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by 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: 12/08/2009Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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 ...
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.
The views from Little Man are just as good as those from Skiddaw - a different perspective of course being a bit further south.
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.
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.
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!
by susanmyatt » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:12 pm
by Paul Webster » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:39 am
- mountain coward
by pic4186 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:32 pm