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Postby pic4186 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:04 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Lonscale Fell, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man

Hewitts included on this walk: Lonscale Fell, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man

Date walked: 12/08/2009

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This is my report of a walk I did with my wife the other weekend - Skiddaw via Lonscale Fell and return via Skiddaw Little Man.

After a night of heavy rain and high winds, and a morning of drizzle the skies gradually cleared to create near perfect conditions. We started our walk from the small car park near Applethwaite and followed the clearly marked path up the side of Lonscale Fell. From this side Lonscale Fell itself is pretty ordinary but the views back across Derwent Water are increasingly attractive.

The changing light - bright sunshine breaking through fast moving cloud - added to the interest, with the same landscape taking on different appearances, and some hills under bright sunshine with others in contrasting shade. This view of Catbells from the Lonscale ascent is a good example.

IMG_0159 Catbells from Lonscale approach.JPG

As we headed back west after the detour to Lonscale Fell and continued towards our main objective the view north opened up, first Jenkin Hill with Little Man behind, and then in the distance the bulk of Skiddaw itself. I always love this part of any hill walk.The first main ascent (and often most of the hardest work) is over and the view of the rest of your day opens up in front of you. I find the fatigue from the climb almost completely evapourates and is taken over by a sense of anticipation. Even if the high point of the walk is some way distant it doesn't seem like an intimidating proposition.

As we continued to climb the views south, east and west opened up further, including dramatic views of Blencathra (it looks different from the north) and Lonscale Fell as well as the ever present Derwent Water.

IMG_0175 Lonscale from Skiddaw approach.JPG

IMG_0181 Blencathra from Skiddaw approach.JPG

IMG_0188 Derwent Water from Skiddaw approach.JPG

We elected to continue directly on to Skiddaw rather than taking the detour via Little Man - we would do this on the way down. If you do decide to ascend by way of Little Man turn left at the gate up the steep path to the obvious & nearest summit. Remember though that the first summit is Jenkin Hill. Little Man is behind and requires another short descent and ascent to get to the top. You'll descend again to rejoin the path up to Skiddaw - just as it reaches the steepest climb!

After rounding Little Man and climbing the short steepish section, Skiddaw summit is in view for most of the rest of the journey to it, along a broad undulating ridge. I really liked this approach and the anticipation it created.

IMG_0195 Final approach to Skiddaw.JPG

I always think that Skiddaw comes across as the poor relation amongst the English 3,000ers, but having done it now for the first time I think that's just a little bit unfair. True, it isn't as dramatic as the others and the climb is straightforward by comparison - you never need to use your hands for instance, and it is true that you don't feel like you're at the heart of things out here in the north. But there are compensations.

Foremost amongst these is the view from the top. Because of it's height, relative isolation from other tall hills, and position at the north end of the Lakes the panaroma east - south - west is just fantastic. On the left of your view south you have the distinctive Blencathra and the best face of Lonscale. Working your way right you have the Helvellyn massif, then directly south the Scafell range. Continuing the sweep west you can clearly make out Great Gable and Pillar, then to the south west the Coledale fells. Finally to the west and nearer, Bassenthwaite Lake and the Longside Ridge. The centrepiece of this sweeping view is Derwent Water and the surrounding hills. Just great.

IMG_0208 Basenthwaite from Skiddaw.JPG

IMG_0217 Lond Side etc from Skiddaw.JPG

(please excuse the spelling mistake in the title of the photo above!)

I think because the views are so distant you really need to have a clear day to get the best out of Skiddaw - perhaps moreso than many other fells. When you do, looking west, you can see the sea ...

IMG_0209 West to the sea fom Skiddaw.JPG

We decided to take in Skiddaw Little Man on our descent. After descending from Skiddaw summit ridge the ascent to Little Man was short and easy (it looks much tougher than it is). We liked Little Man - a shapely summit and fitting triangular cairn (although spoiled a bit by the inclusion of some ironwork). It is actually a fairly high hill in it's own right, but it lives in the shadow of Skiddaw.

IMG_0243 Little Man summit & Skiddaw.JPG

The views from Little Man are just as good as those from Skiddaw - a different perspective of course being a bit further south.

IMG_0239 Carl Side & Long Side from Little Man.JPG

IMG_0246 Great Gable & Pillar from Little Man.JPG

The descent from Little Man, via Jenkin Hill and by the side of Lonscale Fell, offers uninterrupted views over Derwent Water and the fells for miles around. This was probably where we experienced the best light of the day and as a result enjoyed some of the most spectacular views.

IMG_0260 Causey Pike, Grassmoor etc from Skiddaw descent.JPG

IMG_0262 Sunshine on Coledale fells.JPG

Quite often when I'm on a particular hill I spot another hill or route I'd like to try. On this occasion this happened not once but twice. One is the Coledale fells pictured above - dramatic and well defined above Braithwaite. The other is an alternative ascent to Skiddaw - up the dinosaur-back Longside ridge. I'll be sure to write the reports when I do these.

Finally ....

Mrs P does enjoy walking, but only in moderation. For some reason I omitted to mention the height of Skiddaw at the outset, and also forgot to point the mountain out to her as we were shopping in Keswick the previous day. It was only when we reached to top that I shared this information with her. Fortunately she didn't seem to mind and we're still married. As it happens she's been telling everyone about our afternoon on Skiddaw so it must have been a winner!

I agree.
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Re: Skiddaw

Postby susanmyatt » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:12 pm

Great report and pics, love the moody final photo, yet to do this group, but look forward to them, regards Sue :D
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Re: Skiddaw

Postby Paul Webster » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:39 am

I think Wainwright reckoned the view south from Skiddaw Little Man was the best in the Lakes. It certainly has more depth than the view from Skiddaw, with steeper slopes dropping in the foreground. And a fairly glorious view it is.
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Re: Skiddaw

Postby mountain coward » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:17 am

Great report - one of my favourite fells and my 'local' when I'm staying in my caravan behind Skiddaw! :D The Ullock Pike/Longside Ridge is the best route up Skiddaw without a doubt. I usually go up that way and then, either drop down to Skiddaw House Hostel and back through the valley to the North via Dash Falls, or along the summit ridge to the North Summit and down over Bakestall. It's then 1/4 mile on the road and then footpaths back to your start. You can also drop down from the North Summit to Barkbethdale and then Southerdale which is a shorter route but extremely pretty. Yet another descent from around the area of the North Summit is down Randalls Crag - the nearest Skiddaw has to any crag... it's pretty steep and better in ascent really.
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Re: Skiddaw

Postby pic4186 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:32 pm

Thanks MC - I thought that route up Longside Ridge looked a cracker.
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