Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Sharpest Edge

A classic Lakeland day on one of Britain’s finest ridges

This content has been written for Blacks Outdoor Retail Ltd and should not be redistributed. 

Blencathra, at a height of 868 metres, is one of the northern guardians of the Lake District and is accessed easily from the A66 road near Penrith. We set out for the popular summit top via Sharp Edge, the prominent rocky arĂȘte beside Scales Tarn. 

It was a promising autumnal morning, a blanket of cloud keeping us warm and no wind to quell our plans. We started early, snaking around the hillside on a good path into steep valleys. Climbing up to Scales Tarn, Sharp Edge came into view and we would have the ridge to ourselves. It was a secluded and peaceful place next to the tarn, stopping for a bite to eat with banter amongst friends. 

Sharp Edge scramble (Grade 1) gave us a sense of adventure and exposure on good rock, but in poor conditions it could be a more risky experience. I was glad for sturdy boots and good waterproofs on this classic ascent of Blencathra. After clambering up steep ground we reached the rolling mountain top, and paced off to bag the nearby summit of Bowscale Fell. 

The surrounding area in the northern Lake District is often ignored by walkers that head for the honeypot locations at Windermere or Ambleside. Yet they are missing out on a landscape undisturbed, barren and interesting, which asks for exploration of the rolling upland plains, reminiscent of the Welsh Carneddau. 

By lunchtime we were crossing back to the summit of Blencathra and the views were sublime. From there we could gaze south… the iconic Lakeland fells rising skywards, covered in a patchwork of sun and shadow. 

Our route descended via Hallsfell spur, south of the peak, and we strided down the jagged rib with smiles, taking photos and feeling lucky for a dry walk on the hill. 

Blencathra offers an impressive mountain day for any person: the occasional rambler or the mountaineer. So get your kit together and make the journey to try one of Britain’s finest ridges. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Vintage Psych

Do you feel the weight of mountaineering history resting on your shoulders? No, probably not.


How about now?

As walkers and climbers, we're not a mere blip in the storyline of moutaineering. We're at the forefront of it, called the present. Cragging it up on a weekend keeps the passion alive.

Mankind's knowledge of mountains has grown with the efforts of thousands of ordinary individuals, trekking in high passes and attempting dogged routes on high peaks. Admittedly the chapters are complicated by class and gender struggles.

Alongside human exploration and fascination for the big peaks, technology has developed. More extreme expeditions required better gear. Today's generation is gifted with advanced materials and technical equipment... B3 Scarpa 'space boots' as my housemate called them, over the hobnail leather boots of old. Does the wealth of knowledge and skills passed down to us, give us a responsibility to use it? That's something worth thinking about.

Public Service Broadcasting are a London-based duo that mash up archive footage with musicMore on their website.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Go sort of Pro

I was left with a handy video camera for a day. A slight brainwave and lots of gaffa tape later, this was the result:

Indoor climbing at Leeds Wall

Expect footage soon! Here's what you can do with the real thing: