Today was pretty awesome, I kind of knew that it would be trying to sleep last night, with pictures of Sharp Edge running through my mind. Having not done a graded scramble beforehand I was somewhat nervous about going for it. The weather was fantastic all the way up North on the coach, and I knew it would be on, and that Skiddaw could wait.
We left the coach at a layby by Scales, and promptly followed a nicely winding track around Scales Fell, along Scales Beck and up to Scales Tarn. I thought that the view of Sharp Edge as you turned the corner was fairly impressive. It didn’t reach Aonach Egach proportions though.
It was about this point where the gods began to conspire against us, promptly signalled by the sight of Andy Brown in his thong about to go for a swim in Scales Tarn. We sat and watched for about half an hour, before setting off for our assault on the ridge.
As we arrived at the start of the ridge, as if by divine intervention, the wind picked up. We had barely noticed it all morning, but by the start of the ridge a small gale was howling. Some of our group diverted around the side of the ridge but there was no escaping the scramble at its end, so me and Andy Snape promptly climbed back on the ridge and continued the scramble.
The only thing that I didn’t like about Sharp Edge was the fact that in all it took about 20 minutes, apart from waiting for people ahead to move on. I would say though that I did not find it excessively technical, and would probably say that I have scrambled harder on previous walks, particularly on the Rhinogs in places. It did really kick off my appetite for more though. I was pleased with the way that I coped with it as well, I didn’t notice the exposure while I was scrambling, only afterwards looking back.
On completing the scramble myself and Paul diverted from the track to tick off Atkinson Pike at 845m. We then descended and ascended along a broad ridge, with several memorial crosses, to the summit of Blencathra at 868m. We sat around for over half an hour having lunch before ticking off Gategill Fell Top at 851m, and descending over Knowe Crags at 804m. To my regret I raced off with Keith to Keswick pulling in a good half an hour before the rest of the group, and missed out on ticking off Latrigg, 368m, with Paul.
The only thing that I would say about this route is that it is really a half day route. I was in Keswick by 4pm. In a smaller group it could have been a couple of hours earlier, and then Skiddaw too might have been feasible!!!