Lord Lonsdale said Blencathra is not for sale. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Lord Lonsdale said Blencathra is not for sale. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A community group said it is still actively pursuing the purchase of a Lake District mountain, despite its owner saying it is no longer for sale.

Hugh Lowther said he has no intention of parting with Blencathra and his family will retain ownership for generations to come.

But the Friends of Blencathra, which was set up to try to buy the mountain when the Eighth Earl of Lonsdale announced he was selling it, said it will continue making the case for taking over ownership of the fell, also known as Saddleback.

The group said it was pushing for a meeting with the earl’s representatives.

Lord Lowther told The Cumberland News: “Blencathra is 100 per cent off the market. It’s not for sale.

“What’s happened is that the taxman wasn’t prepared to wait for the sale so I had to pay him in another way.”

The aristocrat had originally put the mountain on the market to raise cash for an inheritance tax bill from HM Revenue and Customs.

He told the newspaper: “It was a way of solving the problem without affecting other people’s lives but we’ve solved it in another way.

“We’re not going to spend any more time on it. It’s all back to normal. Everything is as before.”

The Friends of Blencathra, which has collected thousands of pounds in donations from members of the public and attracted support from the company that owns the Berghaus brand, said it had been briefed by its legal team.

The charity said its lawers told it: “The trustee executors (Lonsdale Estates) and their lawyers, Kerman & Co, with whom the charity has dealt with to date are all but out of the equation. The particular need to sell the mountain has passed.

“Nevertheless the eighth earl is prepared to sell the mountain to the charity, as we have understood all along. The price is suggested to be £1.3m plus VAT.”

It added: “The trustees of FoB are still intent on arranging the meeting with the trustees from Lonsdale Settled Estates.

“Unfortunately the legal team are now not in a position to do this immediately following the turmoil created by Brexit as they currently have more pressing business interests to manage. Equally, Brexit is likely to impact on the management of the Lonsdale Estates.

“We will update the group next month but considering the change in the ownership of the asset and the impact of Brexit has been so recent, it would be somewhat premature at this stage to respond negatively to the calls to throw in the towel.

“The trustees are still prepared to work towards the purchase of Blencathra for the community, assuming we still have the support of the legal team following Brexit to achieve the objects of the charity.”

Acclaimed writer Alfred Wainwright called Blencathra ‘the mountaineers’ mountain.’ It was also the subject of film-maker Terry Abraham’s recent release Blencathra: Life of a Mountain.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Friends of Blencathra: ‘negotiations still open’ on mountain sale
  2. Friends of Blencathra: our offer for mountain likely to be accepted
  3. Blencathra campaigners plan walk to foot of fell to mark bid deadline
  4. Twitter and Facebook groups aim to raise cash to buy Blencathra
  5. Samsonite says Gregory will continue as separate brand after acquiring rucksack specialists