Blencathra via Hall's Fell Ridge

30th August 2020

The last time I walked with Father Shaun Church was back in October last year and to put it bluntly, a lot has changed since then so understandably we had a lot of catching up to do. Shaun is in Lakeland for the week and is staying in Carlise where he has just bought a flat which will become his base for his regular trips north from his Parish on the outskirts of London. A couple of weeks ago Shaun emailed me to let me know he was up for the week and did I fancy a walk, we penciled in Saturday 30th August which I had to change at the last minute due to work commitments and carried the walk over to Sunday which as it turned out was the nicest day forecast wise.

We came up with this walk, a walk which we first did back in May 2012 after first meeting during the ascent of Scafell Pike a few months previously, back then the weather was against us ascending in low cloud and almost zero visibility meaning we completely missed out on the fabulous views back down the ridge. Today we didn't have that problem, with a forecast set for a bright sunny morning we arranged to meet at 8am in Threlkeld from where we would pick up the base of Hall's Fell Ridge after passing through Gategill Farm. I reckon we could have shaved an hour of todays walk time had we not of stopped so much to chat so much.

Wainwright Guide Book Five
The Northern Fells

Hall's Fell Top

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


Ascent: 2,518 Feet - 768 Metres
Wainwrights: 2, Blencathra - Mungrisdale Common
Weather: A Bright Start Feeling Brisk Over The Summits. Turning Overcast PM Highs of 16°C Lows of 6°C
Parking: Threlkeld Village
Area: Northern
Miles: 7.5
Walking With: Father Shaun Church
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 5 Hours
Route: Threlkeld - Gategill Farm - Hall's Fell Ridge - Hall's Fell Top (Blencathra) - Atkinson Pike - Mungrisdale Common - Cloven Stone - Blencathra Centre - High Row Farm - Threlkeld

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: CA12 4RY
Grid Reference: NY 321 825
Notes: There is room to park in the lovely village of Threlkeld but it's advisable to remember that Threlkeld is quite a small village and parking is premium even for its residents so care must be taken when parking. The ideal place to park is next to the the church where you will find room for up to half a dozen cars, My advise is to arrive early to secure a place to leave your car due to how the alternative routes you can ascend Blencathra by the most popular being The Halls Ridge where most would start from Threlkeld.


Map and Photo Gallery


St Marys Chruch, Threlkeld 7.50am 6°C

No matter how many times I have viewed Blencathra from the A66 I'm still left with butterflies in the pit of my stomach and this morning taster was no different. By the time I drove past Scales I could already pick out walkers heading up Scales Fell and Mousthwaite Combe and it was no surprise to find the lay by full at Scales as I drove past.

Threlkeld wasn't as busy, in fact it still retained that 'sleepy' feel and we managed to park alongside the Church wall with no issues. It's been a while since I last saw Shaun and during kit up Shaun brought me up to date with his recent wanderings when only yesterday he walked High Cup Nick in the Pennines but reported it was chilly day made worse by the blustery conditions, this morning, despite a slight nip it felt tropical compared. We were soon on our way making our way out of the village towards Gategill Farm.

Clear views over Threlkeld towards High Rigg, Low Rigg, Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and High Seat.
Seen as we approached Gategill Farm.

Passing Through Gategill Farm.
Aside the washing on the line and the modern trailer nothing much has changed over the years at Gategill Farm leaving you with that oldie worldie feel as you pass through.

Hall's Fell Top (Blencathra summit) from Gate Gill.
Once we passed through the Farm we followed the narrow track where we are passed by three fell runners and their dogs, we held the gate for them and got a thank you in return.

Threlkeld Knotts, Clough Head and White Pike.
After crossing Gate Gill we immediately picked up the steep path at the base of the ridge where we stopped to admire the views.

View open out over Doddick Gill towards Doddick Fell Top.
The heather is out and it smells lovely and rich at this time of year.

Hall's Fell Top from Hall's Fell Ridge.
Gaining the base of the ridge is always hard work but the rewards are plentiful as the spine of the ridge starts to take form. From here. even at this early hour we can see that the summit is starting to get busy and with a trio of walkers behind us, the ridge is too.

Peering West over Gate Gill and Middle Tongue towards Gategill Fell.

Hall's Fell Ridge.
We continued our ascent in what can only be described as perfect conditions. It was also here we decided that given the dry rock underfoot we would climb the spine of the ridge rather than ascend via the path seen over on the right.

Blencathra summit crags.
And Doddick Fell Top.

Looking down on Doddick Gill and the Doddick Ridge.
With Scales Fell seen in the distance.

The view back down Hall's Fell Ridge.
Sticking with the spine of the ridge we included the climb over the rock turret seen in the foreground.

Extended views over Threlkeld Knotts and Clough Head
The higher we climbed the wider the view, here Great Dodd, Randerside, Stybarrow Dodd, Raise, White Side, Lower Man, Browncove Crag and Helvellyn can now be seen.

Looking back on Hall's Fell Ridge.

Action man.
The dry rock continues which is a pleasure to ascend by as Shaun is demonstrates.

The curve in the ridge.

We didn't only have walkers behind us we now had them descending the ridge too and we stop to chat with the walkers some of whom had ascended via Sharp Edge

"dry" I asked? "bone dry, lovely" they replied.

Looking back down the ridge.
I didn't realise I'd caught Shaun's foot in the shot.

Doddick Fell Top, the Doddick Ridge and Scale Fell.
The Doddick Ridge is a great alternative to the Hall's Fell ridge only less airy.

Doddick Fell top, Scales Fell, White Horse Bent (Bannerdale Crags) and Souther Fell.
Almost at the summit now where we stop to chat with more descendants

The North, and North Western fells seen beyond Derwent Water from Blencathra summit.
Where it was noted that the cloud was starting to build.

Lesser Man, Little Man, Skiddaw, Bakestall, Little and Great Calva from Blencathra.
We topped out at the summit under the watchful gaze of about half a dozen walkers followed by the trio of walkers who had been tailing us for much of the ascent. I'd usually skoot out it being so busy but we hung around a while as one walker commented after taking a look at my camera fixed to my pack strap "great day for photos" he was right, the clarity was perfect and, it was generally quite warm although there was a nip to the summit breeze which was just enough to take the edge of things. We left the summit as more walkers were approaching and crossed the saddle where I stopped to take this photo of Skiddaw from the Harold Robinson cross.

Mungrisdale Common, Great Calva, Bakestall and Knott taken during the descent of Atkinson Pike.
It's been a while since we've both visited Mungrisdale Common so we decided to include it in todays walk.

The North Western and Western Fells from Mungrisdale Common.
We linked up with the path bound for Mungrisdale Common and was wondering how boggy it would be soon getting our question answered finding the ground underfoot very boggy indeed but the bogs didn't put us off and neither did they put off the walkers behind, and ahead of us. blimey, considering Mungrisdale Common isn't that 'common' it certainly was today.

Looking back on Atkinson Pike while en-route to Mungrisdale Common.
The group behind us were walking at a good pace and would catch us up by the time we reached the summit cairn.

Lonscale Fell, Sale How, Lesser Man, Little Man and Skiddaw from Mungrisdale Common.
After bog hopping much of the way we soon arrived at the summit cairn closely followed by the group behind us who took the foot path west "something tells me they're heading for Skiddaw" I said to Shaun, whatever their route they certainly weren't hanging around.

Lonscale fell, Lonscale Pike, Lesser Man and Little Man from Mungrisdale Common.
By now the cloud was starting to build over keswick and Blencathra but the sun shone over Skiddaw throughout. As the cloud got thicker it would sometimes obscure the sunlight bringing a sudden drop in temperature with it, it's getting to that time of year when the next seasonal change, or Autumn feels just around the corner.

Skiddaw House, Lesser Man, Little Man, Skiddaw and Bakestall.

We passed the Cloven Stone prior to midday and had the sun have been shining I'm sure we would have stopped for lunch but it had turned a wee bit cloudy and to be honest, it was too cold to stop, even the photo I'd taken of the Cloven Stone sadly didn't make it into the report due to the poor light. We left the Cloven Stone and began our descent towards The Stake and sure enough the walkers who had passed us were up ahead Skiddaw House bound.

Shaun and I agreed that we needed to leave our path and take an 'off the path route' in the general direction of Sinen Gill.

Great Calva.
The sun was back and with it came a rise in temperature which was good because our 'off the path route' was very wet and boggy underfoot.

Lonscale Fell and Lonscale Pike.
Just keep squelching towards the sheep Shaun!

Great Calva.

Our 'off the path route' seemed to take a while to cross and if I'm honest I'm not too sure if Shaun agreed with how geographically direct I can be at times but I tried to cheer him up by keeping up the natter even if we were ankle deep in bogwater. We linked back up with the footpath at the footbridge over Glenderattera Beck which was busy with walkers coming and going. We had a great view of Lonscale Pike which we studied and talked about the direct route up towards the Pike while Shaun eyed up the alterative route from Skiddaw House/The Cumbrian Way.

Sinen Gill was reached and we gazed up while impressed at the waterfall which was in full flow which just went to show how much water the land was holding. From Sinen Gill we contained to follow the footpath on the flanks of Blease Fell until the path bends left towards the Blencathra Centre.

Latrigg seen over Brundholme Wood.

Looking into St John's-in-the-Vale from High Row Farm.

The car park by the Blencathra Centre was soon reached which was at full to bursting point but still, the cars kept coming. I'm somewhat infuriated inside but keep it hidden. One of the main reasons why I'm so fond of this walk is it has three highlights, first being the fantastic scrambling ascent of Hall's Fell Ridge followed by the lovely walk over grass (and bog) to Mungrisdale Common then the final highlight of the day, the walk back to Threlkeld which never disappoints.

The car park just outside Threlkeld was full but it had a less 'busy feel' to it with less hustle as folk sat outside their cars eating lunch under the afternoon sunshine. We continued our walk through Threlkeld where Shaun remarked how sleepy the village still felt which he was right about, Threlkeld remains one of Lakelands hidden gems and long may it stay that way.


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