Sheep and Skiddaw

Skiddaw from Caermote Hill

Height: 3053 feet above sea level

Volume: Book 5 (The Northern Fells)

Skiddaw from Skiddaw House

Skiddaw viewed from Skiddaw House. Picture taken on walk 50, Jan 2012.

Date climbed: First visit: 20th July 2009 (walk 2).

Second visit: 2nd January 2019 (walk 156).

Bagged as number:First round: 5 out of 330. [ << Carl Side (4)   (6) Skiddaw Little Man >> ]

Second round: 177 of 330. [ << Skiddaw Little Man (176)  (178) Bakestall >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: First visit: Approached from Carl Side, up the west slope; though it cannot really be called a ‘ridge’. Descended down the tourist path to Keswick, though taking in Skiddaw Little Man on the way.

Skiddaw range viewed from King's How

The Skiddaw range and Derwentwater viewed from King’s How. L-R: Ullock Pike (with Dodd in front), Long Side, Carl Side, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man and Lonscale Fell (with Latrigg in front).

Second visit: Came up from the Little Man (having started in Threlkeld). Descended to the north, down to Bakestall.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 6 of his chapter): “[Skiddaw is] a giant in stature. But an affable and friendly giant. And a benevolent one. Keswick people have an inborn affection for Skiddaw, and it is well earned. The mountain makes a great contribution to the scenic beauty of this most attractively-situated town, shelters it from northerly gales, supplies it with pure water, feeds its sheep, and provides a recreation ground for its visitors…”

Skiddaw summit

Skiddaw summit

What I say: Skiddaw is the fourth highest mountain in Lakeland – and in England – overtopped only by Helvellyn, Scafell and Scafell Pike. It should not be underestimated, despite the fact that it is generally smooth rather than craggy. AW warns about the ‘arctic’ conditions on the top, even in summer, and on our first visit this certainly was true; standing on the summit, there is no higher ground northwards for over 200 miles until you reach the Scottish highlands, and it shows. If anything, the conditions were milder when I returned in January.

It was a good summit to reach, as the final pull up a seemingly endless, and convex, scree slope very much tries the patience. You feel like you’ve earned it once you’re up there. However, the view is better from the nearby Skiddaw Little Man, and I also think that the long haul up the rather dull-seeming tourist path from Keswick cannot be as good an approach as the one we did (Longside Edge), the rewards of which just about made the boring bits worthwhile.

Climbing the tourist path

Coming up the tourist path from Keswick, Derwentwater below.

All the same, we should value places like this which are hard to reach and do not, and never will have, a road, elevator or helipad on them. Getting over 3,000 feet by the sweat of one’s brow has to be worth doing once in a while.

[ << Silver How      Skiddaw Little Man >> ]


One Response to “Skiddaw”

  1. […] wasn’t going to happen. Instead, walk 156 took me from Threlkeld up Lonscale Fell and onto Skiddaw, at 3053 feet above sea level the fourth highest mountain in the Lake District and England. Well […]

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