Skiddaw is a
mountain in the Lake District National Park and with a summit at 931 m
(3,054 feet) above sea level it is the fourth highest mountain in
England, and the lowest above 3,000 feet (910 m).
It lies just
north of the town of Keswick and dominates the skyline in this part of
the northern lakes. It is the simplest of the Lake District mountains of
this height to ascend (as there is a well-trodden tourist track from a
car park to the north-east of Keswick, near the summit of Latrigg) and,
as such, many walking guides recommend it to the occasional walker
wishing to climb a mountain.
lends its name to the surrounding areas of "Skiddaw Forest", and "Back
o' Skidda'" and to the isolated "Skiddaw House", situated to the east,
formerly a shooting lodge and subsequently a youth hostel.
provides the name for the slate derived from that region: Skiddaw Slate.
Tuned percussion musical instruments or lithophones exist which are made
from the slate, such as the Musical Stones of Skiddaw held at Keswick
Museum and Art Gallery.
Fells comprise a roughly circular upland area approaching 10 miles
(16 km) in width. At the centre is the marshy depression of Skiddaw
Forest - a treeless plateau at an altitude of 396 metres (1,299 ft); and
flowing outwards from here are the rivers which divide the area into
south-western sector, between the Glenderaterra Beck and Dash Beck,
contains Skiddaw and its satellites.
itself takes the form of a north-south ridge about half a mile long,
with steep slopes to east and west. The ridge continues northwards over
Broad End to Bakestall, a fell overlooking the Whitewater Dash
waterfall. Further ridges fan out east and west from the southern end of
south-east are Skiddaw Little Man, Lonscale Fell and Latrigg, an easily
accessible viewpoint for Keswick and Derwentwater.Beyond these fells are
the Glenderaterra Beck and the Blencathra group.
western ridge curves round through 180 degrees to run north above the
shore of Bassenthwaite Lake. This gives Skiddaw an 'outer wall',
comprising Carl Side, Long Side and Ullock Pike, collectively referred
to as 'Longside Edge'.
member of the Skiddaw Group is Dodd, a satellite of Carl Side.
Skiddaw and Longside Edge are the quiet valleys of Southerndale and
Barkbethdale, separated by the spur of Buzzard Knott. These drain the
western flanks of the fell to Bassenthwaite Lake.
side of Skiddaw drains into Skiddaw Forest, much of the water reaching
Candleseaves Bog. This marsh is the source of both the Dash Beck flowing
north west to Bassenthwaite and the River Caldew, beginning its long
journey north eastward to the Solway Firth via Carlisle.
How is Skiddaw House, a stone building which has variously served as a
shooting lodge, shepherd's bothy and Youth Hostel. Its windbreak
comprises the only trees in Skiddaw Forest, and it is reached via a long
access track up the Dash Valley.
slopes are generally rounded and convex, looking from a distance as
though a thick velvet blanket has been draped over a supporting frame.
On the ridges the general terrain is of loose stones, but elsewhere all
is grass and heather.
ridge bears a number of tops, which from north to south are known as
North Top, High Man (the summit), Middle Top and South Top.
All now bear
cairns and a number of stone wind shelters have been erected.
a subsidiary summit, Little Man, which lies about 1.5 km
south-south-east of the main peak.
Man the north east quadrant is filled by the quiet fells of Back
o'Skiddaw, with the Border hills, the Cheviots and the North Pennines
To the south
east are Blencathra, the Far Eastern Fells and the Helvellyn range;
behind these are vistas of the Yorkshire Dales and Forest of Bowland.
Fells are visible directly to the south. On the other side of South Top
is a fine view of the Scafells, Western and North Western Fells, with a
portion of Snowdonia visible between Kirk Fell and Pillar.
The Isle of
Man is visible 60 miles (97 km) away, as are the Mourne Mountains
120 miles (190 km) away (on exceptionally clear days).
quarter is taken up by the coastal plain and the distant Solway Firth,
backed by the hills of Galloway such as Merrick, Criffel and Broad Law.
By moving to
South Top a superb view of Borrowdale can be brought into sight
of ascent have been devised for Skiddaw; indeed, it is hard to devise a
challenging approach in good conditions. The most popular tourist route
starts from Keswick and first ascends behind Latrigg, before the climb
continues over the slopes of Little Man to the summit. About 200m of
ascent can be saved by driving to the top of Gale Road and beginning
from the public carpark just behind the summit of Latrigg.
popular route is to follow Longside Edge, first ascending Ullock Pike,
Longside and Carl Side before making the steep climb up from Carlside
the north, a somewhat tougher alternative is to walk up Buzzard Knott
between Southerndale and Barkbethdale: after crossing to the southern
edge of the shoulder above Randel Crag ascend due east to the summit.
easier than either of these is the compass-walk due south from Cock Up
(505m); reversing this route provides a safe descent, especially in bad
weather. Scramblers may prefer simply to walk up Southerndale and climb
Longside via a distinctive crevice seen easily from Skiddaw summit.
south-west at Millbeck, Carlside Col can be reached directly. A start
from nearby Applethwaite can also be used to provide a variation to the
north-west a tough but picturesque ascent can be made to the northern
end of Longside Edge before following the ridge route to the summit.
ascents from due east are possible for the walker who first makes for
Skiddaw House, a good distance from either Keswick, Threlkeld or Peter
House. Once Skiddaw House is reached a fairly direct line is possible,
climbing over either Sale How or Hare Crag.
From the north-east an unmarked but quite easy and fairly well-worn path
starts at Whitewater Dash waterfall (on the Cumbrian Way) where the
walker can follow the fence (along Birkett Edge just south of Dead
Crags) past the Bakestall outcrop, and follow the fence until just
before the unnamed top at 831m. From the 831m top, a path leads directly
to Skiddaw Man.