Blencathra [Saddleback], Lake District

4.8
#11 of 19 in Trails in Lake District
Blencathra, also known as Saddleback, is one of the most northerly hills in the English Lake District. It has six separate fell tops, of which the highest is the Hallsfell Top at 2,848 feet (868 metres).NameFor many years, Ordnance Survey listed Blencathra under the alternative name of Saddleback, which was coined in reference to the shape of the mountain when seen from the east. The guidebook author Alfred Wainwright popularised the use of the older Cumbric name, which is now used almost exclusively. Ordnance Survey currently marks the summit as "Saddleback or Blencathra".It is likely that the name Blencathra is derived from the Cumbric elements *blain 'top, summit' and cadeir 'seat, chair', meaning "the summit of the seat-like mountain". Andrew Breeze has proposed an alternative interpretation of the second element of the name, arguing that it represents a Cumbric cognate of Middle Welsh carthwr 'working horse'. Richard Coates has suggested that the second element may be the Middle Irish personal name Carthach, but writes that "the implications of that with a Brittonic generic need exploring".TopographyThe Northern Fells make up a roughly circular upland area about 10mi wide. At the centre is the marshy depression of Skiddaw Forest — a treeless plateau at an altitude of 1,300 ft (396 m.) — and flowing outward from here are the rivers which divide the area into three sectors. The south-eastern sector, between the Glenderaterra Beck and the River Caldew, contains Blencathra and its satellites.
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Blencathra [Saddleback] Reviews
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  • August 6, 2017
    We took the route up from the car park near the Blencathra Centre. Although it is early August we experienced cold hard pulverising rain; light misty rain, penetrating strong winds; so typical Lakes D...  more »
  • August 3, 2017
    I started my climb from the small car park just above the Blencathra Centre. On the positive side, the position of this car park is about one third of the way up the mountain so the climb itself wasn'...  more »
  • July 28, 2017
    We intended to a fairly easy route up Blease Fell, but forgot to turn left at the crucial moment and ended up grappling with an ascent straight up via Gategill Fell and Knott Halloo. It was tough, to ...  more »

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