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Lake District Walks

Skiddaw

The top of Skiddaw

Date: 13th November 2005
Distance: 8.5 miles
Ascent: 2973 feet
Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
With: Lisa
Start Grid Ref: NY236310

Walk Summary:
A fantastic climb up on to Skiddaw via Ullock Pike and Long Side returning via Bakestall and the impressive falls of Whitewater Dash.

Route Summary: High Side - Watches - The Edge - Ullock Pike - Long Side - Carl Side - Skiddaw - Bakestall - Whitewater Dash - Cumbria Way - Walk Mill Bridge - High Side

Pictures:

1. Morning sunshine on the Uldale Fells

Morning sunshine on the Uldale Fells

2. Looking across Southerndale to Skiddaw

Looking across Southerndale to Skiddaw

3. Approaching Ullock Pike along The Edge

Approaching Ullock Pike along The Edge

4. Bassenthwaite Lake and the North Western Fells from Ullock Pike

Bassenthwaite Lake and the North Western Fells from Ullock Pike

5. On Ullock Pike

On Ullock Pike

6. Long Side from Ullock Pike

Long Side from Ullock Pike

7. Ullock Pike from Long Side

Ullock Pike from Long Side

8. The summit cairn on Carl Side

The summit cairn on Carl Side

9. Skiddaw Little Man from Carl Side

Skiddaw Little Man from Carl Side

10. Lisa on the final climb on to Skiddaw

Lisa on the final climb on to Skiddaw

11. Blencathra from Skiddaw

Blencathra from Skiddaw

12. The trig point on the top of Skiddaw

The trig point on the top of Skiddaw

13. The 'top' of Bakestall

The 'top' of Bakestall

14. The Dash valley from the Cumbria Way

The Dash valley from the Cumbria Way

15. Whitewater Dash

Whitewater Dash

Walk Detail: This was a birthday walk I’d been planning for a long time and as it turned out I was blessed, I could not have asked for a better day. As one walker we saw put it, it was ‘one day in a hundred’.

It was a cold crisp morning with plenty of frost as we set off. The higher we climbed the more pronounced the ridge became with the pyramid shape of Ullock Pike beckoning us on. All the while we were able to enjoy the sun shining on the eastern flank of Long Side ahead of us and to our right patches of mist floating over the still waters of Bassenthwaite Lake.

The final climb to Ullock Pike was quite steep, enjoyably so, even though the rocky path was cold and slippery. Although only a minor top Ullock Pike is a fine viewpoint. As you approach the summit cairn the whole of Derwent Water suddenly comes into view along with a large portion of Lakeland from Helvellyn to the Sca Fells round to the Grasmoor Fells.

Below the summit was the whole length of Bassenthwaite Lake. Ullock Pike also gave me my first sighting of the Isle of Man. It was a grand place to be and one where we sat and had some refreshment while we enjoyed the views.

The walk along the ridge from Ullock Pike to Long Side was exceptionally easy but at the same time very enjoyable with views down both flanks. While Long Side did not add much to the views from Ullock Pike it did have its own fine view down into Southerndale.

Next along the ridge on what was becoming increasingly easy walking was Carl Side. A much broader top than the previous two the best part of the view was of Little Man, enhanced by some small wisps of cloud rising from the Vale of Keswick below.

After making our way down to Carl Side col and inspecting the large puddle that is Carl Side Tarn we were confronted at last by the final up the scree ridden slopes of Skiddaw. Despite the fantastic views we’d enjoyed my eyes had always been drawn back to the gigantic behemoth that is Skiddaw.

It looked a daunting climb on steep scree and from Long Side in particular it did not look too inviting but apart from being a bit slippery in the steeper sections it proved to be a fine way to the top.

After a brief diversion to the southern top to view the Derwent Water scene we walked the final few minutes along the ridge to the summit. What a fantastic place! The views in all directions were magnificent and for the first time the northern fells were laid out in front and below me ready for me to tackle over the coming days. After taking the obligatory photos we sat down by a small windshelter a few feet from the OS Column and drank our soup.

The next objective was Bakestall which was reached by a surprisingly easy descent via Broad End. Although the re-ascent to Bakestall was rather slight it is still far away enough, and distinctive enough, from Skiddaw to be rightly claimed as a separate fell. The highlights of Bakestall were undoubtedly the dark foreboding Dead Crags and the tumble of water known as Whitewater Dash which together form a fine pairing when viewed from further down the Dash Valley.

The final few miles were along roads but there were hardly any cars and it was a pleasant stroll enlivened by some odd ducks and a sheep determined to get into my photo of Bassenthwaite village. This was a magical birthday topped off by a great roast beef dinner served with a giant Yorkshire pudding and red wine. One of my best birthdays.


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