The Slate Mountain.

Start. Keswick (Brundholme Road Grid NY 267241).

Route. Keswick - Spoonygreen Lane - Latrigg car park - Shepherds Memorial - Jenkin Hill - Skiddaw - Carlside Tarn - Carl Side - White Stones - Doups - Millbeck - Crookelty Bridge - Thushwood - Brundholme Road - Keswick.

Notes. What a glorious morning to be on the hill, I'd been promised grey skies with no wind, the chance of cloud free summits zero, what I actually got was strong wind forcing the cloud north, the high ground of Lakeland ripping vast rents in the cloud base allowing rays of sunlight to reach the valley floor, a truly magical moment. The hill in question was Skiddaw, majestic in appearance dominating the skyline above Keswick. All routes to the summit are leg burners, so I opted for the much trod tourist path.

I may of elected the tourist path but my day starts on the edge of Keswick where Spoonygreen Lane meets Brundholme Road, a finger post announced it was only four miles to Skiddaw. With the Cumbria Way under foot the climbing started almost immediately, under the wooded slopes of Latrigg I climbed, passed Ewe How and Birkett Wood to be deposited in the Latrigg car park. If you're wondering why I didn't start from said car park, many do, and many suffer the steep ascent over tarmac at the end of the walk. My ascent continued passed the Shepherds Memorial then onto the real steep stuff. The leg burning climb that followed carried me above Whit Beck then across Jenkin Hill depositing me at a path junction guarded by a gate and stile, normally I'd turn left here and ascend Little Man, as that meant climbing into cloud I opted to follow the main path and enjoy views over treeless Skiddaw Forest. This path leads to the summit, inevitably it guided me into strong wind and low cloud.

I took the obligatory summit shots before descending above Southerndale, the path that guided me was steep and loose but deposited me safely at Carlside Tarn, a short ascent of Carl Side followed before a long knee burning descent to the valley floor. Passed White Stones then over Doups before stepping onto tarmac at Millbeck. After checking the map my preference was a road walk, the deciding factor, the lane I was on climbed a small hill before leaving the village, I'd climbed enough hills for one day. Wandering back along the main road I was at least able to admire the Skiddaw massif from afar.

view route map.


Angry skies over Keswick.

Views over Derwent Water.

The Shepherds Memorial looking east.

My route up the hill, under cloud Jenkin Hill and Lonscale Fell.

Hazy views over the Vale of Keswick, the obvious hills on show, Cat Bells backed by Hindscarth and Robinson.

Seen through a gap in the cloud the slopes of Bleaberry Fell.

Seen from the ascent of Jenkin Hill, little Tewet Tarn marking the start of the High Rigg ridge.

Sunburst over St John's in the Vale.

Vague vistas over the Vale of Keswick, the hills on view, Barrow, Stile End and Outerside backed by Causey Pike and Sail.

Moody views over Latrigg with St John's basking in sunlight.

Sunburst over St John's in the Vale.

The hills known as back of Skiddaw, under the cloud base the rolling grassy summit of Sale How.

A distant Lonscale Fell would normally be backed by Blencathra.

Skiddaw summit, trig point and view indicator totally useless today.

The crumbling western slopes of Skiddaw, with a couple of walkers braving the ascent.

Views over Southerndale taking in the ridge of Ling How and Bassenthwaite Lake.

Seen from near Carlside Tarn, Little Man across Broad End.

About to top out on Carl Side, looking back to the scree slopes of Skiddaws western facade.

Staggering views to a mirror like Derwent Water.

Looking down on little Latrigg with Castlerigg Fell under cloud.

Stunning views through rays of sunlight.

Descending Carl Side into vailed views over Keswick and Derwent Water.

From White Stones views to Grisedale Pike and the many ridges of the north western fells.

The light show is over, this is Dodd seen from below White Stones.

Seen from Millbeck, it's head still in cloud, mighty Skiddaw.

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