Weather: Cold, Bright & Sunny; Light Northerly Wind
Where: Blencathra, North Lakes
If Blencathra was 153' higher (taking it over the 3,000' mark) I think it would win a poll of the most popular mountain in the Lake District. Even without the 3'000 "footer" accolade it must rate close to the top of the list for many folk. I've been on Blencathra just twice during this excellent winter and both days have been under bright blue skies with snow & ice underfoot.
I got up early yesterday morning & did a few jobs but looking at the weather outside - just had to get out!
Leaving the house just after 11:00 saw me at the car park in Threlkeld & walking before noon. For some reason (?) I thought an off-piste ascent via Doddick Gill might be a good idea.
Doddick Gill itself is a gem & offers real solitude, however, there isn't really a good route from the gill on to the ridge of Doddick Fell and my ascending traverse was little more than a "bush-whack" through heather briefly interrupted by the odd scree run. The environment, though, was very pleasant (photo below).
The ridge of Doddick Fell was a fine approach, which I don't recall having done before, although it does lack some of the added interest offered by Hall's Fell Ridge & Sharp Edge. Towards the top some nicely angled snow banks presented the opportunity to to give a first outing to a new set of Grivel Air Tech Crampons - I keep thinking its the last day of winter in the Lakes but it keeps going on!
The summit ridge was spectacular and only one person on it. In one of those small world coincidences the solitary walker & myself shared a mutual friend, Richard, if you are reading this it was good to meet you!
The air clarity was good offering big views in all directions. Above is the view in a broadly easterly direction towards the Pennines. Beneath is across the Northern fells to the distant Solway Firth.
I crossed the summit ridge heading west and before the camera batteries died caught one or two nice glimpses looking back at the ground just crossed.
My descent was around the broad mass of Blease Fell; contouring toward Blease Gill & back to Threlkeld.
There are more images from the afternoon on Flickr
Approx Stats: 5 miles & 2,500' ascent