Blencathra was put on the market to help pay an inheritance tax bill

Blencathra was put on the market to help pay an inheritance tax bill

A community group said its offer has been accepted for a Lake District mountain that was put up for sale by its owner.

The Friends of Blencathra announced on Facebook that trustees acting for the Earl of Lonsdale wish to proceed with the group’s offer for the fell.

Lord Lonsdale put the mountain, less commonly also known as Saddleback, on the market to help pay an inheritance tax bill.

The original guide price for the mountain was £2.1m but the Friends, formed to try to buy the fell for community use, have not disclosed their offer.

The Friends’ chairman Debbie Cosgrove said: “On 26 March, we met with the trustees to further discuss the purchase of the mountain.

“We have been advised that ‘the trustees wish to proceed with our offer’ and that ‘in principle, they would like to proceed to the next stage.”

Ms Cosgrove added: “I am sure that while we are all keen to see the final papers signed, it is not as straightforward a matter as selling a house, however much we might wish it to be.”

The fell, described by author Alfred Wainwright as ‘a mountaineer’s mountain’ is being sold by its owner Lord Lonsdale, to pay off part of an inheritance tax bill of £9m.

The Friends have received a pledge of financial support from the company that owns major outdoor brand Berghaus.

Mountaineering elder statesman Sir Chris Bonington, who lives close to Blencathra, joined members of the group and supporters in a walk from Keswick to Threlkeld at the foot of the fell last July.

Alfred Wainwright called the 868m (2,848ft) fell a ‘mountaineer’s mountain; one of the grandest objects in Lakeland’.

It has also been the site of 11 walkers’ deaths on a notorious accident spot.

If the Friends are ultimately successful with their bid, they won’t even have the right to graze animals on the fell, as it’s common land, with commoners having the right to graze 5,471 ewes, 202 shearlings, 732 hoggs and 200 lambs. Selling agents H&H Land and Property helpfully added: ‘Some of the sheep rights can be substituted for cattle or ponies’.

Sharp Edge is the scene of numerous falls

Sharp Edge is the scene of numerous falls

The fell is notorious for the tricky grade-one scramble along Sharp Edge, for which Keswick Mountain Rescue Team has a separate page detailing the sad toll of deaths and numerous serious injuries including broken backs that have occurred since 1961.

Virtually the whole fell is open access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, meaning walkers can exercise their right to roam at most times.

A note on the land agents’ website simply says Blencathra is ‘under offer’.

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