Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gambling with Clouds - Skiddaw Walk

I drive past Skiddaw a lot, meaning that I drive along the A66 from West Cumbria towards Keswick and Skiddaw, on a clear day, dominates the view across Bassenthwaite Lake.  More often than not, the top is obscured by clouds, but when you can see the top, it really is a magnificent sight.

Skiddaw is the fourth highest mountain in England with a summit of 3054 feet.

I last went up Skiddaw three years ago.  Since that time, I have lost weight and greatly improved my fitness to the extent that, what was a struggle and full day in 2007, makes for a fair to middling morning walk in 2010.  I'm not sure how long it took in 2007 but today, I was up and back down and enjoying my sandwich in my car in two and a half hours.

Today was also my first real hike since my dog emigrated.  That's a story for another blog post but it was good to be back.

Here's the route I took:

Up and down from Underscar with a slight detour to bag Skiddaw Little Man on the way back.  
About six and a half miles altogether.

The thing about going up Skiddaw is that you either pick a really clear, cloud free day or you take a gamble.  Of course, I took the gamble.

there's the top of Skiddaw (right behind all that cloud)

setting off from the Underscar car park (which means less climbing by about 800 feet).  
There's a bit of blue sky up there.  That sheep doesn't look too impressed.

Monument to two Skiddaw Shepherds and the first views over to the Newlands Horseshoe and beyond.

the winding path towards the summit

looking to the east, the sun is trying to break through

not bad to the south either.

and in the direction we are going...hmm.

I nearly turned around at this gate

but, suddenly...

it's all clear

Leaving the cloud behind, I have a feeling it wont be the last I see of it.

looking back to Skiddaw Little Man, see you on the way back.

Skiddaw summit off to the right, Bassenthwaite below

here comes that cloud again

the top is around here somewhere

Hmm, I'll have to take your word for it

I can't see a thing, let's head

thirty seconds later - all is clear

let's go and get that Little Man

nearly there


down below the clouds now

there were about 5 cars when I set off

got a big push ahead but the downhill will be fun

back to the car park.  Time to eat my sandwich and have a drink

Skiddaw sometimes suffers from the Eiffel Tower effect - when you go up the Eiffel Tower, you are not able to see the best part of the view, the tower itself.  Skiddaw from elsewhere:

from Walla Crag

from Cat Bells

Good to get back to walking.  Hoping to do some more in the autumn and winter.

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