Slipping up on Skiddaw

Wainwrights: Bakestall, Carl Side, Long Side, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man, Ullock Pike
Hewitts: Carl Side, Long Side, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man

Date walked: 24/09/2017

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 14km

Ascent: 1098m

Having not been to the Northern Fells a great deal in recent years I decided that a trip to the lonely wastes behind Skiddaw was in order for this outing so Hughie and I set off nice and early to make sure I got a place at the small parking area at High Side. Once we arrived it turned out I could have stayed in bed a while longer as I was the first car there, I squeezed into edge to allow as many cars as possible to join me and started to boot up. The forecast was for high cloud and that's exactly what we found on a grey morning but with all the fell tops clear, one thing that wasn't quite forecast was the wind that was ripping up the lane asking questions as to just what it would be like at 3,000ft :think: Listening to such thoughts is normally prudent but instead I listened to the "it's just a local effect that the wind is so strong here" and set of across the fields towards Ullock Pike.

Having not been out in the hills for about six weeks the steepness of the initial pull up to the Birkett of the Watches was quite a shock to the system but once the I got going I felt quite good and soon the strange collection of boulders on this minor top came and went and I set off up The Edge.

ImageOn the way up to Watches by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageUllock Pike from Watches by Anthony Young, on Flickr

One thing I had noticed so far was some unusual clouds forming to the North, nothing threatening unless you took them to be hostile alien invasion craft but worthy of mention. The wind that had been very strong back at the car park wasn't really an issue but the mass of fell side ahead was likely shielding me from the worst. This is a fine route and as you gain height the views start to open up nicely as the ridge steepens up to Ullock Pike's summit. It was one of the steeper sections that a hint of the wind was encountered as I was almost blown off a minor scramble :shock:
Taking more care I continued to the blowy top to take in the superb views especially towards Borrowdale, a true Lakeland classic.

ImageStrange clouds forming the back'o Skidda by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageDerwent Water from Ullock Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageAlong the Ridge to Longside Edge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSkiddaw's bulk seen from Longside Edge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Ullock pike is not really a true individual fell but the last top on the ridge that curves away north from the bulk of Carlside. This being the case the walk to the next Wainwright of Longside Edge is a lovely easy stroll with super views, at least it normally is when the wind isn't attempting to blast you into Bassenthwaite but I managed to push my way to the top where the wind was approaching "not able to stand" levels. You might be wondering about Hughie in all of this, was I flying him as a kite? No small dogs close to the ground don't get as affected by wind as people so bad hair day apart he was fine.

Very windy on Longside Edge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBack to Ullock Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageStruggling to stand up at Longside Edge Summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

A bit of an ordeal was had getting to Carlside summit with the gentle gradient feeling a lot steeper into the force of the blast. It was noticeable that even with streaming eyes the wind wasn't quite as strong here, by the time I reached the screes of Skiddaw it had reduced to a far more manageable level and it was calm at the col with Little man with the fell providing shelter. Buoyed by the relief of not getting blasted by the wind we romped up Skiddaw's Smaller brother to take in AW's favourite view in the district.

ImageCarlside Summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageA windblown Carlside Tarn by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking back to the Edges from Skiddaw's screes by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSkiddaw Little Man summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

The wind was manageable on Little Man, either it was dropping or the topography of the fell was deflecting the worst so I decided I had no doubts about heading up Skiddaw, it's not as if I could be blown off a precipice up there :) . I did pause to wonder if I should take in Lonscale Fell as well as a there and back before heading up Skiddaw but decided against it. With hindsight given I finished the walk quite a bit quicker than I expected perhaps I should have.
Still I didn't so turned tail and tromped up the motorway that has formed over the years up Skiddaw, easy peasy with the wind at my back. By now I was starting to see a few other walkers but by the end of the day I only crossed paths with half a dozen at most, so much for the overcrowded fells of Lakeland :o . Summit reached I took a few photos and found a nice sheltered spot for lunch.

ImageBlencathra and Lonscale Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageTowards the Hellvelyn Range by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageOn the motorway up Skiddaw by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLittle Man and Derwent Water by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBassenthwaite from Skiddaw summit ridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageOn the way to Skiddaw Summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageEpic Hughie shot by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSkiddaw Summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageFrom the Viewpoint indicator to Bassenthwaite by Anthony Young, on Flickr

I took my time over lunch given it was just about all down hill from here, previously with Nicola and Grace we'd contoured around Barkbethdale and returned to the car that way but this time I wanted to take in Bakestall and the Birkett of Cockup on the way back. To say the walk to Bakestall from Skiddaw is easy is an understatement given the total ascent must be less than ten meters and the remainder a gentle down hill trudge.

ImageSkiddaw from Broad End by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Lonscale Fell from the descent to Bakestall by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBakestall Summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Fells from Bakestall by Anthony Young, on Flickr

For all that it required minimum effort Bakestall still provides good views of the wilderness behind the Northern Fells famous duo of Blencathra and Skiddaw. The next task was finding my way to Cockup which required some rough going to make it around the head of Dead Beck but soon the inevitable baggers path came underfoot as we made our way up to this lonely top.

ImageLayers by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe joy of reaching the last top of the day by Anthony Young, on Flickr

For all it's unremarkable grassyness Cockup provided a very nice place for a sit and munch on a few more rations, the wind was light here and it very pleasant sat in total silence apart from the odd distant sheep bleat and Hughie acting like an idiot rubbing himself on the grass. I'd made good time so didn't hurry off but once I did and started my way down the grassy slopes I slipped and did an impromptu splits :wtf: causing a sharp pull in my left thigh. I got up and brushed myself down and continued with my leg feeling a little sore.

ImageDescending Cockup by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImagePath to Melbecks by Anthony Young, on Flickr

It was fortunately an easy return to the car through the fields and along the lane to High Side. As things turned out this was my last Lakes outing of 2017 with the slip induced injury lingering for far longer than I would have liked.

ImageLooking back to Ullock Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSurvivors by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageUllock Pike and tree by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageA hint of Autumn by Anthony Young, on Flickr

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Comments: 4

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User avatar
Location: County Durham
Occupation: General dogsbody
Interests: Walking (Who would have guessed), photography and playing Guitar.
Activity: Walker
Pub: Moulin Inn
Mountain: Blaven
Place: Isle of Skye
Gear: Boots
Member: None
Camera: Canon EOS400d
Ideal day out: Ridge walk without to much exposure.
Ambition: Too keep climbing hills

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Corbetts: 9
Grahams: 10
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