7th December 2008

Battling the wind on Skiddaw


Walk Overview
Time 10.20 to 14.10
Duration 3 hr 40 min
Distance 7 mile
Ascent 2500 ft
Walking with Andrew and Anne Leaney
Gale Road - Jenkin Hill - Skiddaw Little Man - Skiddaw - Jenkin Hill - Gale Road
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, bottom of Gale Road

You might be tempted to ask why I'd want to park at the bottom of Gale Road when there's a perfectly good car park at the top. Well, anyone who's tried to drive to the top after a few nights of hard frost will know exactly why.

Having been caught out in the past trying to drive up the icy road. Now I don't even try if conditions in the valley are frosty.


Route Map

Looking across to Great Mell Fell, Little Mell Fell and Clough Head, all with a fast retreating snow line.

And from the same place, looking in the opposite direction. The high fell in the distance is Grisedale Pike.


Sunshine at the bottom of the reconstructed path up Skiddaw. At this stage you'd be forgiven for thinking it was going to be a relatively easy / calm walk up here today. How wrong you'd be. Conditions took a turn for the worse along the higher section of the walk - read on !

Derwent Water, Keswick and the north western fells.

Heading up Jenkin Hill; a long, unforgiving climb which definitely gets no easier with familiarity.
With the wind picking up and the temperature dropping, this was about as far as I got before I needed to put a wind proof jacket and gloves on.

And then Skiddaw Little Man comes into view. That's the fell not the bloke walking in front of us.

This marks the spot where the fence leading to Lonscale Fell crosses our path. It also marks the place where we turned off the main route and headed up Skiddaw Little Man.

Winter conditions indeed, and in light of what we were heading into, it was definitely time to put on a full set of winter gear. The extra jacket was put on top of the windproof, the thin gloves were swapped for the extreme weather mittens, a hat was put on and pulled firmly down over my ears.

Andrew battling against the wind.

The lower of the two tops on Skiddaw Little Man. It was far too windy to mess about with a camera on the higher point.

Bowscale Fell, Mungrisedale Common, Blencathra and Lonscale Fell.

Skiddaw Little Man.

Sitting on the ground to get a picture of Skiddaw's trig point.
Well, what can I say about the conditions up here? I've been out on the fells on some windy days before, but I think this walk across the summit ridge takes the prize for intensity. The cross wind was just incredibly consistent, with no let up or gusts at all. Add this to the poor visibility and the snow drifts we had to wade through and you end up with an extremely hostile environment indeed. Had it not been for the fact that I was with another experienced walker, I would not have carried on this far.
Strange as it may seem, but despite the struggle to walk in the direction I wanted to go in, the most difficult thing was trying stop my hat being blown off. Perhaps its time to buy a hat that fastens under my chin.

Just about back to normality. This shows how deep the snow had drifted in certain places.

Heading along the lower path below Skiddaw Little Man.

Lakeland in grey.

A final view back up to Skiddaw Little Man.

It's hard to believe I was walking over there yesterday in perfect blue sky and sunshine.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks