A LANDMARK mountain in the Lake District has been put up for sale as its owner attempts to pay off a £9 million inheritance tax bill.
The iconic 2,850ft-high Blencathra has been put on the market by Lord Lonsdale with an asking price of £1.75 million. Also included in the sale is the ancient feudal title of Lordship of the Manor of Threlkeld, which dates back to 1197.
The mountain was described as “one of the grandest objects in Lakeland” by celebrated writer and illustrator Alfred Wainwright (1907-1991), who lived and worked in Kendal most of his life and wrote more than 40 books.
Now the Earl of Lonsdale, Hugh Lowther, is selling the 2,676-acre plot to help pay off hefty taxes he owes after inheriting the estate from his father, the seventh earl, eight years ago.
“My family have owned Blencathra and its manor for over 400 years, so the sale of this iconic property will be a great loss,” he said.
“However, we need to realise capital for inheritance tax following the death of my father in 2006, and our aim is to retain the core portions of the Lonsdale Estates intact as far as is possible.”
The buyer will obtain grazing rights for 5,471 ewes, 732 hoggs and 200 lambs and be entitled to call themselves Lord of the Manor of Threlkeld.
The title will also allow the owner to apply for their own personalised coat of arms. The Lordship of the Manor of Threlkeld was bought by the Lowther family in the 1620s and they were granted the earldom of Lonsdale in the 18th century.
Then estate tenants had to plough and mow the lordship’s fields, shear his sheep and dig peat from the fells. Today the title is purely ceremonial.
Lord Lonsdale said: “We don’t want to have to make inroads into the core of the estate and we don’t want to have to evict tenant farmers and other tenants from their houses so that we can sell them. He said he had been given 10 years to pay off the inheritance tax, but this is due to expire shortly. “It’s getting very close to that now. We have to do something about it,” he said.
The mountain is part of the Lakeland National Park so any new owner will be restricted in what they can do with it.
“We really want the public to know it’s fully protected through planning laws and through it being in the national park,” said John Robson, managing director of sale agent H&H Land and Property.
“There’s a right to roam on it, it’s there for everyone to enjoy.”
Also included in the sale are a green electricity scheme that pays rent and royalties to the lord, as well as five disused lead mining sites.
Mr Robson added: “This really is a once in a lifetime chance to buy one of the jewels in the Lake District’s crown. This is the first time we have handled the sale of a mountain – and what a mountain it is. Set in the Northern Fells of the Lake District National Park, Blencathra’s characteristic silhouette is clearly visible over a wide area of northern Cumbria.”