A Sunday Stroll

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I stopped a while to take in the hazy views down to Bassenthwaite

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and over to Blencathra

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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.

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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

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over to the Newlands Valley, Causey Pike and Grisedale

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and back to Skiddaw

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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)!

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16 thoughts on “A Sunday Stroll

  1. One shouldn’t care about others opinion when it comes to pick a route. Different experiences suit different people and that’s the great thing about walking.
    The light and shadows on the mountains are wonderful and the sign in Java makes my day 🙂 🙂

    • You’re definitely right Hanna. I plan my routes taking into account what I think I can manage as well as what looks enjoyable. Walking shouldn’t be a macho competition (alas, for some people it is)
      Yes, it’s a very relevant sign in Java 😊

    • That’s the fells for you. I wouldn’t have been surprised if there was bright sunshine in Keswick at the time!
      During my walk there was clearly rain in the valleys and on the hills to the south, but not a drop on Skiddaw.

  2. I’m not sure why but I climbed Skiddaw in my University years back in the 80s and I haven’t been up since. We did Blencathra on the same day, blimey I was keen and fit in those days. Some great photos to remind me I should really get back up again, 30 years too long.

    • Skiddaw and Blencathrea, that is definitely keen!
      Blencathra is on my list – but not Sharp Edge! (Bet you’ve done that route though). We have a week in Keswick in August so hope to tackle it then.

      • Blencathra is wonderful mountain. Sharp Edge is not that hard, especially if it’s dry. It’s pretty short. Halls Fell ridge is a great way up as the scrambling is all avoidable

      • Hard is relative! Sharp Edge’s reputation precedes it so I think we’ll certainly be avoiding it on our first walk up Blencathra 🙂

  3. Definitely a good deal more than a stroll! People are often very sniffy about Skiddaw in general, but Hamish Brown rated it highly, which is good enough for me. Like Andy, I climbed it back in the eighties numerous times, I think I’ve probably been back once or twice since, but another visit is well overdue.

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