Cumbria Mountains

Blencathra/Saddleback

Height : 868 Difficulty : Hard 4/5 Time Taken : 2/2.5 hours

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    For many years, Ordnance Survey listed Blencathra under the alternative name of Saddleback, which was coined in reference to the shape of the mountain when seen from the east. The guidebook author Alfred Wainwright popularised the use of the older Cumbric name, which is now used almost exclusively. Ordnance Survey currently marks the summit as ‘Saddleback or Blencathra’. It is likely that the name Blencathra is derived from the Cumbric elements *blain ‘top, summit’ and cadeir ‘seat, chair’, meaning ‘the summit of the seat-like mountain’.[1] Andrew Breeze has proposed an alternative interpretation of the second element of the name, arguing that it represents a Cumbric cognate of Middle Welsh carthwr ‘working horse’.[2] Richard Coates has suggested that the second element may be the Middle Irish personal name Carthach, but writes that ‘the implications of that with a Brittonic generic need exploring

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