When you’ve booked a random day off to go walking it’s great when the weather turns out nice and you pick a place with suitable scenery to match.
This happened the other day when I planned to visit Skiddaw, which at 931m above sea level is England’s fourth highest mountain (I realise this isn’t much of claim to fame).
So in shorts and t-shirt (in March!) and the temperature about 16C off we trotted up the side on a very obvious path. It was very steep from the outset but the path was very dry and sure. I climbed up with my uncle who hadn’t done much hill walking for sometime so there were frequent stops to ‘admire the view’. The view was pretty great with Keswick just below the mountain and Derwent Water the lake you can see. We were buzzed by a low-flying Tornado, which skimmed through the valley and over the lake, and the path was often flanked by Herdwick sheep. No lambs with them yet.
The climb was quite tough and included a number of ‘false’ peaks – where you think you’ve reached the top only to find that it’s not actually the top. The first is actually a peak itself and the cairn on top seemed to held together but a jumble of metal as you may be able to make out from the image below.
This peak is known as Little Man and at 865m is still quite high. The views down to Keswick and across Derwent Water were excellent. It’s amazing how quickly it gets quiet the higher you climb. We’d passed a few older people on the way up who were probably in there 60-70s and had their own pace going but would still make the top. I so hope I’m able to still be walking at that age.
The summit of Skiddaw has three or four small humps and down the North Western edge is a huge valley up which swirl forming clouds that breeze ethereally over the summit. It’s quite amazing really to be in sunshine and cloud at the same time.
At the summit there was the usual mixture of Trig points, way markers, cairns, shelters and walkers lunching. The way marker showed some of the other peaks that could be seen on a clear day, even as far as the Solway Firth, but there was too much cloud around for that. We were above a massive bank of cloud that was heading down from Scotland though.
After a quick stop for half a buttie and a coffee we head down the North Eastern side to pick up the Cumbria Way and the route back along the valley which has Glenderaterra Beck at the bottom. This took in the youth hostel at Skiddaw House which was very remote and only opened at Easter.
In total it was about 10 miles and took about 4.5 hours and was a fantastic walk.