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An ascent of Blencathra (or Saddleback) from Threlkeld - this is, (by my standards at least) quite a strenuous walk !

Distance - 8.99 km / 5.59 miles, 798m metres/2600 ft ascent

Terrain - steep rocky paths, peaty paths on summit, muddy paths at base

Refreshments - there are two pubs in Threlkeld, the Salutation and the Horse & Farrier - both offer food

Parking - there is a small free car park at NY 318 259

Map OL5 Lakes North East - click here to buy it from Amazon


Drive through the village, taking Blease Lane up to the car park. From the car park, take the footpath which runs up the side of Blease Gill, crossing the gill at the wooden footbridge. Once through the gate and on to open land, Gategill fell is immediately in front of you . Follow the path which ascends in a series of small zigzags, up the side of the Fell, and you will arrive at the rocky prominence of Knott Halloo - be ready for a steep plod

After Knott Halloo, the path takes on more of the aspect of a ridge walk. As the path fades in places, unless you are certain you are on the path, make sure you stay on the top of the ridge. Once you reach the crest of Blencathra, head right along the now pleasantly level path to the summit, which is marked by an OS trig point (not shown on current maps) in the form of a low concrete circle. The summit is no place to hang around in a breeze, but soft and level enough to sit and have lunch if conditions permit

From the summit, carry on along the path ignoring the track off to the left which heads of to Sharp Edge. You'll know you are on the right track as it has starts to descend amidst plenty of obvious zigzags, which don't appear on the map

Where the path forks at 329 277, take the left hand fork for Scales Fell rather than the path to the right down Doddick Fell. The top of Scales Fell itself is fairly flat, but once over the shoulder starts to zig zag again, before curving round to the right round the back of the pub at Scales

From here the path heads back to Threlkeld along the foot of Blencathra, crossing Scaley, Doddick, and Gate gills in turn. The path on the far side of Scaley Gill involves an interesting little scramble -a few hundred yards after this, the path forks, with the downhill fork partially fenced off. Please take the uphill path - the National Park Warden we met on the day explained there is a right of way dispute with the farmer

Having crossed the three gills, you will return to Blease Gill, where the gate on the left just before the gill will return you to the car park

Download this route as a pdf file here

walks in the north west of england