MYSTERY surrounds Blencathra as conflicting reports have emerged regarding the mountain's sale.

A statement made today by H and H Land and Property, who have been handling the sale on behalf of the eighth Earl of Lonsdale, said the iconic 2,848ft fell was no longer on the market, claiming it would not be available to purchase for an 'indefinite' period of time.

However, a statement released yesterday by the Friends of Blencathra, a community group hoping to buy the £1.75million mountain, stated: "The vendors of the Saddleback mountain [Blencathra] have recently confirmed to the charity that they remain keen to sell the mountain and, in particular, would like to sell to the charity if suitable terms can be agreed."

Blencathra was initially put on the market in April 2014 by Hugh Lowther, the eighth Earl of Lonsdale, in order to pay a £9million inheritance tax bill.

A comment on the Friends of Blencathra Facebook page made by Karen Clough, a representative of the group, denies that the mountain cannot still be purchased.

It reads: "Following lack of private buyer interest and a change in reason for sale, H and H Land and Property are no longer required.

"Since early this year and as stated by our QC we are dealing with the estate (vendors) directly via our legal teams.

"Unfortunately the process has been slow but we are still in discussion and have and will uphold our end to non-disclosure of certain facts at the estate’s request to remain confidential in our business with them."

More information to follow.