Wild Camp: Blencathra – Halls Fell

On 11th May, 2019, I took the (then) Virgin Trains service from London to Penrith, and then the X5 bus to Threlkeld to start the walk and grade 1 scramble up Halls Fell Ridge. This is a longer but less exposed scramble than Sharp Edge (not that I’ve done Sharp Edge, but as a not particularly experienced scrambler and having a full overnight pack I was not keen to take it on). The bus takes you to the Horse and Farrier pub in Threlkeld, from which the path runs up through a wooded area onto the open fells.

The walk starts off gently, initially on a grassy path up until some height is gained. Then you quite promptly arrive at the ridge itslf. I am told it’s best to stick to the crest of the ridge. I did at one point deviate from it and found myself on quite steep, scree-covered ground so I can recommend this, although there are bypass paths that are safe to use for quite a lot of the walk. There is also one quite awkward step down, and I have to say it’s not really advisable to do any scramble with an overnight pack. The weight doesn’t really help much with agility!

The rock formations you can see above you look quite intimidating, and at times there is some exposure, although it isn’t really all that bad and I think you’d have to try quite hard to fall off. The views become ever more expansive, but weirdly you can hear the roar of the A5 pretty much the whole time, which does spoil the experience a bit. Eventually, and a bit bizarrely, you emerge right on the summit. The summit ring had apparently recently been stolen (who does that!?!?!) and a brand new one was nestled in it’s place. The weather was good and the views were amazing. If you are on a day walk, quite a few people seem to do Sharp edge on the way up, and Hall’s Fell on the way down. I imagine this would be a good day out, but that wasn’t my plan today.

After enjoying the views I headed across Bannerdale Crags and on to Bowscale Fell, where I set up my Mountain Laurel Designs Cricket tarp and my bivi bag. I enjoyed a nice meal, a few tots of whisky and the incredible sunset you see in this site’s banner. It was initially quite windy, but the bivi bag dealt with that and soon it settled down. In the morning I woke to find I’d been joined by two other bivviers, who were nestled up on the summit cairn in their sleeping bags. It was a cold start, with frost on the tarp. I had coffee and a breakfast bar before packing up early and getting down to the road to catch the bus back to Penrith and then the train home. I do think the train and bus combination makes the Lake District an option as an overnight. Having done it by car, it really is too much. I thoroughly recommend looking at public transport if you plan to do something like this. I was back in London by the afternoon enjoying a roast dinner. A perfect weekend overnighter!

I used the excellent Harvey Maps British mountain map of the Lake District for this trip.

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