Sharp Edge on BlencathraA reminder to lovers of Lakeland that the second in BBC4’s series Wainwright Walks airs tomorrow evening.

Left: Sharp Edge on Blencathra

Julia Bradbury leads us up Blencathra, following the Grumpy Old Fellwalker’s guide to the fells. The first programme in the series, in which Julia mounted Haystacks to view the Kendal borough treasurer’s final resting place, is repeated also tomorrow.


grough thought Julia made a passable job of the ascent of the GOF’s favourite hill – slightly breathless and with a fair balance of mountain naiveté and imparted AW opinion and knowledge. We’re also sure that Alf would heartily have approved of seeing Julia’s shapely form, though of course the fells are not really a place for a woman.

Speaking of which, grough thought the documentary on the great man’s life, Wainwright: the Man Who Loved the Lakes, glossed over his lecherous side rather too quickly and hardly scratched the dust cover of the probable reason he took to the fells in the first place – his loveless relationship with his first wife Ruth. It is possible that we wouldn’t have the remarkable body of work that is his series of Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, and all his subsequent books, if he’d had something more to keep him at home.

That aside, it’s nice to watch Ms Bradbury scramble up the fells and to play name the mountain as we glimpse Fleetwith Pike at al in the background. BBC4 says of this week’s programme: “Julia sets off to tackle her first mountain – Blencathra. The route to the summit involves tackling Sharp Edge, the Lake District's most technical and vertiginous ridge climb and discovers why Wainwright chose to cover this fell in more detail than any other.”

grough shares this enthusiasm for Blencathra, a mountain with so many interesting routes up it and so many glorious views, at least in good weather. We can also testify Sharp Edge’s vertiginous charms, having ended up somehow going backwards up the slippery holds in a heavy Cumbrian shower.

Indeed, Keswick Mountain Rescue Team has a whole section devoted to rescues on Sharp Edge, including eight fatalities in its 51 logged incidents, the most recent only last month.

The Blencathra walk airs at 8.30pm on Monday. The Haystacks repeat is on at 7.30pm.