UK & World News
Campaigners Outbid In Lake District Mountain Sale
A Lake District residents' group has lost its bid to return a mountain to public ownership as the 2,676-acre plot is sold to a private bidder.
The unnamed private buyer is said to have topped the £1.75m asking price for the 2,850ft Blencathra Mountain, bypassing rival bidders, The Friends of Blencathra.
The campaigners put in an offer for the mountain in order to keep it out of private hands.
They had also applied to Eden District Council to make Blencathra a community asset.
In an online petition, the group wrote: "... Blencathra is much more than a status symbol on a piece of paper.
"It is a well-loved mountain, part of our community that should be given back to the people."
But it wasn't enough and the sale of the mountain, known also as Saddleback due to its distinctive shape, was confirmed by selling agents H&H Land and Property.
The company director John Robson said: "We confirm that our client, Lonsdale Settled Estate, has instructed us to accept an offer which exceeds the guide price for Blencathra Mountain.
"The duty of the Estate is to accept best value and we are instructed to proceed with a sale based on this offer from an as yet unnamed party.
"Prior to reaching this decision we had discussions earlier today with representatives from The Friends of Blencathra. We have taken into account both their offer and the fact that there is a significant shortfall between this and the successful offer."
The plot was owned by the Earl of Lonsdale, Hugh Lowther, who was forced to push ahead with the sale to help pay off a reported £9m tax bill he owes from his father's inheritance.
Blencathra, which lies in the Northern Fells in Cumbria, was once described by renowned fellwalker and author Alfred Wainwright as "one of the grandest objects in Lakeland".