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Blencathra [Saddleback], Lake District

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#9 of 18 in Trails in Lake District
Hiking Trail Nature / Park
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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57 reviews
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  • After tackling sharp edge (almost a year ago) this time we were back for Halls Fell Ridge. Often seen as less exciting than its more publicised brother Sharp Edge, nevertheless this is still a ridge w...  more »
  • Its been on our list for a while, but finally got to stay near (Threkeld - great cottage, 2 nice pubs, wlak from the door - what's not to like?) and had the weather. We took a roundabout way up from t...  more »
  • Climbed this one with my girlfriend last Saturday on one of the hottest days of the year. Took an anti-clockwise circular route from Threlkeld over the three tops, and down close to Scales. The views ...  more »

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