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A Publicly Owned Mountain?
Blencathra for sale

Charity bids to collectively own mountain in England's Lake District, Eden District Council declares the mountain a community asset, Friends of Blencathra in negotiation with Earl of Lonsdale's estate.

Southern face of Blencathra
Bobble Hat 2008, Wikipedia / CC BY
Southern face of Blencathra
A mountain in the Lake District has been listed for sale. The land is up for sale to cover inheritance tax costs, despite the fell being in the ownership of Lord Lonsdale’s family for 400 years. While Blencathra (aka Saddleback) is protected as part of the Lake District National Park, the sale could see the land moving to an owner with less interest in custodianship. 

The Friends of Blencathra charity has been set up to collectively raise the €2.2million to buy the fell, which would put the mountain into public ownership. The head of the charity, Debbie Cosgrove, stated‘We feel if the land is in public ownership, we can engender a sense of social responsibility with that ownership’. The campaign has quickly raised funds from national and international donations and is being supported by the National Trust, the Blencathra Centre and the Calvert Trust. John Darlington, regional director of the National Trust, added "Blencathra is very important to a lot of people (who) are committed to a long-term investment, in both time and money, in a place that they find very inspiring”. Within one month the group gained the support of 7500 people willing to donate to the cause. 

Bids for the land were officially accepted 2nd July 2014, a press release on the 15th July 2014 confirmed the Lonsdale Estate is still in negotiations with the group to hopefully secure a public future for the fell. Meanwhile Eden District Council has declared the mountain as a "community asset" on 8 July 2014. This means that sporting and recreational activities that take place at Blencathra such as fell walking, hang gliding, fell running, climbing are not ancillary to other uses for the mountain’s 1,033 hectares such as sheep grazing.

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17. Jul 2014
Reported by Amber Roberts, St Helens


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