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Sharp Edge - 13th October 2011

3 hours 45 minutes

We parked one car at Threlkeld at the public carpark near the Blencathra Centre ready for our descent from the fell, and then drove up the main road to Scales where we managed to park in a small car park at the end of the road. From here we started the long and fairly steep hike to Scales Tarn. Although it was quite a warm day, Sharp Edge was engulfed in mist as we approached Scales Tarn. We had a break and a sandwich next to the tarn, and then Jim (Fletcher) and I set of for Sharp Edge whilst Jim, Lesley, Jill and Tony headed off up the path to the side of left hand side of the tarn.

After a short climb to the ridge, we contoured behind it for a while before climbing and scambling up to the ridge itself. The route is a bit exposed and you wouldn't want to fall, and eventually come to a flat, very smooth tongue of rock which leads slightly upwards. At the end of this a large rock blocks the path, and you have to skirt around it with your feet, while your body passes over the top. After this there is a pronounced step downwards which is quite exposed. The best way of traversing this is by sitting on the last rock and lowering your feet down, one either side of the ridge. There is a short section of shuffling along with one foot either side of the ridge, and then you move off to the right and start climbing again. Whilst you have to be careful on the next section and pick your way carefully, it is not so exposed and you soon reach a path which leads to the top. The last part of the walk is similar to the last stages of Striding Edge leading to Helvelyn.

By the time we reached the top and linked up with the other group the mist had come in completely; you could only see 20 foot ahead of you and could see nothing of the views over the valley. We dropped down to the Blencathra car park and then headed to the Horse & Farrier pub in Threlkeld for libations!

Sharp Edge is not for the faint-hearted; the Keswick Mountain Rescue centre reports that since 1947 there have been 69 incidents and 10 fatalities.

Start of the walk to Blencathra

Approaching Scales Tarn

Scales Tarn

Looking back to Scales Tarn on the climb to Sharp Edge

On the Edge. Jim sitting on the rock at the end of the smooth rock tongue.

Tricky bit! Slippy as well!

Looking back down the Edge. The smooth rock tongue can be seen mid picture.

Jim

The rock was quite slippy and you have to ensure you have a good footing.

A rather apprehensive looking Mick!

Happier now!

Nearly there!

Have we got to go up there?

View improved as we descended.

Jim, Jill and Lesley with Derwent in the background