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Hiking Blencathra via Sharp Edge & Halls Fell: The Lake District

Hiking Blencathra via Sharp Edge & Halls Fell: The Lake District

Blencathra via Sharp Edge is a well-known route in the Lake District, this Grade 1 scramble is a challenging ridge walk and definitely one for the adventurous souls.

After falling in love with the thrill of scrambling along a ridge when we hiked Helvellyn via Striding Edge, we knew we had to complete Blencathra via Sharp Edge next.

Blencathra does not disappoint, described by Wainwright as “one of the grandest objects in Lakeland” There is no doubt that you have caught a glimpse of this magnificent mountain standing tall and proud in all her glory.

As well as the exhilarating scramble this circular route provides panoramic views of the surrounding fells, waterfalls and farmland which will be filled with lambs if you plan your visit right!

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Hiking Blencathra via Sharp Edge & Halls Fell

Blencathra Overview

🗻 Height: 868 metres

🥾 Distance: 4.5 miles / 7.2 km

‼️ Difficulty: Hard

⏰ Estimated Time: 4.30/6 hours — this depends heavily on how long you spend taking pictures, stopping for a drink, lunch etc

🚗 Parking: Parking in a layby in Scales

🌤️ WeatherMountain Forecast

🗺️ Hard Copy MapOS Explorer Map

📲 Online MapOutdoor GPS – Then download the ‘Lake District map’, this is what we used and the map you can see in the route screenshot below

Best Time of Year to Visit

The best time of year to visit the Lake District if I’m honest is all year round!

This wonderful destination and what you will be able to hike depends completely on your hiking ability and mountain knowledge.

Although, like us, if you are not confident in the thought of summiting a fell in the ice and snow then it’s best to visit in Spring, Summer or Autumn. Ideally, if you can, make sure to avoid school holidays as the Lakes can get very busy.

🙋🏻‍♀️ My favourite time to come to the Lake District is Autumn, as beautiful as the fells are covered in lush greenery, there is something truly special about Autumn in the Lakes, the orange hues all around, roaring fires, hot chocolates, the smell of cinnamon and crisp leaves under your feet is pure magic.

When you are planning a hike up any mountain it is key to ensure you pick a good day for the weather, if possible you want clear skies and definitely low winds.

‼️ Blencathra via Sharp Edge is the narrowest walkable ridge in the Lake District, please bear this in mind when thinking about completing this route. Sharp Edge requires concentration and good footing, it is also best if you have a good head for heights! I do not recommend hiking Sharp Edge if you are a beginner with no mountain experience.

That being said in the dry conditions where there is no wind Blencathra via Sharp Edge can be an excellent adventure, just ensure you know your own abilities and take your time to work your way along this scramble.

What do you need to Hike Blencathra via Sharp Edge?

The first thing you want to do when planning any adventure or hike in the Lake District is make sure you are well prepared.

The weather in the Lakes can change rapidly and is even more temperamental when you are at the top of a mountain so you want to make sure you have everything you need in case something does take a turn for the wet and windy side.

I recommend ensuring you always have the following in your backpack:

  • Extra warm layers
  • Base Layer Jacket
  • Waterproof Jacket & Trousers
  • Plenty of Water
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Snood
  • Snacks & Lunch
  • Map

The Route

Route Map

This route ascends Blencathra via Sharp Edge then descends quite swiftly via Halls Fell, it then loops around at the foot of the mountain to link back to your starting point. Throughout this guide, I will outline all the information you need to know to get started and have a great day summiting Blencathra!

Blencathra via Sharp Edge & Halls Fell Route Map

Where to Park

As you arrive in Scales on the A66 you will see lay-bys on each side of the road, just park up in one of these and head towards Scales Farm to start your walk.

Parking for Blencathra can be a bit hit-and-miss, especially if you do not arrive early enough in high season. There is plenty of room but you may end up parking a little way away from Scales and the footpath starting point.

Blencathra via Sharp Edge

Once parked up follow the route around the edge of Scales Fell following the footpath, as you come around the corner nearing to the first-mile mark you will get your first glimpse of Sharp Edge.

I remember seeing Sharp Edge for the first time and thinking ‘Oh my gosh, what have I agreed to!’.

Sharp Edge from the ground as you are approaching looks razor thin, but I promise as you get closer and start ascending up it, it is much wider than first imagined.

Follow the public footpath (shown as the green dashed lines on Outdoor GPS maps) to the end and then follow the black dotted path past Scales Tarn and up to the start of Sharp Edge.

When working your way along Sharp Edge make sure to be slow and steady, although it is wider than you originally thought, it needs focus to make sure you have a clear path and direction.

If you are hiking Blencathra via Sharp Edge after a wet spell then make sure to be extra careful on the slippy slate taking extra care of your footing.

Once you have completed Sharp Edge you will see Blencathra’s summit appearing in front of you, head for it or stop off on the nice grassy top to take a rest. We always love to have our celebratory sandwiches when we reach the top!

Blencathra via Sharp Edge is an excellent hike as you can be from start to summit in around 2 hours, making it a really enjoyable and exciting quick hike up.

Descending Halls Fell

Once you have had your break at the top, admired the view and snapped some pictures it’s time to start heading back down.

For this route, we chose to descend Halls Fell to ensure we had a just as exciting descent.

The Blencathra summit peaks right at the top of Halls Fell so to start your route down you just need to head straight for it!

Halls Fell although challenging in parts is a lot wider than Sharp Edge, making it a much more relaxing scramble down as you do not have to consider your every move.

This fells big boulders, grass and heather-covered surface make it easy to jump or walk down, with not too much of the route requiring the assistance of your hands.

Once you have scrambled down to the bottom make sure to follow the path along the edge of the farmer’s fields, past a small waterfall and all the way back to Scales Farm where you started.

Congratulations, you have bagged yourself another Wainwright to tick off your list!

Where to Stay in the Lake District?

If you are planning to hike Blencathra via Sharp Edge the best place to stay is in the Keswick area located in the north Lakes, from here you have great access to all the amazing Northern Fells such as Skiddaw, Latrigg and Ullock Pike, as well as some great restaurants, pubs, supermarkets and local markets in Keswick centre.

Luxury: Fellpack House & Ravenstone Manor

Mid-Range: Salisbury Guest House & Rickerby Grange

Budget: YHA Keswick & Denton House Hostel

Looking for more hikes in the Lake District? Make sure to check out this post: