Skiddaw from Peter House Farm.

Start. Peter House Farm.

Route. Peter House Farm - Cumbria Way - Whitewater Dash - Birkett Edge - Bakestall - Broad End - Skiddaw - Carlside Tarn - Cral Side - Longside Edge - Ullock Pike - The Edge - Kiln Pots - Ling How - Watches - High Side House - Walk Mill Bridge - Peter House Farm.

Notes. Geologists reliably inform us Skiddaw is the oldest mountain in the Lake District, born on an ancient sea bed, formed by marine deposits laid down over tens of millions of years, my walking log informed me this is a mountain I tend to neglect. This popular hill is nearly always busy, that's one reason, the paths are quite boring, engineered for easy access, there's another, then suddenly the pluses out weigh the minuses, stunning ridge walking, wonderful views from the forth highest mountain in Lakeland, a bag full of Wainwright's for persistent list tickers, always a chance of solitude, especially if like me you ascend through the servants entrance.

Peter House Farm nestles in the dale to the north of Skiddaw accessed by a narrow fell road leading to Uldale, this was my starting point, well away from the army of walkers using the 944ft stepping stone of the Latrigg car park. My first steps were over tarmac following the Cumbria Way south over the access road to Dash Farm, I bid farewell to tarmac when the lane swung left to cross the valley, I then followed the Land Rover track that eventually terminates at Skiddaw House. In no time at all I'd reached the bubbling cataracts of Whitewater Dash, at this point Dash Beck plunges 246ft to the valley floor, this broken cascade is well worth a stop, I took a breather in the shadow of the ominously named Dead Crags before the climbing started.

After ascending above the falls I reached a wooden gate, to my right a muddy path lead up Birkett Edge, this was my route. Guided by a boundary fence I ascended, steep and unforgiving, a real lung buster, plenty of breathless views on this climb. A short diversion to Bakestall avoided the steepest section, then I was on Broad End with just a short leg burning pull to the summit of Skiddaw, and the gift for all the pain and suffering, the top was mine, just me and the mountain wind. I traversed the stoney ridge at leisure to reach a small cairn marking the start of my descent route. Descending to the south-west above the head of Southerndale, a loose rather steep shale path carried me to Carlside Tarn before the short pull to Carl Side summit. I left the summit heading in a north-westerly direction, the path guided me to Long Side, the start of a wonderful stretch of ridge walking. Across Longside Edge I wandered before traversing Ullock Pike to access The Edge, still on the ridge I descended to reach Kiln Pots then Ling How, followed by the crossing of a small grassy coll that allowed access to the bolder strewn summit of Watches. The path off Watches carried me into green sheep pastures, on way marked paths I made my way to the narrow tarmac road I drove in along, just over a mile of road walking followed before Peter House Farm came into view.

view route map.

home.

The head of Dash Valley with a promise of better weather to come.

Taking in the view to Binsey, the most northern of Lakeland fells.

Skiddaw may of been born on the sea bed of an ancient ocean, but Brockle Crag definitely wasn't, proof needed the vast vanes of quarts running through the crag.

A pretty drab photo of Whitewater Dash, I just felt it was too important to ignore.

Patches of sunlight dance through the Dash Valley.

Racing moody shadows and a fantastic play of light, seen from above Whitewater Dash.

On Bakestall with views to the chiselled profile of Lonscale Fell.

Looking to the long pull up Broad End with Skiddaw on the skyline.

The vast desolation of the treeless Skiddaw Forest, across the skyline Bowscale Fell, Bannerdale Crags and the Sharp Edge approach of Blencathra, almost within reach, dark Great Calva.

Great Calva as seen from the slopes of Broad End.

A storm gathers over the Helvellyn massif.

On Broad End looking to Skiddaw, nearly there.

Seen from Broad End, Longside Edge leading to Ullock Pike, any one for an Old Norse translation, Ullock Pike, the pike where the wolves play.

With my back to the trig point views across the Skiddaw summit ridge.

The trig point Skiddaw.

About to be swallowed up in a bank of Lakeland cloud, Blencathra and the featureless slopes of Mungrisdale Common.

Viewing Derwent Water and Borrowdale from the Carl Side coll.

Carlside Tarn with stunning views to Helvellyn and the Dodds.

From this small cairn on Longside Edge views to the rivers of scree that make up the Southerndale face of Skiddaw, the dark grey ribbon, hard to ignore was my descent path.

Breath taking views from Longside Edge, taking in Derwent Water and Newlands.

Endless views over Bassenthwaite Lake.

The cliffs of Barf over Bassenthwaite Lake.

Near the summit of Ullock Pike, with moody views over the head of Bassenthwaite to a pooling of shapely peaks and ridges.

Another magical view over northwest Lakeland.

Seen from Watches the valley of Southerndale, with Skiddaw under cloud and Longside Edge leading to Ullock Pike rising to the right.

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