The race is on to snatch Blencathra Mountain from the clutches of several foreign buyers.

A source close to Lord Lonsdale, who owns the land, exclusively confirmed 'there has been a substantial amount of foreign interest' in the £1.75million mountain.

But Lakeland lovers are fighting back.

Friends of Blencathra, an action group which attracted 5,500 members in less than a week, has already pledged £600,000 towards the purchase of the 2,676 acre site.

Donations have come from as far away as America and New Zealand and a tourist spontaneously wrote a cheque for £1,000 during a visit to the Horse and Farrier Inn in Thelkeld.

Several Cumbria-based solicitors have even offered their services to the action group free of charge.


Friends of Blencathra had their first meeting on Sunday, May 11, to discuss their proposed purchase of what Wainwright termed 'the jewel in Lakeland's crown'.

Alan Hudson, newly elected Vice Chairman of the group, said: "The public generosity has been overwhelming. It's amazing. A Cumbrian lady who now lives in America got in touch and pledged £5,000, we've had German TV stations and the French press getting in touch. It's reaching all corners of the world."

With a Russian billionaire reported to have shown interest, many fear the sale could trigger a 'Premier League-style' foreign invasion of Lakeland's landscapes.

Debbie Cosgrove, Chairman of Friends of Blencathra, said: "If someone from Russia buys it it's just another thing in their portfolio. If it's publicly owned we can look after it ourselves. This is an opportunity for everyone who loves the Lake District to give something back."