Blencathra Via Hall’s Fell Ridge (With a Child)

Blencathra Via Halls Fell Ridge with a child
Having done Sharp Edge up to Blencathra last year, I wanted to head back and explore some other routes. My 8 year old also wanted to level up his scrambling and try a ridge. Hall's Fell Ridge is less exposed (though more sustained) than Sharp Edge, so we headed out in April 2023 to scramble our way to the summit.


I hiked Blencathra via Sharp Edge in summer 2022. And what a stunning summit it is. So I knew I would go back at some point.

a child scrambles across Hall's Fell ridge on his way to the Blencathra summitThat point was last weekend, a fairly mild, grey-ish day in April 2023. Now, since my then 7 year old son hiked Ben Nevis last year, he’s been looking to get a few more summits under his belt. Andhe’s been looking at some of the videos from my ridge walks with a little bit of envy.

I wanted to give him the chance to get some longer scrambling routes under his belt (than very short Peak District bits he’s done before) but without the exposure that some of the ridges I’ve been traversing have.

So a logical choice within a couple of hours of home was Blencathra. It has everything I wanted for a walk with my now 8 year:

  • Some scrambling (depending on route)
  • A beautiful summit
  • Not too far from home

I initially considered Sharp Edge for his ascent. That would give him a short taste of some ridge exposure and a scramble to the summit.

But I recall from hiking that ridge myself that the rock was somewhat polished. And given the wet weather in the days preceding our hike, I opted for something that is slightly less exposed.

Instead, we took the Halls Fell Ridge route from the pretty village of Threkeld up to the summit. This was a route that promised plenty of scrambling with less exposure if the write ups were to be believed. But how did it actually work out? Here’s our take.

Blencathra Via Halls Fell Ridge in Summary

Here’s the summary of the hike/scramble with data taken from my Apple Watch.

Hike date23rd April 2023
Weather conditionsMild and grey. Drizzly at times with hailstone and heavy winds on the summit. 
Distance hiked9km
Walking time4.5 hours (could definitely have been done faster without my son’s regular Haribo breaks 😂)
Elevation gain total668m
TerrainMuch of the route is a rocky path. Once you hit the ridge, it’s scrambling and very rocky path to the summit. The descent was via a path with quite a lot of loose scree/slate
Hiked withMy 8 year old son

 Blencathra Via Halls Fell Ridge Route

Here’s the route we took:

We got lucky and bagged the last space on the small car park at the foot of the mountain. The car park is in the village of Threkeld.

Just over 1km in, the path ascends steeply up the mountain. It’s a rocky path with little bits of scrambling required here and there up to the point you hit the ridge.

Once you hit the ridge, there’s a lot of scrambling required. From that point, you can expect to be scrambling frequently until you hit the summit of Blencathra (we’ll talk more about the ridge itself in a moment).

Once you hit the summit, the route essentially descends via a route parallel to the one you just came up.

Now when we hit the summit, our visibility was negligible and we experienced hail and strong winds. We crossed over the summit and began to look for the path down. It was hard to spot in low visibility but a steep immediate descent quickly led us to the scree path. While difficult terrain underfoot, this path back down to the Threkeld was very easy to follow.

How Difficult Was Halls Fell Ridge?

So compared with Sharp Edge, the exposure is significantly less. There are paths around most of the exposed sections (bar one or two little bits) making it a great starting point for beginners to scrambling.

It is a longer ridge than Sharp Edge though and even once the ridge is over, there’s quite a scramble to the summit still (for 8 year old legs in particular).

Here are a few photos:

The views were wonderful and for an adventurous child who loves to climb and scramble, this was a much more enjoyable day than a simple path up a hill.

Alfred Wainwright (after whom the Lake District’s designated Wainwright fells are named) described this route perfectly.

For active walkers and scramblers, this route is positively the finest way to any mountain top in the district

I haven’t done too many Wainwrights yet (been a tad wrapped up trying to tick off Munros) but, from those that I have done, I’d be inclined to agree.

Is this a route I’d do again?

Yes. I would.

For me, when I take on ridges, I love the adrenaline and the exposure of the likes of Aonach Eagach.

You won’t get that here. And when I’m walking with my children, I want to specifically avoid such exposure!

But for a stunning route up a fine mountain, fun scrambling, steep inclines and (subject to the weather) some phenomenal views, you’d be hard pressed to beat Halls Fell Ridge to Blencathra.


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