Well, I’m not sure it would classify as a stroll, but last Sunday, to make the most of the good weather we’ve been having (which, surely, can’t last much longer) I decided to head up to the Lake District and tackle Skiddaw, England’s 4th highest mountain.
I set off early and drove up the M6 to Penrith and then across to Keswick (takes about an hour and 45 minutes) where I parked up on the edge of town, close to the path towards Skiddaw. I initially followed the route that skirted the smaller hill, Latrigg, which we’d climbed last March. This is the well trodden “tourist route”, which some bloggers are quite sniffy about. But I’m not that bothered about their opinions, it was the most convenient way up. There were certainly plenty of other people taking the route.
Skiddaw is an attractive mountain when viewed from Keswick. Walking up, certainly the first half, is a bit of a steep slog with the views behind you rather than ahead. But looking back over to Keswick, Derwent Water and nearby hills gave an excuse for a bit of a break.
Unfortunately, some weather was passing through, with cloud and rain over Helvellyn, Borrowdale and the Newlands valley, and visibility wasn’t that great.
When the climb levels out there’s a summit ahead. But it’s not the final destination. Rather a subsidiary peak, Skiddaw Little Man, something of a “false summit”. Although there’s a path to the main summit that avoids them, in a moment of madness I decided to “bag” it.
It was a very stiff, steep climb to the top, but didn’t take so long and there were good views from the top.
A steep descent then it was time to climb again, this time to the main summit plateau.
It didn’t take too long to climb the final stretch up to the top – a flat plateau with some cairns, a windbreak shelter and a trig point.
I stopped a while to take in the hazy views down to Bassenthwaite
and over to Blencathra
After a short rest I set on back down the mountain, by-passing the Little Man. Now I was facing the views so in many ways the descent, was more pleasurable.
Getting close to the bottom of the mountain another moment of madness overtook me, and I decided to extend the walk a little by climbing to the summit of Latrigg to take in the views as the haze was beginning to clear.
Looking over Keswick and Derwent Water
over to the Newlands Valley, Causey Pike and Grisedale
and back to Skiddaw
After a short while I made my way back down to where I’d parked the car. All in all it had been a 9 1/2 mile walk with 3925 feet of ascent. But I hadn’t quite done. The sun was shining and I felt in need of some caffeine, so I dumped my rucksack and walking poles in my boot and walked down into Keswick. There’s a nice little coffee shop I know in the main street (Java)!