Skiddaw. It is the sixth highest mountain in England and the town of Keswick sits neatly near its base. When choosing places to stay for our Lakeland holidays, we tend to gravitate towards Keswick more than anywhere else. Being so, Skiddaw usually dominates the skyline of our weeks away and thus we heavily associate happy memories with this collection of mountains. We even chose our wedding venue because of its breathtakingly scenic Skiddaw mountain range back drop.
Although we had already done many of its surrounding peaks, we didn’t even entertain the thought of attempting Skiddaw during our winter breaks. Just a glance at Skiddaw’s peak will give away the weather conditions on the summit. Even into April, on the rare occasion that it’s not covered in a perma-cloud, snow is clearly visible. This summit was filed securely on our summer walks list.
So, June came around and we thought we would give it a go. We had already ticked off Carl Side and the ascent to that was not one I was willing to do again any time soon. The walk along Ullock Pike was beautiful, but we were looking for a more direct route. To Underskiddaw car park it was then!
We were very early to this one, and upon reaching the small car park, we were disheartened to see Skiddaw still had its perma-cloud hat on. Off we set regardless. The grassy path soon turned into a wide stone track and the ascent was steep! The sun was baking down on us and we were glad we over packed on water. By the time we got to the gate which separated the paths of Lonscale Fell, Little Man and Skiddaw, there wasn’t a cloud in sight. Looking forward to the views from the top. The left path was chosen, and we made our way quickly on to Little Man. Twisted metal and stones marked its peak and from here, we set Skiddaw in our sights. The walk so far was a bit of a maul. This was because of the steep ascent, but the ease of terrain made our going very fast paced. Out of breath and glugging our water we made it to Skiddaw in great time. Despite the strong wind at the top, we stayed a while as veiws of Derwent Water and Catbells were to be had. We decided to take it easy on the descent and enjoyed the view infinitely more coming down.
Now back at the gate where the paths first diverged, we went left towards Lonscale, following the fence. This route is not immediately visible. It isn’t a wide stone path like what we had gotten used to on this walk. Just a thin trail, trodden into the heather. We kept following the fence, then a broken wall and eventually got to Lonscale Fell. This was the last fell on our walk for today. We both just stood. Wordlessly. A little shrug. So that’s it. Being so eager to do this walk so we could mentally tick it of on ‘our skyline’. It felt a little anti-climactic. We had flown through most of the walk and this little cairn was a non-descript meagre pile of rocks. Would we even remember this hike? Without much communication on both our parts, we didn’t turn around to go back. Instead we walked on. Wandering. Not knowing what was beyond. Looking for something to remember I suppose.
I’m so glad we kept walking! We eventually couldn’t walk anymore as we had reached the edge of Lonscale Crags. We were rewarded with a stunning view of Blease Fell and Mungrisdale Common. A place we had walked only yesterday. We spent time there, just looking. Occasionally pointing out interesting areas, stone circles, paths. What was the name of the far distant peak? Making theories on how Skiddaw house came to be and how it got its supplies, the usual chatter. We finished up our sandwiches and took some photos. None really gave the expanse of the landscape much justice. But we got what we went searching for. What most people come up the fells for I suppose. That connection and appreciation of our surroundings. We finally got gratification from this walk. Though not from the side we had been looking up at with wanton each time we visited Keswick. But from the side beyond. True hopeless wanderers.