Sunday, 30 August 2015

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Blencathra set to raise more than its £1.75m asking price

Offers are already on the table to buy Blencathra – with its £1.75 million asking price expected to be exceeded.

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Sale goes on: Blencathra has been sold for an undisclosed sum

And the aristocrat selling the iconic Lakeland peak says he hasn’t been surprised by the worldwide interest in buying it.

Lord Lonsdale has put the mountain, also known as Saddleback, up for sale to pay a £9m inheritance tax bill.

His decision has triggered a vigorous community campaign to raise the money needed to buy the mountain.

The Friends of Blencathra movement is supported by county-based mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington and is gathering pace. It has garnered vast support with details of its progress and fundraising success so far expected to be detailed at a meeting this weekend.

They face a difficult race against time. Bids to buy Blencathra must be tabled with Carlisle-based H&H Land and Property, the firm handling the sale, by July 2.

Community activists say they’ve joined forces to protect the peak for future generations amid concerns about whose hands it could fall into.

But Lord Lonsdale, who inherited his title as part of the Lowther dynasty, believes people need not be concerned.

He said: “I am heartened, but not surprised, by the level of interest that has been shown in the sale.

“The property is fully protected and it is difficult to imagine how there could be any form of adverse development or change in use of the mountain which forms such an iconic part of the local environment.

“I know that the change of ownership away from my family, while sad, will not affect anyone’s enjoyment of the area.”

John Robson, managing director of H&H Land and Property, confirmed the firm had been “inundated” with requests for information about Blencathra, with brochures on its sale sent all over the world.

He said: “Offers have already been received and there is no doubt that the current level of interest would indicate that the eventual price may well exceed the guide of £1.75m plus VAT.

“There is no doubt that the prospect of owning the mountain has struck a chord with the community, high-net-worth individuals and long-term investors.”

Mr Robson urged anyone seriously interested in tabling a bid to buy the mountain to investigate fully what they might be purchasing and register their interest before the closing date. He described the number of requests for legal packs – usually sent out to those ready to make an offer – for the Blencathra sale as “unprecedented”.

Mr Robson added: “Not only is this the first time that H&H Land and Property has sold a mountain, but rarely does such an unusual property in the UK come to the open market.”

Members of the Friends of Blencathra campaign this week posted a video on YouTube to highlight their campaign, singing This Land Is Your Land with the peak in the background.

Progress on their fundraising fight will be given at an open meeting at Rheged, near Penrith, at 2pm tomorrow.

The group has set itself up as a company and is applying for charitable status. Hundreds of people have now donated towards the cause.



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