Lake District Walks
Lonscale Fell & Skiddaw
Date: 22nd April 2011
Distance: 10.8 miles
Ascent: 2954 feet
Time: 5 hours 40 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY280253
An exciting scramble up on to Lonscale Fell preceded an easy climb on to Skiddaw via Little Man.
Route Summary: Gale Road - Cumbria Way - Lonscale Fell - Jenkin Hill - Skiddaw Little Man - Skiddaw - Sale How - Skiddaw House - Cumbria Way - Gale Road
1. The Hawell memorial cross
2. From the left my route of ascent up Lonscale Fell
3. Looking back down to the Glenderatera Valley
4. The top of Lonscale Fell looking towards Skiddaw Little Man
5. On Skiddaw Little Man
6. Skiddaw from Little Man
7. Little Man and Lonscale Fell from the top of the 'tourist path'
8. The view indicator and trig point on the summit of Skiddaw
9. Long Side and Ullock Pike from Skiddaw
10. Approaching the grassy hump of Sale How
11. The top of Sale How looking back up at Skiddaw
12. Skiddaw House and the wilderness of Skiddaw Forest
13. Great Calva from Salehow Beck
14. Lonscale Fell
15. Mungrisdale Common
16. Glenderatera Beck
17. The Cumbria Way as it contours around Lonscale Fell
Walk Detail: I'd first climbed Skiddaw over five years ago via the Ullock Pike ridge and to this day it still remains one of mine and Lisa's favourite walks. This time, as part of my longstanding aim to climb all the Wainwrights, the main goal of this walk was to visit the summits of Lonscale Fell and Skiddaw Little Man.
From the parking area at the top of Gale Road I quickly left behind the crowds heading up Skiddaw's 'tourist path' to follow the Cumbria Way as it contours around the southern and eastern flanks of Lonscale Fell. At this point I still hadn't decided which route to take up on to Lonscale Fell.
It was a very hazy morning and it was partly this that made my mind up to tackle the scramble up Lonscale Fell's north east buttress as described by Wainwright. My reasoning being that if there was nothing much distant to look at I'd take the route which featured the most immediate interest.
One of the reasons I love Wainwright is because he does detail some really quite eccentric routes and this was definitely one of them. For the most part it was a scramble on hands and knees up a very steep slope of grass, heather and rock. It certainly got the adrenaline flowing!
I've quite a good head for heights and have managed Sharp Edge and Striding Edge easily enough. I'm not ashamed to admit though that the final section of this climb made me feel quite nervous and it was not until I'd reached the top that I could bring myself to look down the way I'd just come.
I had the summit of Lonscale Fell all to myself but as there was not much to see (Derwent Water was barely visible in the haze) I didn't hang around long and so set off on what was an easy enough climb up on to Skiddaw Little Man. Wainwright rated Little Man as one of the finest viewpoints in the Lakes but I had to make do with the good prospect of the upper slopes of Skiddaw.
Up until this point there had been little sign of a breeze but upon reaching the summit ridge of Skiddaw it was suddenly blowing quite strongly. I hunched down in one of the numerous shelters on the western flank of the summit and ate my lunch enjoying the view down to Long Side and Ullock Pike and reliving my memories of my last visit.
In addition to the Wainwrights I am also attempting to bag all the Nuttalls in England (mountains over 2000ft). It was for this reason that instead of taking the direct route back to the car I descended east off Skiddaw so I could visit the summit of Sale How. Sale How proved to be nothing much more than a grassy hump but it did have a good view of Great Calva and was the only top of the day that I heard the skylarks singing.
The final part of the walk from Skiddaw House was back along the Cumbria Way. By this time a bit cloud cover was lessening the effect of the haze and I really enjoyed revisiting the section from earlier in the day as the Cumbria Way contours around the eastern flank of Lonscale Fell with fine views down to Glenderatera Beck.
Despite the haze this was still a great walk though to be honest after the excitement (and odd scary moment) of the scramble on to Lonscale Fell the rest of the walk felt really quite tame. Certainly the descent off Skiddaw via Sale How on short grass has to be one of the easiest descents in the Lakes.