Blencathra via Sharp edge

Friday comes and it’s time to pack the Aygo and head off to Kel’s sisters static caravan in Morland with an intention of putting Blencathra in the slow filling Wainwright bag on Saturday.  Heading down the A66 the clouds were looking pretty grim.  The North Pennines were cloud covered which generally means our first sight of Blencathra will be even more grim and the prospect of scaling it impossible.  Detours to Keswick and Pooley Bridge were also a disappointment as they were grey and miserable on both the photo side of life and culinary options.  We had a quick sarnie in the Oddfellows and sped off back to our accommodation.  With the words ” if you think I’m going up Sharp Edge in this weather you’ve got no chance marra” jingling round in my head, I settled down to an earlish night, with a little prayer for sunshine the next day.  Kel’s sister and brother in law had by then joined us at the caravan with Bruce, the largest German Shepherd known to man.

Early start due to the donkeys in the field next door giving it six nowt on the ‘ee oorr’ front about 7am or Bruce storming around like a mad dog since death o’clock.  Anyway my sleepy eyes were greeted by the most stunning sunshine and the prospect of tackling Sharp Edge with the summit of Blencathra as a reward.  However, because the sun was shining and it was the weekend, parking at Scales was always going to be a problem… and it was… for a normal sized car, but not for the Aygo.  Parked in the smallest space ever we got our boots on.  We started heading off to towards Mousthwaite Comb but took a sharp left between Scales Fell and White Horse Bent with a cheeky beck sneaking its way between the pair.  As the beck replaces the noise of the A66 with the gentle trickle of the numerous inlets from the top of Scales Fell, we see our first sight of Sharp Edge.  It looks very, very nice.  There’s still about a km and a half before we reach the bottom of Sharp Edge and at the moment it’s blocked by Brunt Knott, which in itself is quite a decent chunk of rock and I had the urge to scramble it, apparently there is a route but no one wants to do it. 
Anyway, Kel was more interested by the little Scales Beck creeping down the between Scales Fell and the Knott, I could hear shutter speeds getting slower and slower.  We evetually reached Scales Tarn and the sun was beating down, because of this the world and his wife were having their bait, all sat looking at the sun reflecting of the gentle ripples on the water.  So, to my right was the reason I’d trekked the relativley short approach along the side of Scales Fell… Sharp Edge!!  It didn’t look too bad but there appeared to be a couple of people on all fours?!  We walked the last few meters to the base and decided to have a choccy fix and stow the camera in my day sack.  I can take Kel falling off but that bloody camera cost chuffing loads.  We set off and almost immediately a guy came storming past us and stopped at the Cairn which had been errected at the base.  He began to dissmantle the Cairn with what only I can describe as a ‘frenzzie’.  He ran up the Edge and sat at the top shouting instructions at hikers, “Don’t use that path (the wuss path up the side)”.  He then began to, in a humourous way, question the equipment people were wearing as they passed.  Kel and I were laughing at the craic but he seemed happy.  I then saw his ID card, which explained his behaviour, ‘Lake District Volunteer Warden’.  Ha, a passion of which I concur.  Anyway, I’m glad the enviromental agency were not in attendence as the air was ‘blue’ as Kel scaled her way across the edge, apparently even the notion of me asking if she was ‘ok’ produced a reaction that could only be replicated if I asked her for a ‘twosome’ with the rabbit.  But I should’ve known after Striding Edge, the phrase “will ya f**k off” is not the reply I’d have expected from someone holding their hand out for help.  So, we clumber up the edge and are closely followed by the warden who threw occassional jibes at anyone who veered off the Edge or was wearing any clothing of which he disapproved.  We leave the Edge with a few of Kel’s nails lodged in the rock and think about bait at the top. 
The summit (shown with Alfred chilling out) was quite populated and, even though I love dogs, it was like Crufts.  I normally expect Springers, terriers and the the Labs, but there was a sausage dog which looked knackered.  We pecked away at our sarnies looking over towards the back of Skiddaw then headed off towards Scales Fell with the intention of a swift right turn down Doddick Fell.  The right turn brought a lovely view of Derwentwater and Thirlmere, I’ve never experienecd such a clear day in the Lakes, every peak was clear.  We headed off down Doddick and I decided to take a look back at the top and heard a ‘thump’, I turned round to witness Kel sat on the grass saying, ” I’m here now I think I’ll stay for a bit”.  Ha, she’d slipped on her bum and couldn’t be bothered to get up!  Anyway we reached the bottom and hit the dry stone wall, which was our indicaion to turn left and head for Scales Farm, where the car was parked.  We met a couple of hikers heading in from the Blenacathra Centre towards Scales so let them past. 
After a few hundred metres we we joined a ‘queue’ at Scaley Beck.  Now for all you people thinking of completeing this route, you have to bear this little hazzard in mind  There’s a cheeky little slab of very slippery rock to negotiate before the crossing of the beck (left).  It is very wet and even though not very high, it could give you a few bruises if you slip off it.  I got myself down and waited at the bottom for miss potty mouth to slivver her way down.  We  eventually reached the bottom and spent another couple of minutes trying to catch the water fall in its essence.  We got to the car and headed off to the Royal Oak in Braithwaite for a well deserved pint and pork scratching, which Kel felt the need to burp back at me.  Cracking day with cracking weather, I want to to do Sharp Edge in the snow, any offers?! 

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