An Earl has sold an iconic Lake District mountain to an unnamed bidder - marking the failure of a residents group to secure Blencathra for themselves.
The sale comes on the same day that a mystery family bought a picturesque village in Devon for £11.5 million - outbidding the National Trust.
The 2,850ft-high Blencathra mountain, which towers above the Northern Fells in Cumbria, was put on the market by the Earl of Lonsdale, Hugh Lowther, in May, with an £1.75 million asking price.
Funds from the sale of the 2,676-acre plot will go towards paying off the reported £9 million tax he owes from his father's inheritance, who died eight years ago.
The Earl has already sold a family Turner to Tate Britain for £1.4m to meet financial commitments and is said to have preferred to sell the mountain rather than break up the tenanted estate.
Nicknamed the Saddleback due to its distinctive, sweeping ridge, the mountain was celebrated as “one of the grandest objects in Lakeland” by renowned fellwalker and author Alfred Wainwright, and was an inspiration to Lake Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Concerned that the announcement of the sale would see the mountain become a playground for the super-rich, the Friends of Blencathra local residents group put in a bid for the mountain, and applied to Eden District Council to make the area a community asset to secure it from private hands.
But on Friday, John Robson, director of selling agents H&H Land and Property, confirmed the Friends of Blencathra were unsuccessful. He explained in a statement that the Lonsdales had accepted an offer from an unnamed party which exceeded the guide price for the mountain.
“Prior to reaching this decision we had discussions earlier today with representatives from The Friends of Blencathra. We have taken into account both their offer and the fact that there is a significant shortfall between this and the successful offer.
"The reason behind the sale of Blencathra is to realise capital for inheritance tax following the death of the 7th Earl of Lonsdale in 2006. The Estate's solicitor has been instructed to proceed with the sale and we expect the matter to be completed reasonably quickly," he added.