Sharp Edge at 70

A while ago, Dad had mentioned Sharp Edge on Blencathra as a hill and route he’d like to do one day.  Given Little Dog was on holiday herself and the weather was looking promising, we talked about it last night at dinner and agreed that that’s where we would head today.  If I started feeling dodgy, it was easy for me to turn back and Dad and Rich carry on.  Thankfully, someone was on my side and I woke up feeling half decent and had a good breakfast.

The mist was due to lift during the day so we didn’t start out early and enjoyed a steady drive up Ullswater.  We weren’t expecting the parking spaces to be full mid-week in September but unfortunately they were.  Another good omen, however, was Rich spotting a chap at his car.  He had started off early but didn’t fancy an ascent in the clouds so had varied his walk and finished his day.  It was his 70th in a couple of months so he and dad shook hands, enjoyed a bit of a chat and we tucked into his car parking space, thankfully.

We headed up around the back of Blencathra and watched hopefully as the clouds ever so slowly began creeping back up the hillside.  The first tiny patches of sunlight hit the sides of the slopes opposite and we were all willing the ridge to clear.  We would have headed up there anyway but it would be just fantastic if we had great views as well.

And we were in luck!

After a steady walk, and as we began the last steeper path before Sharp Edge began, the mist was rolling over the top of Blencathra and it looked like we were going to see something.  

The last spanner in the works was a sign from a film crew asking people to find a different route as they were filming today between 10 and 3pm.  Unfortunately for them, we couldn’t possibly agree with that one on such a special day so we headed up to join the start of the crest, ready with our apologies.  

The wind had picked up to quite a gust and we donned an extra layer before starting out.  Rich picked the route across the top of the crest followed by dad and me.

We all agreed that the adventure and emotions we had were beyond putting into quite the right words but we also knew we shared exactly the same feelings of being together in an adventure somewhere exceptionally beautiful on such a special day.  

Sharp Edge isn’t that long but we purposefully paused to absorb the moments and savour the time as much as we could.  The sunshine was increasing and the landscape was magnificently moody.  It’s a number of years since Rich and I had been up there and it brought back some great memories for us too of a snowy ascent and another with some friends from our old climbing club in a cloud inversion.

The wind was coming in the right direction for it not to cause us too much buffeting but we were glad of our extra layers and no dog.  The film crew were about but not active so that all worked out well too.  

Once at the top, we walked along the ridge and visited both of the highest points, not being bothered to get the map out but definitely wanting to make sure we hit the top.  In the end, we only needed to visit the first one but it was lovely to be able to stay high for that little bit longer and soak up the views before meandering down still trying to make the day slow down just a little.  

The extra is at the top - rare footage of me in front of the lens with Dad.  Because it was an exceptionally fine day.

I honestly would have been completely gutted if I’d missed today. I think all three of us will have a little buzz whenever we think back to this day.

In the evening, we shared a fabulous meal with everyone and, feeling back on form, we stayed up late but not too late as the easy chatting continued after dinner.

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