'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sharp Edge

A hot afternoon on Blencathra, one of the most exciting mountains in Cumbria - its distinctive ridge, seen from the A66 gives it its English name of 'Saddleback'. Its north side is a succession of easy grassy walks, each savagely cut off by the sharp corries and ridges of the south side which give the hill an altogether more fearsome aspect and some fine scrambling. Best of all is Sharp Edge, a cruelly short knife-like arete above Scales Tarn, a tiny corrie on the eastern flank. On a hot, dry day the rock is such a pleasure: worn smooth by thousands of feet, scratched and scored by glacial ice, it sometimes seems like old hardwood, ribbed, burred and boled but planed to perfection by the craft of ages. The crampon marks of winter were everywhere to be seen: scratches and tiny gouges on the rock where feet had trodden on sharp January and February days. The scramble up to the back of the saddle is over far too quickly, but for 20 minutes, on a hot day with no-one else around, you can feel ecstasy at the sole possession of the most beautiful part of creation.


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