Sunday, 9 October 2016

08/10/16 - Skiddaw

Distance - 7 Miles
Geocaches - 3
Wainwrights - Carl Side, Skiddaw, Longside Edge, Ullock Pike
Walk Inspiration - Trail Magazine Sep 2004, Walk 3
Pubs - Worthy of a future blog

We just about manage to squeeze in our annual visit to the Lake District.  And god smiles on us with blue skies and October walking where no jacket is required.

5:30am alarm, refreshment at Tebay Services where two coffees and two bacon sandwiches require plastic (credit card, not fiver) and a further eye watering parking levy at the Old Sawmill Tea toom. 10:17am and we are boots on, ready to go.

This is a walk where you are either going uphill or downhill but always very steeply.  To get us in the mood, we head off into the woods, following forestry roads.  Mrs Mappiman shows how boxercise is paying off and I catch her looking at the phone to make sure she has a signal in case mountain rescue are required.

I'd like to say I am slow and steady.  Its more slow and stop.

Getting Left Behind
Getting Left Behind

The Climb
Early views of Bassenthwaite
2nd wind is found when we cross a stile and head out onto the mountainside of Carl Side.  Its steep but now feels like a proper mountain.  Geocache found, jacket off and frequent photos of the most jaw dropping views.  I only wish the photos could do them justice.

This makes it worth it.
The Big Reveal
We are joined by Ruby the springer and her lady owner as we attempt to interpret the way up onto Skiddaw.  The paths don't really match the OS Map.  The shale must be constantly moving.  But we follow the most likely line of ascent, grateful that it is dry.

The reward - a couple of shelters, a trig point and a guide to the fells.  Finest lunch spot this year.

Top of Skiddaw
Skiddaw's Lunar Landscape
We also have views of our descent.  And its handsome.  Longside and Ullock Pike provide a fine and very easy ridge path down.  And of course, we have done the climbing, so despite our protesting thighs, this is a real pleasure.

We can also gently snigger at those climbing up.

Ullock Pike
Longside and Ullock Pike - Superb walking

Ullock Pike and Longside
And here's me walking it
We can also have a sneaky peak back at Skiddaw and marvel at the faint path that provided access.  A feeling of triumph that we conquered it.  It hardly looked possible from this view.

Thats the path
The faint path runs behind Sonia and then diagonally up Skiddaw
Ling How marks the end of the Ridge and reveals Bassenthwaite in all its glory.

Final Views
It's now a case of the final descent and walking back on a path that runs parallel with the road. Unfortunately, we failed to spot any red squirrels.

Water supplies had dwindled to nothing so we celebrate in style back at the tea rooms with a can of tango and a 7 up.  £3.60 to you, Mr Tourist.

Downed in one, we jump back into the car for what proves to be by far the biggest challenge of the day.  One that requires fortitude, patience, strength and cunning.

Finding a parking space in Keswick on a Saturday.

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