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Earl puts UK tourist mountain Blencathra up for sale

By Barry Neild for CNN
updated 3:20 PM EDT, Tue May 6, 2014
Among England's highest peaks, Blencathra has been put up for sale by its owner -- asking price $3 million. Among England's highest peaks, Blencathra has been put up for sale by its owner -- asking price $3 million.
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Million-dollar mountain
Edge funds
Peak with a view
Snow-capped peak
Lording it
Mountain of debt
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Entire mountain put up for sale in Britain's popular Lake District tourist destination
  • Sale of Blencathra also gives the buyer the right to be called a lord
  • Earl of Lonsdale says he needs to sell the mountain to pay a huge tax bill

(CNN) -- The $3 million price tag might be steep, but so is the property -- an entire mountain in the beautiful English Lake District.

Blencathra, a bleak curve-backed summit overlooking the northern end of one Britain's most popular national parks, has been put up for sale by its current owner to pay a tax bill.

"We went through the pictures and furniture first," Hugh Lowther told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Lowther is the eighth Earl of Lonsdale, whose family has owned Blencathra for four centuries.

Lowther said despite offloading an artwork by Joseph Turner, Britain's most popular landscape painter, looming debts left him looking elsewhere.

"We sold a Turner for £1.4 million ($2.37 million), a derelict farm steading and a couple of cottages which were vacant. And now Blencathra."

Reaching 868-meters above sea level, the mountain comprises six separate "tops" and is often referred to locally as "saddleback."

'Unique investment opportunity'

The mountain's rugged moss-covered flanks attract hikers from around the world.

Even though realtors call the sale a "unique investment opportunity," the 2,677-acre property is subject to strict rural zoning regulations and would be tricky to build on.

"It's such a visible part of the landscape; that's what makes it special," John Robson, managing director of H&H Land and Property, which is handling the sale, told the Financial Times.

The purchaser will, however, have the right to call themselves a Lord.

The sale will include the "Lordship of the Manor of Threlkeld," an ancient feudal title that has been passed down through the Lowther family since it acquired the land in the 1620s.

It's a purely ceremonial title -- no crowns, scepters or castles will change hands.

Sealed bids are being invited for the mountain with sale expected to be completed in July.

Potential buyers should be warned though -- some analysts say Britain's booming property market, like the climbers on Blencathra, may soon reach its peak.

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