of ways to continue. The walk along the crest Blencathra is superb and straightforward and creates an ideal circuit. The more adventurous could descend to Scales Tarn and climb Sharp Edge, linking two of the best Lake District ridges into one memorable outing.