Northern Fells

Elevation: 868 m (2,848 ft)

Coordinates: 54°38′23″N 3°03′02″W

Blencathra is more of a small range than a single fell, a series of tops standing out on a curving ridge 3 miles (5 kilometres) long. It has smooth, easy slopes to the north and west, whilst displaying a complex system of rocky spurs and scree slopes to the south and east.

When viewed from the southeast, particularly on the main Keswick to Penrith road, Blencathra appears almost symmetrical. To left and right, the ends of the fell rise from the surrounding lowlands in smooth and sweeping curves, clad in rough grass. Each rises gracefully to a ridge-top summit, Blease Fell on the west and Scales Fell to the east. Between these ‘book-ends’ are a further three tops, Gategill Fell, Hallsfell and Doddick Fell, giving a scalloped profile to the ridge.

From each of the three central tops, a spur runs out at right angles to the main ridge, beginning as a narrow, rocky arête and then widening into a broad buttress which falls 2,000 ft (610 m) to the base of the fell. Separating the five tops are four streams which run down the south-east face between the spurs. From the west these are Blease Gill, Gate Gill, Doddick Gill and Scaley Beck.

In addition to the spurs on the southeast face, Hallsfell also throws out a high ridge to the north. This is the saddle that gives Blencathra its alternative name, rising beyond the dip to the sixth top, Atkinson Pike. This is the focal point for connecting ridges to Bannerdale Crags and Mungrisdale Common to the north. The ‘saddle’ is bounded by crags to the east, Tarn Crag and Foule Crag being the principal faces.