Blencathra, one of the Lake District’s most recognizable mountains, is for sale. Known as the Saddleback, thanks to the distinctive shape of its six separate fell tops, the 2,850ft landmark is being sold by the Earl of Lonsdale along with an historic feudal title that will make the new owner the Lord of the Manor of Threlkeld.
‘My family has owned Blencathra and its manor for more than 400 years, so it will be a great loss,’ admits Hugh Clayton Lowther, 8th Lord Lonsdale. ‘However, we need to realise capital for Inheritance Tax following the death of my father and our aim is to retain the core portions of the Lonsdale Estates intact as far as is possible.’
The 7th Earl, who died in 2006, bequeathed £9.5 million and the 72,000-acre estate that surrounds the family seat at Lowther Castle, near Penrith in Cumbria, to his fourth wife and their son. Located in the northern fells of the Lake District, the massif is 12 miles from the M6 and covers some 2,676 acres of grazing land, including a hydroelectric scheme that will pay the new owner rent and royalties.
‘This is a unique opportunity to buy your very own mountain,’ says John Robson of the Carlisle- and Durham-based selling agents H&H Land & Property (01228 406260). ‘It’s the first time we’ve handled the sale of a mountain-and what a mountain it is.’
Mr Robson predicts interest from all over the world, particularly as the acquisition of the ancient manorial title offers the new owner the chance to apply to the College of Arms for an individual coat of arms. ‘This really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy a piece of Lakeland heritage,’ he adds.
Named after a village at the southern foot of the mountain, the title used to entitle the lord of the manor to instruct his tenants to carry out compulsory work for him, such as ploughing and mowing fields, shearing sheep and digging and transporting peat from the fells for his winter fuel. These customs were abolished in the 18th century, but local farmers still have the right to graze their Herdwick sheep on Blencathra and Saddleback Common.
Alfred Wainwright, the fell walker and author, described Blencathra as ‘the mountaineer’s mountain’: ‘Blencathra is one of the grandest objects in Lakeland… a feature being the sweeping curve leaping out of the depths to a lofty summit-ridge, where the skyline then proceeds in a succession of waves to a sharp peak before descending, again in a graceful curve, to the valley pastures far to the east.’ Blencathra also gives its name to the Blencathra Foxhounds, the revered Lakeland Fell pack-descendants of the legendary John Peel’s hounds-that are kennelled nearby.
The mountain is being offered for sale privately as a whole, with a closing date set for receipt of best and final offers to be received by the selling agents by 12 noon on July 2. Read more information on Blencathra.
* Follow Country Life magazine on Twitter