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Skiddaw and a few more.
by trailmasher » Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:31 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Bakestall, Lonscale Fell, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man
Hewitts included on this walk: Lonscale Fell, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man
Date walked: 27/10/2015
Time taken: 5.1
Distance: 17.34 km
Ascent: 1266m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Its 6am on Tuesday morning and after a restful night at Keswick YH all is quiet as we got dressed and went for a wander around Keswick to enjoy the peace of the streets and get some fresh air whilst looking for a seller of a much needed coffee. Everywhere is closed just now but the Co-op promises to be open at 7:00 am so that'll have to do. The day has started off dry, mild and cloudy but with plenty of blue around and the sun is just about to make an appearance. There are early morning joggers and doggie walkers in the park with the odd person scurrying about as they make their way to work.
We are back at the Co-op loitering about like three alcoholics waiting for the pub to open its doors and we are first in the as the doors are unlocked to allow us to purchase our first caffeine rush of the day. We are back at the hostel by 7:30am when the dining room doors should be open, but they're not as further evidence of a few other guests waiting to get in prove. Ten minutes later the doors are open, 20 minutes after that we are climbing in the car to head off to the car park which lies at the north and higher foot of Latrigg. The easiest way to get there is by leaving Keswick by driving down the A5271 to the A66 roundabout and crossing straight over to the A591 from where the second road on the right is the best access to Applethwaite as the one through Ormathwaite requires a very sharp turn right at a V junction and can be awkward if there is any other traffic about. The road is fairly good until just before the Water Works is reached when it turns into a spring busting slalom drive around the many large potholes that are in the tarmac. The road is fairly steep as we approach the better than the road large car park with its usual overnight camper van parked up. If anyone didn't want to go any further than here they would still get a great view of the surrounding fells that may satisfy their visit to the Lake District, if not, then a short stroll along the paths going north towards Lonscale Fell or east onto the grassy fell above the plantation - which is currently being thinned out - or the easy climb up the grass of Latrigg's north face should suffice.
Thirty minutes after leaving the hostel we are booted up with bags on backs and heading north along the path through the first field to pass through the gate and along to the next one from where we access the open fell just below the Howell Monument which is of Celtic design and dedicated to three shepherds of Lonscale and all from the same family.
From this point the graft of toiling up Jenkin Hill begins. The track is wide, stony, and steep as it works its way northwest up the hill sometimes with a zig zag or two to ease the gradient but mostly direct and only easing off as it approaches the easier slopes above the head of How Gill. As we look back we can see the car park filling up and a line of walkers following on way behind us of which most will be doing the tourist trip of getting to the summit of Skiddaw and then returning by the same route. Fortunately for them, and us, it’s a good weather day with blue skies and sunshine for now. It's perfect walking weather, ideal for a walk up this hill as the usual sweat drenched body is holding a nice steady warmth on this occasion.
Before reaching the gate at the top of Jenkin Hill we came upon a young couple who had two children with them - a boy and a girl - and the lady enquired if there was a different way of getting back to the car park without dropping down the scree path to Carl Side and then to the main road and the long walk back along the tarmac road to Applethwaite and Latrigg car park. They weren't lost but as the OS map doesn't show a route off down to Bakestall and beyond they weren't sure if there was a route down that way. Maybe the OS maps need updating? She pulled out her map and I pointed the way from the OS column on Skiddaw to Bakestall and the Cumbria Way which is where we were eventually heading for. Past Skiddaw House and then just about where the two old sheepfolds are keep straight ahead on the old quarry road - still the Cumbria Way - and underneath Lonscale Fell to eventually arrive back at the car park. This they did as we kept our eye on them to make sure that they didn't go wrong.
Upon reaching the aforementioned gate instead of passing through it and walking on the long easy stretch of path we continued on our northwest course to climb up the easy and well made path to reach the lower summit - or Lesser Man -
of Little Man with its cairn of the local slate material and old iron fencing poking out of it. As can be expected the views east, south, and west are far reaching whilst the northern aspect is blocked by the great bulk of Skiddaw itself.
From here it is just a short walk past the miniscule 'tarn' and yet another climb to attain the summit of Skiddaw Little Man proper but a much smaller cairn in height than the last one. Sprawling and made of the same type of slate and old iron this one has the addition of an empty bottle of some kind of lager or wine adorning the top.
Looking north we can now see the long ridge line of Skiddaw itself whilst further west Carl Side, Longside Edge, and Ullock Pike have come into view.
Leaving Little Man we continued north downhill following the wire fence maintaining a steady pace on the still good and stony path and then taking the short rise up to reach the intersection of paths where we meet the main path which rises up from the fence just below and to our right. We kept to our original direction climbing up the fairly steep and rough, loose, rocky path to reach the south cairn from where we walked north along the wide ridge with its scattered low stone shelters until finally arriving at the OS column that marks the 931 metre high summit.
It's quite windy up here now and blowing cold despite the blue sky and sun casting its welcome rays upon us with quite a few people now putting on extra layers as we look for a vacant shelter to rest and re-fuel after the climb to the summit. Once again it's hazy and frustrating as although the views are tremendous from up here today the haze is like looking at the mountains through a slightly soft lens filter and as I don't use Photoshop what you see is what you get I'm afraid.
As there are a good few people around plus these two hogging the trig point all the shelters are occupied due to the cold wind so we decide to move off and head for Bakestall…
continuing north still on good paths and passing over Gibralter Crag on our left until reaching the fence once again which we now follow all the way down to Bakestall and Whitewater Dash which is at the side of the Cumbria Way.
Don't be fooled by the fair sized cairn which sits on the head of Broad End by thinking that it is Bakestall summit as there is a fair way to go yet before that is reached. As the bottom of Broad End is reached the ground levels out somewhat and just off the path on the left hand side there are a couple of tumbledown sheepfolds where we found the family of four who was earlier asking us for an alternative route off Skiddaw. This is also where we stopped for our lunch not as though Rob can be hungry and I find it amazing that someone can walk, talk, and eat constantly, especially going uphill. We checked on the couple to see if they were alright to which they replied in the positive but just needed reassurance on the way to go. Out came the map again and after pointing out the dangers of children running about on the top of Bakestall and its proximity to Dead Crags and the wet area at the bottom of the fell they were on their way once again after Chris had doled out Mars bars to the children. Both Rob and I was amazed at this very noble and generous gesture from a man who can put his very short arms into very deep pockets and peel an orange whilst unashamedly looking you in the face.
Leaving the comfort of our four star sheepfold we once again take the path which by now is mostly over the rough moorland type of grass and take the easy slope up to Bakestall summit and its small cairn but with big views over the back of Skiddaw fells, Bassenthwaite, Great Calva, and down the valley along the Cumbria Way.
As well as the main path from Bakestall summit there is another narrow one that heads off down towards the edge of Dead Crags and though in good condition care must be taken as a slip would result in dire consequences. If in doubt it's better to take the more direct path leading back to the fence to follow it quite steeply downhill on grass where the bottom few metres prior to reaching the Cumbria Way is quite wet, muddy, and slippery.
We arrived at the gate which is across the wide track of the Cumbria Way with Whitewater Dash Falls more or less opposite and under the fence and track that heads steeply uphill to the top of Little Calva. We are not going to Little Calva but are going to continue along the CW for some 2 kilometres passing Skiddaw House Youth Hostel on the way. The CW is wide and stony for almost all its length and is easy and quick to move along as Rob did as he took off at great speed using it as a training run for his next Tough Mud Runner event 'Men's Health Survival of the Fittest', a 10km obstacle course that is being held at the Etihad Stadium and surrounding areas in Manchester. He's been wearing a calorie counter ever since we set off and despite everything that has passed his lips so far today he is burning them up at great speed. As we walk - or run - along the Way we are surrounded by a wide open landscape of pink flower tinted brown heather and the lighter brown of the rough grass with Great Calva to the northeast of us, Blencathra and Mungrisedale Common is east and looking south we see our next objective, Lonscale Fell.
Apart from two or three cyclists we didn't meet anyone on our walk to Skiddaw House where Rob was waiting for us parked up under the notice board which relates the history of the Youth Hostel plus other snippets of useful information.
As we leave the hostel behind the track takes us south west along a much wetter stretch until we eventually arrive at a double gate which is adjoining an old dry stone wall that runs up the steady incline of Burnt Horse. This is where we change direction and follow the faint, grassy path south alongside the old wall and fence until the wall terminates at a wire fence which will then accompany us the rest of the way to the summit of Lonscale Fell.
Once again 'Rocket Man' takes off to leave Chris and I in his humble wake and we only meet him again at the end of the ridge when he is looking for directions for his next manly show of fitness.
We followed the fence as the path climbed steadily until it levelled out as we gained the ground above the unnamed crags which overlooks a large comb and the east side of Blencathra's Blease Fell and further round can be seen the tops of Clough Head and Great Dodd.
I have been here before but it's always a pleasure to walk along this short but elevated ridge with its panoramic views across the valley.
As we leave this fine little ridge we dropped down to reach a stile over a wire fence…
and as I looked at what lay ahead I thought to myself 'this'll slow the sod up' as we now have a very steep climb up the grassy fell side of which the only advantage is the accompanying fence with which one can drag oneself laboriously upwards and on inspecting the wire it can be seen that apart from marking boundaries that has been its primary purpose.
Off we go onwards and upwards with Rob once again taking the lead, he's flying up, he can't be human, and by the time I take out my seldom used poles he is nearly out of sight and I can fair see the calories falling off him, damn. Chris and I plod along and as we reach the top of the lessening slope we crossed the next fence and gained the summits small cairn and looking forward we see Rob has made his way to the overhanging, pointed, but unnamed crag and at 703 metres is not much lower than the 715 metre high flat and boring grass covered apology of a summit on such a fine fell as this. The lower spot would make a far better summit as position and qualities are far superior with the advantage of better views over the distant fells in all directions, with Keswick and Derwent Water seen surrounded by the many mountains of the district. Looking back to Skiddaw we see that it is now cloaked in mist as is the top of Blencathra.
Rob strolls back to us as we take a rest, food and drink before all three of us walk down to the lower crag, retracing our steps to the low fence and then walking down across the deep heather covered fell south until we met the remains of an old fence where nothing remains only rotten fence posts that are nearly buried in the heather and grass. Upon arriving at it we followed the line of it west until reaching a large wooden corner fence post, the only one that is still standing and is at the head of a dried up, shallow gully which has the makings of an old path running down it. The path is fairly steep and stony with overhanging bracken along its rock and grass covered sides and care had to be taken as the underfoot conditions are hard to see sometimes due to a covering of grass, thistles and such like plants.
But it takes us unerringly down to nearly meet White Beck on our right until we reached yet another wire fence which forced our passage along it and fighting our way through - in some places - two metre high bracken of which I am always wary of walking through due to a chance of getting grabbed by a tick or two.
After a good few metres of this we arrived at White Beck where it crosses the Cumbria Way and once again we are on the wide track that now takes us directly back to the car park. Despite the plod up Jenkin Hill this has been a good walk taking in four decent fells or mountains in good weather that has been both sunny and cloudy at times. There was a cold, strong breeze on Skiddaw and with no shelter it moved us on to lower and less windy climes. Apart from the wind it has been perfect walking weather with no sweat on the brows today apart perhaps from Rob after his burst of energy on his way up to Lonscale Fell.
Yes, we could have accessed Lonscale Fell from halfway up Jenkin Hill but as we were also fitting in Bakestall and Chris and Rob have never been over the back of Skiddaw before I felt that it would be more educational for them to do the circuit rather than return from Bakestall and climb back up onto Skiddaw for a return journey over previously walked ground.
by thefallwalker » Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:04 pm
my generosity is only bettered by my good looks
see ya a week on sunday bud and finally getting my ample derriere up sca fall pike!!
by The English Alpinist » Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:11 pm
by trailmasher » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:19 pm
my generosity is only bettered by my good looks
see ya a week on sunday bud and finally getting my ample derriere up sca fall pike!!
Mmm! Generosity v good looks, have to think about that one and there are ample shots of your ample derriere going into the distance
by trailmasher » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:22 pm
The English Alpinist wrote:Great route, great photos.
Thank you TEP yes a great walk but a bit of a slog up Jenkin Hill and plod along the Cumbria Way but there is plenty to look at on the way through. And like I posted, a hazy day doesn't make for good photos Thanks again
by ChrisW » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:12 am
by trailmasher » Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:54 pm
ChrisW wrote:Top drawer report TM and lovely pics to accompany it Your 'Spring busting slalom drive' had me remembering my trip to Mayer & Driesh when a brand new Pirelli P6 was killed by a pothole...it was literally a few days on the car it didn't ruin the day but it still galls me years later
Thanks once again Chris much appreciated I once lost an exhaust in similar conditions that cost an arm and a leg to replace as it broke off at the manifold Re the pics, I'm using a Nikon now but doesn't seem to give as clear an image as the Panasonic Lumix so may have to invest in another one