Blue Skies and Snow on Skiddaw

Name of walk Blue Skies and Snow on Skiddaw
Date of walk 2016-11-24
Distance walked (miles) 9
Duration of walk 6 hours 15 minutes
Weather Clear blue skies and sunshine
Peaks on walk Lonscale Fell, Skiddaw Little Man, Skiddaw
Walked with Tom
Parking Latrigg car park

Thursday was going to be a glorious blue sky day, so Tom and I decided to have a walk up Skiddaw (3,053ft). Skiddaw is a very safe mountain in snow, there is nothing to fall off or over, if you take the Jenkin Hill route up. Microspikes help enormously to keep you upright on the steep climbs/descents. We planned to detour off to Lonscale Fell and then walk to Skiddaw via Skiddaw Little Man. We left home at 7.15am. The roads were dry and posed no problems with ice until I reached Nest Brow, just before the descent into Keswick, and felt my wheels disengage with the road at a bend. I resisted hitting the brakes and maintained control just by steering, but 100m further on a car had gone right across the road and hit a wall, thankfully no one was hurt. I drove down the hill slowly! The steep road leading up to the Latrigg car park was frozen over in several places, and for only the second time since I bought my car, I engaged the four wheel drive setting! We had arrived before 9am so the car park was almost empty. It was cold too, but we would warm up as soon as we got moving.


The Hawell Monument with Jenkin Hill behind. The snow line is quite low, it is not long before we are into it.


Looking over Derwent Water to the North Western Fells.


Tom making his way up the steep ascent.


A close up of Keswick and Derwent water.


As the snow line is so low we could not take the short cut route up to Lonscale Fell. The snow would be far too deep, so we head up to the fence line.


We head right along the fence line back towards Lonscale Fell. The snow was quite deep and was awkward walking in places.


Skiddaw Little Man on the right behind Tom.


Ice on the fencing.


Lonscale Fell ahead with Blencathra behind.


Tom traversing the deep snow. Sometimes you could walk on top of it, but then the next step it would no longer take your weight and you would sink up to your calves.


Lonscale Fell summit, looking back to the entire ridge of Skiddaw Little Man and Skiddaw.


I head to the far tip of the fell for the views down into the valley and over to Blencathra.


A two photo shot looking down into the valley and over to Blencathra. High Pike and Carrock Fell back left. Left click to enlarge, re-click to return.


View south towards Thirlmere. Lonscale Fell is a there and back walk so we return to the top of Jenkin Hill.


We head up to the ridge. Looking back towards Lonscale Fell.


View from the first cairn.


Looking over to the Helvellyn range.


Tom heading up to Skiddaw Little Man. The first hill with the cairn on the right and Lonscale Fell to the left.


Carlside with Ullock Pike behind it.


Our route to Skiddaw.


A close up of Ullock Pike and the Longside Edge ridge. Always one of my favourite snow walks.


Stopping for a hot drink and a sandwich on Skiddaw Little Man.


Looking down on Keswick and Derwent Water.


Cool shades! The constant glare from the snow can damage your eyes.


Our route to Skiddaw, but first we have to descend to the fence line.


The fence is covered in wind blown ice.


Waffle fencing!


Tom heading up to Skiddaw. Wonderful views all around today.


There are lots of people out enjoying the weather.



The summit is finally in sight. It looks a popular place!


Tom at the summit cairn.


A large group were just moving on as we arrived, so one of them took our photo for us.


There is a map on the top of this cairn. Bassenthwaite Lake beyond.



Now there is just one other chap on the summit having his lunch in the sunshine.


The Back o' Skiddaw. We did originally think of continuing down to Bakestall and walking back through the valley, this would add three more miles to the walk, but we had taken too long on the Lonscale Fell detour and missed our cut off time, so we decided against it. It would have meant returning in the dark, never wise in snow and ice.


View back the way we have come.


View across the Solway Firth to Scotland.


We head back down, but this time we will head around the base of Skiddaw Little Man.


To the left of Blencathra is Mungisedale Fell. We head for the gate below.


So much snow you just step over it!


The downside of walking around the base is that it is in shade and very cold. Much like the valley would have been.


A final view over to the Helvellyn range as we make our descent of Jenkin Hill.

Our walk was 9.4 miles long and took us six hours and fifteen minutes. Superb views today!