31st May 2010

Not just the top of Skiddaw


Walk Overview
Time 08.15 to 13.45
Duration 5 hr 30 min
Distance 12 mile
Ascent 3600 ft
Walking with On my own
Gale Road - Skiddaw Little Man - Skiddaw - Bakestall - Dash Beck - Skiddaw House - Glendaratarra Beck - Blencathra Centre - Derwent Folds - Latrigg - Gale Road
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, at the top of Gale Road, Latrigg

This is a popular starting point for those wishing to take the so called tourist route up Skiddaw. Personally I feel that it offers far more choices than this. Not only is it handy for Skiddaw itself, but the adjoining fells are all within easy reach. If this isn't enough choice then you could also head onto Blencathra, Mungrisedale Common or the more adventurous could even head as far as the Back O'skiddaw fells.

The car park is free, but most of the time it does get pretty full.

A word of warning: This is somewhere to avoid during icy conditions. Those who have experienced this will know why!


Route Map

The question I had to ask myself today, was where should I walk on a sunny bank holiday without getting overwhelmed by the crowds. The answer I came up with would have been the wrong one if I'd set off later in the day, but luckily I managed to work the time and the route so that I only met about a dozen other people.
It wasn't until I got back to the car, and a scene of utter madness, that there was any indication it was a bank holiday at all.

Passing the Harwell monument on route to the 'tourist route' up Skiddaw.

A nice clear view across to the north western fells.

Zooming in on Keswick and Derwent Water.

Unforgiving springs to mind on the walk up here.

A Skiddaw Little Man view of Derwent Water, Keswick, Portinscale, Braithwaite and lots of fells.

A hazy view across to Lonscale Fell and Blencathra.

Heading across the summit ridge with Ullock Pike and Bassenthwaite Lake below me.

I may not have had the earliest of starts this morning, but it was still soon enough to let me have Skiddaw summit to myself.

Following the fence down to Bakestall.

Bakestall summit.

Still at the summit and looking back up towards Skiddaw.

A close up of Dash Farm.

Cotton Grass providing a foreground for a picture across to Dash Farm and Brockle Crag.

A little further along and here's a more open picture looking in the same direction as the previous photo. This time you can see Dead Crags on the left of the picture and Binsey in the distance.

It certainly wasn't as hot as the scorcher we enjoyed last weekend, but it was still very pleasant walking to Skiddaw House.

And now looking back along the track, with Great Calva up on the right hand side.

Long distance to Carrock Fell.

Skiddaw House.


Looking back to Skiddaw House, Skiddaw and Bakestall.

Crossing Roughten Gill.

Rather than head straight across the Lonscale Crags route I thought I'd add a little more distance onto the walk by turning off and heading to the Blencathra Centre.

The view ahead showed that the advancing cloud had almost reached this area of the Lakes. But I can't complain really; I'd been out all day and enjoyed sunshine for almost every minute of it so far.

Looking across to Latrigg.

A glance back towards Lonscale Fell, taken just before I rounded the corner near the Blencathra Centre.

Derwentfolds, ,

, , and the track leading to, ,

, , Glenderatarra Beck.

Well, I'm almost back where I started, and if I'd taken the track you can see here, it would have lead me straight back to the car. Instead, I headed onto the top of Latrigg.

Keswick and Derwent Water, taken from Latrigg.

What an idiot !!
If you've never been here before you might be thinking I'm being a bit nasty. If on the other hand you have been here before you'll know I'm right.

As they drove past me all I could hear was the sound of pots, pans and broken crockery rattling around inside the caravan. At that point, I actually felt sorry for them because I thought they were lost. Then came the annoying bit. I've no idea why, but the guy walking beside the car felt the need to tell me they were looking for somewhere free to park up for the night. He wasn't amused when I said "what's wrong with paying for a caravan site like everyone else." and "It might be cheaper than replacing everything you've just smashed on the way up here". I know you shouldn't laugh at other peoples misfortunes, but in this case I had no sympathy at all.

Then the plot thickened!
There was another idiot who had drove up behind the caravan. This one decided that the field full of sheep just past the the car park would make an ideal spot to pitch for the night. He swung the gate open and started giving instructions where to park the caravan. While this was going on, both myself and another clearly annoyed guy made our way up to the gate. When I started to close the gate; with them still in the field, idiot number two asked what I was doing. I told him "you're not supposed to be in there, because it's farmland, and even if you were you could at least close the gate before those animals get onto the road." When the other guy joined in and said he was phoning the police and then making his way across to the farm at Lonscale to let them know what was going on, they grudgingly moved out of the field and back onto the car park ready to survey the damage they'd done to the caravan.

Bank Holiday madness at it's worst.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks