Friday, May 22, 2015

Skiddaw and Skiddaw Little Man

Dean on the summit, Joanne shivering in the shelter

According to my tally sheet, I've so far been up Skiddaw eleven times.  It's my local big fell and it's easy to find your way around on so there have been plenty of times that I've headed up there on a whim.  I was quite surprised therefore that neither of my running partners last night had ever been up it.  They were in for a treat.

Downstairs at the start of the Spooney Green Lane track it was quite warm.  We thought that we would warm up going up Spooney Green Lane but I knew it would be very windy on the top floor.

I'm always a little surprised to be able to run all the way up Spooney Green Lane.  The very first bit, the very very first bit, that goes up to the bridge, is a rude awakening.  After a short downhill, the climbing starts, getting steep after the first gate.  Once up to the path junction where the track bends around, it evens off a bit and you can either pick up the pace or just run in the remainder of the climb.  Last night was a running it in type of evening but at least I got to the car park without stopping.

it's a bastard of a hill - beautiful view over Derwent Water though
From there it was past the monument and up the main track.  We met two young men, it sounded like they were German, who asked us the way and how far to Skiddaw House.  I thought it was five miles but looking at the map now, it was about three.  Better to be pleasantly surprised.  As we climbed past the Hawell Memorial, I shouted back to point them on the right track.  We wound our way up the track.  Once at the top gate, where the track goes around Skiddaw Little Man, we had a little run.  The cloud was coming in a bit now and it was windy and cool.

From the final gate, we continued to climb.  I pointed out the cairn set off the track which marks the trod which cuts off the final steep climb up to the south.  We ran along the top and dorked around at the summit for a while.  It was very windy now, we didn't hang around long, coming back the same way and dropping down the trod.



Dean at Skiddaw Little Man
As we went down towards the top gate, I suggested taking a different route.  We had planned to descent over Sale How to Skiddaw House and then around the Cumbria Way track.  The cloud was down and it felt like it would get dark soon (even though we knew it wouldn't).  We agreed to go back down the same way.

Dean and I headed off to bag Little Man, Joanne stuck to the main track and beat us to the bottom.

I found the descent tough, hard on the feet and the knees.  It didn't help when I kicked a rock and almost went flat on my face, just managing to rescue myself with some quick leg turnover.

Joanne was waiting for us at the bottom (I had the car keys after all).  Everyone was happy.  Nine miles and my twelfth time up Skiddaw.

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