Blencathra via Sharp Edge Hiking Route and Review

Sharp Edge, Blencathra
The weather was sublime and my deadlines were in the bag! So of course it called for an early start, a drive to the Lake District and hike up Blencathra via Sharp Edge. Here's the route and how the hike went.

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Oh how I love a sunny hike with a little bit of a ridge. And after a few months of taking on ridges like the CMD Arête, Striding Edge and Crib Goch, I’d gotten a little bit hooked.

hiker on sharp edge blencathra

So I wanted to get out, take advantage of the good weather forecast and get in another scramble in not too far from home.

Blencathra via Sharp Edge was the choice in the end with a sub 2 hour drive fro my front door. I headed out early with the plan being to summit before lunchtime and make my way home before the grey skies being promised in the afternoon arrived.  I knew this would be a shorter ridge and arguably not quite as thrilling as the likes of Crib Goch.

Nevertheless, I headed up to find out for myself. And don’t I look utterly thrilled with myself and my genius decision to sack off work for a good weather walk. I maintain, by the way, that this was an excellent decision.

Here’s the summary of the hike, covering date, conditions, distances and so forth, with all the data taken from my trusty Apple Watch! 

Hike date27th July 2022
Weather conditionsSunny and warm
Distance hikedApprox 10.2km
Walking time3.5 hours
Elevation gain total645m
TerrainDecent footpaths most of the way. Rocky ridge with a scramble at the end onto the summit
Hiked withSolo

Blencathra via Sharp Edge Route

Here’s the route I took:

I parked in a lay-by on the A66 at the village of Scales at around 6:30am. This is the start point shown on the map there.

From there it’s an easy to follow path with beautiful views as your ascend towards Scales Tarn.

 

Once you get to the tarn, you’ll see sharp edge clearly. But one the great things about this route for ridge beginners is that you have the option to reach the summit of Blencathra here via a path. To the right of the tarn is Sharp Edge. But to the left is a path. So you can decide against the ridge once you’ve seen it if you prefer.

For me, I crossed Sharp Edge and summited that way.

Sharp Edge is a short ridge and only one really small part felt particularly exposed. However, there is quite a scramble at the end of the ridge up to the summit, at the top of which you’ll meet a path you can follow to the beautiful Blencathra Summit.

Blencathra's summit

And what a summit that is. I was so fortunate with the views and weather conditions that day. The scrambling paid off with some phenomenal vistas.

Is the Sharp Edge Ridge difficult?

Sharp Edge is much easier than Striding Edge, which is the ridge it’s often compared to. It is shorter, it is less exposed and once you reach the tarn, you have the opt out option of a path.

The views are pretty stunning:

sharp edge blencathra

But while the ridge looks dramatic on photos, this is a simple ridge by comparison to others. The scrambling is simple and it’s short.

What I thought was more challenging (though still straightforward enough) was the scramble from the end of the ridge up to the path to take you to the summit, This was a steep scramble and I personally, I felt more exposed there than on Sharp Edge itself. Take a look:

scramble at the end of sharp edge blencathra

Is Sharp Edge Suitable for Beginners?

Yes. In my opinion it’s a good ridge to start with for those looking to test their nerve on ridges before tackling more complex or longer ones.

Would I do it again?

Yes. In a heartbeat. This wasn’t the adrenaline inducing ridge scramble that I got from Crib Goch or Aonach Eagach. But it’s actually just a beautiful hiking route on a good weather day. And the Blencathra summit is absolutely stunning.

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