SKIDDAW via LONSCALE FELL returning via BROAD END, BAKESTALL & SKIDDAW HOUSE

 


Summary

Date - 13th September 2009 Distance - 13.5miles
Ascent - 5076ft
Map - OL4 Start point - Latrigg car park (NY 281254)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Lonscale Pike 2306 703 NY 2888 2728
Lonscale Fell 2344 715 NY 2854 2717
Jenkin Hill 2411 735 NY 2743 2746
Lesser Man on Skiddaw 2674 815 NY 2686 2758
Little Man on Skiddaw 2837 865 NY 2667 2779
South Top of Skiddaw 3034 925 NY 2604 2857
Middle Top of Skiddaw 3044 928 NY 2606 2882
High Man on Skiddaw 3053 931 NY 2604 2908
North Top of Skiddaw 3024 922 NY 2606 2923
Broad End 2726 831 NY 2609 2984
Bakestall 2208 673 NY 2664 3074
Latrigg 1207 368 NY 2788 2468

 

Preface

"It looks like it's going to be good weather on Sunday", remarked Shaun.

"I guess we will be walking, but I wonder where Dad is planning to take us", mused Grizzly.

"We'll soon know, as I heard Allen asking Dad", replied Little Eric.

Just then he came rushing in, very excited indeed, and shouting "great great great!"

"Now just sit a minute and calm down, so that you can tell us without having to gasp for breath", said Tetley.

He did just that, then, more calmly continued. "We are going to climb Skiddaw and a number of other tops on that ridge, which will be great as Little Eric and I will bag no less than 12 tops we have not done before." He continued again. "It will be a big catch-up for me both for Wainwrights and Birkett tops.

"Dad said too, that we will be doing Lonscale Pike and Broad End, both tops none of us have done before", Allen said finally.

"It will be similar to the walk Dad took Tetley, Grizzly and I, on in July 2004, so it will be quite a challenging day, but I can't wait", said Shaun

Roll on Sunday we all agreed.

 

The Walk

Dad knew that the car park at the start fills up quickly, so we had to be up and off soon after 07.00. As we drove along the A66 the cloud was down on Blencathra but seemed to be lifting and the prospects for weather was good. There was cloud over Skiddaw summit, but by the time we reached there, around midday, it had lifted off, affording good views. It was however a bit colder than forecast, and so clad in shorts and jumper, Dad was a bit chilled as the winds were strong on the summits. However he is made of stern stuff.

As Dad got ready, we settled in the rucksack eager to be off. While he was making final preparations, we sat looking up towards where we were going, albeit by a more roundabout route.

From the car park a clear path signed Skiddaw, led along by the fence. Almost immediately we left the tourist path, and all the other walkers too, to plough a lonely furrow along the Cumbria Way. There was nearly a stand off with a line of sheep coming in the opposite direction, but finally they broke off to the left, leaving our route clear.

Descending we forded Whit Beck, climbing steadily below Lonscale Fell to reach the gate in the fence. Before this we had stopped to enjoy the wonderful views across to the hills defined by Alfred Wainwright as the North Western Fells.

"Oh that is just magic", cried Little Eric.

"Please take some pictures", implored Allen.

The following two shots are the result -

These are the fells that comprise what is known as the Coledale Round. From the left - Rowling End leading up to Causey Pike, Scar Crags, Sail, Eel Crag with Grasmoor behind. Then to the right Hopegill Head with Grizedale Pike (you can see the clear path that ascends this fell). Finally in the centre from left to right are Barrow, Stile End and Outerside.

To the left is Hindscarth rising from the ridge of Scope End and to its right Robinson. We recalled the fantastic day we had had in July climbing these. In the background is Kirk Fell between Hindscarth & Robinson, and to the right, Pillar.

We then turned our eyes to the south, where Dad got this atmospheric shot of High Rigg, backed by the massive bulk of Helvellyn.

Now where were we? Oh yes, at the gate in the fence. We passed through this, and then abandoned the Cumbria Way, to climb left by the fence. It was 1100ft to the top of Lonscale Pike, and the ascent was unremittingly steep, never easing in gradient all the way to the summit! Were we glad to be in the rucksack. As we have all now done this top, Dad vowed not to go up here again. Dad did take a few rests on the climb, which enabled us to look again at the magnificent scenery.

"Is that Derwentwater over there?", enquired Little Eric.

"Yes", replied Allen knowingly.

"What a wonderful view", said Grizzly. "It will make a great picture for our story."

So here is Derwentwater with the fells High Spy, Maiden Moor and Catbells above it. Behind these are Dale Head and Hindscarth. The prominent distant top is Great Gable with to its left the slopes leading to Scafell.

Well after all the effort getting to Lonscale Pike, we thought it was worth including our picture by the cairn.

This is in fact known as the East Peak and stands above the precipitous Lonscale Crags. It is not however the highest point on the fell. To reach this we walked to the fence and once over the stile a short and gentle climb brought us to Lonscale Fell summit cairn. Now the next phase of the walk was laid out before us.

This shows the cairn on Lonscale Fell, and behind you can see the fence line that we followed rising up the next top Jenkin Hill. From here a short descent brought us to the tourist path, which crosses left to right behind Jenkin Hill. Again we ignored this, instead climbing ahead on the steep clear path that led to the summit of Lesser Man on Skiddaw, and then a little more gently to Little Man on Skiddaw whose summit at this time was obscured by mist. It is quite a fantastic cairn on Lesser Man, with the wood and twisted metal besides the stone. We scrambled out in the furious wind and hung in there for our obligatory picture.

A gentleman was walking with two youngsters and had reached Lesser Man before them. He saw Dad photographing us. He enquired about us and Dad explained. Then he asked if it was all right to take our picture. We are never shy as far as this is concerned! In fact this was to be the first of a number of people enquiring about us and asking to take our picture. We hope we did not get too full of ourselves, but Dad did mention our website to some of the people.

Now finally our ultimate objective was clearly in view.

Descending from Little Man on the clear path, and joining finally the tourist route, we made the ascent to Skiddaw, with all the other tiny "Lowry" figures you can see in the above shot. Its top is in fact a stony undulating ridge exceeding 3000ft throughout its length of almost half a mile. It has four tops - south, middle, main and north all in a line and connected by a pavement of slaty stones. Despite the strongly blowing wind, we posed for our pictures on each of the tops. The main summit is called High Man where the trig point occupies the highest point.

You will notice the brown envelope taped to the trig point. It was actually addressed to someone. We wonder if he got there to collect it?

More fine views were to be had from here, none more so than that of Bassenthwaite Lake. This is in fact truly the only lake in the Lake District. We hear you say, "how can that be?". Well, all the others are either Waters or Meres. E.g. Crummock Water, Windermere etc.

Such were the superb views we had enjoyed all day, we reflected just how lucky we are!!!

Skiddaw now done, we descended steeply to the north col, heading for the wide flat expanse of Broad End-very aptly named. It was a bit tricky to find the top, as there are a few cairns dotted about, but the GPS gave some assistance and we hopped out again and sat on the cairn.

Looking back we could see the steep final ascent to the north top.

"I bet you're glad we do not to have to walk up back up there", said Tetley.

" I sure am", replied Dad with obvious relief.

Crossing east we now rejoined the main path, following the fence and wall down to Bakestall some 500ft lower. This had been visited by some of us before and then as now we nicknamed it Cakestand! Next was the steep 900ft descent of Birkett Edge - last time Dad did this walk, he had come up this way. Like Lonscale Fell it is steep and unremitting, so he felt sorry for the people we passed who were climbing up it. At the bottom a wide track was reached, from where there was a fine view of the Dash Valley and Binsey.

Now followed nearly five miles further walking to return to the car. First along the good track under the slopes of Great Calva, that serves Skiddaw House. Once a shepherds house, it is now owned by the Youth Hostel Association.

For those lucky enough to have a room at the front this is the view that would greet them on a clear morning. The prominent pointed top is Great Calva.

From there the track becomes a rough path, rocky in places, as it winds its way below the slopes of Lonscale Fell and above the Glenderaterra Valley. As we rounded the slopes of the fell, the view ahead opened up, to the Helvellyn Ridge.

The tops that can be seen are from left to right - Clough Head, Great Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd, Raise, White Side and finally Helvellyn itself.

Eventually the gate in the fence was reached, from where we retraced our route to the car. You would think that Dad had had enough now, but for Allen & Little Eric's sake he made the short climb to the final top of the day, Latrigg. The additional rewards for us all was this classic view over Keswick to Derwentwater.

Back at the car, we settled on the front seat while Dad took his boots off. It had been some day and on the drive home we chatted and reflected on a superb walk. Hard going at times for Dad, but nevertheless he said he had a feeling of great satisfaction.

Oh, and finally the summit tally for the day. Allen and Little Eric bagged all 12 tops. The rest of us and Dad bagged two Birketts (Lonscale Pike & Broad End).

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