Day 9 …. May 16 …. Keswick To Keswick Via Blencathra

I decided to take the late breakfast at 9 am so as to sleep in and give the weather time to clear up after an overnight rain. I took the 10:15 bus to Threlkeld, the start of my walk. A big downside was missing the free outdoor jazz concert in the square, but thats life’s choices. The upside was a chance to climb up Hall’s Fell to Blencathra summit.

I got off the bus at 10:30 and started walking the 1/2 mile to Gatesgill Farm. Yes, a nice gill passes alongside. A young couple came by and we started steeply up the fell. Hall’s Fell is reputed to be similar to Striding Edge but more at a angle instead of horizontal. This vertical ridge runs from about 700 ft elevation to 2847 ft which is the summit of Blencathra. The weather was still cloudy but at least no rain was falling.

9th Day - Looking South Over Threlkeld As I Begin Climbing Halls Fell To Blencathra Summit 

The couple ahead moved quickly on the lower slope as I plodded along. Then came the tricky rock maneuvering and they slowed down. The girl was having a hard time. “Why did I let you talk me into this?” About halfway up began the really hard rock climbing and the couple decided to turn back. It was also cold and windy; they weren’t dressed for this kind of weather. This happens so often, people dress for the trailhead, not for higher altitudes.

Climbing Halls Fell On Blencathra Thats A Steep Slope And Long Way Down 

I kept climbing, some scrambling further up, then was completely stopped, could not find a way to get over these rocks. Then I saw a man coming down very fast, like an apparition dancing over the rocks, graceful as a ballet dancer, although he did stop several times to lower himself with his arms. His dog had no problem. Who is leading the way? I waited to see his path and, as he reached me, I saw the way, but it would not be easy. He stopped and talked to me a couple of minutes, giving me tips.

Other walkers were coming up behind me as I followed an invisible path up over the rocks. My poles were stashed as I had to use both hands to pull myself up. This was true rock climbing with fingers grabbing rock projections and feet placed in crevices of vertical rock faces. I know that for many walkers, these kinds of obstructions are commonplace but, for me, it was a new challenge. This was much harder than Striding Edge because it was more vertical.

3/4 Way Up Halls Fell - It's A lot Like Striding Edge, But Steeper Looking back down Halls Fell From Near The Top 

The other walkers and I worked together, trying different routes up the rock to see what worked. There did seem to be one best way, but it was hard to find. There was a final pull up the pike and we stood on the summit. Like on so many summits the past few days, it was a glorious view all around. You could see forever from there.

Blencathra Summit And Ridge 

There were quite a few other walkers here on top, some from the longer but easier Scales Fell, others from the harder and scarier (supposedly) Sharp Edge. Everyone, including myself, were walking around, glorying in just being there.

Looking West Over Derwent Water To Yesterday's Walk 

I walked down Blease Fell (westerly), finally reaching the Blencathra Center at the base of the fell. I was hoping to walk over to the Castlerigg Stone Circle on the south side of the motorway, so I got directions to cross the River Greta on a footbridge and find the motorway underpass. But I was tired and decided to walk directly to Keswick via Brundholme Wood above the river. Near Keswick, I crossed the river on an old packhorse bridge (now a footbridge) to Forge Lane which led directly to my B&B.

Following the River Greta Back To Keswick 

I got back at 16:00, later than anticipated. The climb was hard. I was more than ready for rest, coffee and a shower. I left for dinner at 18:00 and stopped at the phone booth down the street to call Cathryn. Sad news, a good friend has died. He was 10 years older than I and had a creative and productive life. I will be back in time for his memorial. He will be missed by many.

Paying Homage To My Namesake Pastry Shop 

I ate at the George Hotel, Lamb George and a pint of Tom Fool Ale from Jennings.
This was the biggest hunk of falling off the bone lamb shank I had ever seen, and very tasty. I could not eat it all. The PO shop was still open, so I bought a Cadbury’s and a book on all the Wainwrights (summits described by A. Wainwright in his many books). The jazz festival was finished, no music tonight.

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