Blencathra: up for sale; or is it?

Blencathra: up for sale; or is it?

Confusion surrounds the future of a Lake District mountain after conflicting reports of its potential sale.

Agents acting for Blencathra’s owners told a newspaper the fell had been taken off the market, just 24 hours after a campaign group put out a statement saying it was still in negotiations to buy the land.

The 868m (2,848ft) fell was put up for sale last May by the estate of Hugh, eighth Earl of Lonsdale, Viscount Lowther, Baron of Whitehaven and Lord of the Manor, after he was saddled with a large inheritance tax bill.

The Cumberland and Westmorland Herald today reported Shirley Dodd, of the estate’s land agents H&H Land and Property, as saying: “In spite of there being several interested parties, we have been unable to conclude a sale and, as alternative arrangements have had to be made to deal with the estate’s inheritance tax issues, the need for an early disposal has been removed.

“We have therefore been instructed to remove the property from the market.”

On Monday, the community group Friends of Blencathra had posted on its Facebook page that negotiations were continuing with a view to the organisation buying the mountain, dubbed ‘the mountaineers’ mountain’ by the celebrated late guidebook author Alfred Wainwright.

Karen Clough said: “As many are aware, the FoB team after what is now 18 months, are still endeavouring to secure Blencathra on behalf of the charity.

“Today, the lawyer acting for the Friends of Blencathra, Janet Turner QC stated: ‘After a period of some uncertainty the vendors of the Saddleback mountain have recently confirmed to the charity that they remain keen to sell the mountain and, in particular, would like to sell to the charity if suitable terms can be agreed. Discussions are now in play to that end.

“‘Transactions involving the sale and purchase of extraordinary landholdings, such as this one, are always complex and time consuming. Here the matter is more complicated still as a result of the number of stakeholders involved in the decision making process.’

“We thank our dedicated team of professionals working hard alongside the FoB team and our members and followers for their ongoing support and understanding.”

Saddleback is an alternative name for Blencathra.

Ms Clough further posted today: “As previously mentioned in other threads similar to this
H and H were the selling agents enlisted by the estate last year.

“Following lack of private buyer interest and a change in reason for sale H and H are no longer required. Since early this year and as stated by our QC we are dealing with the estate (vendors) directly via our legal teams.

“Unfortunately the process has been slow but we are still in discussion and have and will uphold our end to non-disclosure of certain facts at the estate’s request to remain confidential in our business with them.”

Most of Blencathra is common land and is also open access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way act, giving walkers and climbers the right to use the mountain for leisure purposes. This right would not alter under a change of ownership.

grough contacted the Friends of Blencathra chairman Debbie Cosgrove for a comment, but had received no reply at the time of posting.

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  2. Blencathra campaigners plan walk to foot of fell to mark bid deadline
  3. Five Lakeland charities to benefit from cash left over from abandoned Blencathra bid
  4. Two walkers rescued from Blencathra after getting stuck on wintry crags