Skiddaw from Keswick return over Sale How.

Start. Keswick (Brundholme Road).

Route. Keswick (Brundholme Road) - Spoonygreen Lane - Spoony Green - Ormathwaite - Applethwaite - Raven Lane - Millbeck - Doups - White Stones - Carl Side - Carlside Tarn - Skiddaw - Sale How - Skiddaw House - Guide Stone - Glenderaterra Pass - Lonscale Crags - Whit Beck - Latrigg car park - Ewe How - Spoony Green - Spoonygreen Lane - Keswick.

Notes. Skiddaw “The Slate Mountain” a monster towering over the Vale of Keswick, dwarfing the tiny communities nestled in the lea of the hill. Scholars versed in geology tell us the rocks of the Skiddaw massif are the oldest in the Lake District, a mountain born on an ancient sea bed, formed by marine deposits laid down over tens of millions of years. The summit is buttressed majestically by a circle of lesser heights, it's lines suave, it's curves elegant, it's slopes steep, it's paths unfortunately nearly always busy, you rarely have the summit to yourself.

Most walkers use the 959ft high Latrigg car park as a stepping stone onto the hill, today I aimed my sights on the quiet, a walk in through sheep pastures and quaint villages before the climbing started. A chance to enjoy the hill from the valley bottom before the hard work of the day begins. After parking at the foot of Spoonygreen Lane I let said lane guide me south over the main road to Spoony Green, I left the track after passing through a large gate, field paths and narrow lanes then ushered me to Ormathwaite and Applethwaite then on to Millbeck. At Millbeck I embarked on the long unforgiving ascent of Skiddaw, lets not gild the lilly here, this climb is a leg burning lung buster but it does gift the walker with some breath-taking views, I took my time and drank them in.

After many stops, one at White Stones for a brew, I crested the summit of Carl Side to be greeted by the grey Southerndale flanks of Skiddaw and a steep loose path vanishing into dark cloud, there'll be no views from the summit today. On I climbed slowly with purpose. Many walkers avoid this ascent route, probably the reason I hadn't seen a soul all morning, things were about to change. Once on Skiddaw's fine summit ridge I could here chatter but see no one, as I left the summit the cloud cover started to lift, I was not alone there must have been thirty people up there, and that's on a week day.

South across the summit I wandered, the path descended to a fence line, after passing through said fence I left the main trod, in an antisocial mood I turned my back on the crowns, the chatter, my route was the quiet, a wonderful green trod over Sale How descending to Skiddaw House. I bet for every one-hundred walkers that ascend Skiddaw not one will return this route, I had the hill to myself, just me and the haunting mountain wind.

Once I'd reached Skiddaw House an old hunting lodge now a private hostel, nestled in the lonely nether world known as Back o' Skiddaw I swung right stepping onto the Cumbria Way. This wonderful path cuts under the imposing cliffs of Lonscale Fell, carving it's way through the impressing Glenderaterra Pass, this stunning walk out is one you'll remember for a long time, a perfect finale, well not quite. The path terminated at the Latrigg car park where I joined a well trod path cutting under the north western slopes of Latrigg to access Spoonygreen Lane, all that remained to re-trace my steps of earlier.

view route map.

home.

Seen from field paths near Spoony Green a cloud capped Carl Side, with the Broad End of Skiddaw also under cloud, just out of interest my route followed the ridge far left.

Views across the Vale of Keswick, rising into the western sky, head in cloud Crag Hill with majestic Grisedale Pike to the right, filling the middle distance the lesser heights of Barrow and Stile End.

A dramatic view over Derwent Water and through the Jaws of Borrowdale.

On the slopes of Carl Side with this stunning view for company.

On the approach to White Stones and a well earned brew, looking to Dodd.

Staggering views from my brew stop on White Stones.

A wonderful stage set of Lakeland mountains, the many ridges of the north western fells.

A Wonderful view from White Stones, taking centre stage Sail, Crag Hill now free of cloud, Grasmoor under cloud, and Grisedale Pike.

Spectacular views from the Carl Side path, the green bubble of Latrigg seen over Carsleddam with the Helvellyn massif reaching across the horizon.

Through a window in the cloud, island studied Derwent Water.

Skiddaw's stoney summit ridge.

Back o' Skiddaw, the lonely treeless Skiddaw Forest.

A chip on the shoulder of Skiddaw, Ullock Pike and Long Side.

Adventuring through a lonely world of moody shadows and wonderful plays of light, the brooding mass of Blencathra stands head in cloud with Lonscale Fell to the right, my route follows the green trod over Sale How to the left.

From the summit of Sale How views to Carrock Fell over the lonely lands of the Skiddaw Forest, the only trees, those guarding Skiddaw House, a small oasis planted in the 1900s to protect the house against the prevailing weather.

Skiddaw House built by the Earl of Egremont as a "keepers lodge", a base for grouse shooting parties.

Rising into an angry sky, Skiddaw.

Striding out over a good path looking to the crags of Lonscale Fell.

The green pastures of St John's in the Vale backed by the Dodd's.

Clinging to a reassuring path with a steep drop to the Glenderaterra Beck to my left, to my right out of shot the precipitous cliffs of Lonscale Fell.

Rain washes the Helvellyn massif.

On the lower slopes of Latrigg looking to the tentacular ridges of the Skiddaw massif.

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