This is a rather bizarre story and I’m rather shocked it’s being allowed to happen. A titled landowner who owns the mountain Blencathra in the Lake District has put the mountain up for sale to pay an inheritance tax bill.
Yes, there is an actual mountain in England for sale. Not just any mountain – Blencathra is considered one of the most iconic mountains in the Lake District and is a national treasure.
For sale. For anyone to buy. The price? Just £1.75 million (about $2.8 million) for the entire mountain and some 2,000+ acres of land.
Lord Lonsdale, who inherited his estate in 2006, needs the funds to finish off paying the death duties left in the wake of his father’s death. And rather than sell off farms and cottages – and evicting his tenants who have lived there for hundreds of years – he’s selling a mountain that has been in the family for 400+ years.
Normally, this is where the advertisement would say ‘excellent development potential’ but this is not a piece of land you would be able to do anything with really. You couldn’t build a house on it. You can’t restrict access to the land – it had public rights of way that are enshrined in law and local farmers have a medieval right to allow their livestock to graze at no cost. It’s also part of the Lake District national park so the public will always have a right to walk across your mountain.
So, really anyone interested in buying the land would be buying it for the trophy aspect, you couldn’t live on it or do what you want with it.
Still, Lord Lonsdale is hoping that a rich Chinese investor or Russian Oligarch will be interested. As a bonus, the land comes with the title Lord of the Manor of Threlkeld, a village at the foot of the mountain. It has no rights or anything, it’s just a ceremonial title but will help with your street cred!
What is likely to happen however, is it will not be sold to some foreigner. A local movement has sprung up from locals seeks to raise the funs necessary to buy the mountain and put it in public ownership. I would suspect that eventually the National Trust will get involved as well as they already own many hills and mountains and maintain them for the nation.
Friends of Blencathra has sprouted a Facebook page where people are coordinating and there’s also a website. They’re not taking money yet, but if they do we’ll throw a few bob there way. This is a worthy cause!
It goes to sealed auction in June and we’ll definitely be watching this!