Skiddaw 290810

It was raining hard when I woke up, so anorak on and a smart walk to the “old loos, no queuing!” Back for breakfast of muesli and yoghurt, ok I very rarely eat anything else. Put all my clothes on as it was quite nippy and packed up the tent fast, by now it had stopped raining. I managed to strike camp in half an hour, considering that making camp takes me about 20 minutes, the main difference is that trying to squash things down requires me to lie full length and weight on them in a vain hope that they won’t pop up again the minute I let go. Oh this is starting to sound mucky…
I drove to the foot of Skiddaw to a free car park near Latrigg. The walk is a long old slog up a broad path that crosses grassy slopes. I’m starting to see what Wainwright meant about grassy slopes, they’re not that interesting in the scheme of things. There weren’t a lot of people around as it was still fairly early. I had believed the MWIS forecasts of -6 in the wind chill and whilst it was windy and chilly, I probably didn’t need all my layers to go uphill. AW mentioned that someone had “driven a motor car” up Skiddaw and for most of the way I could believe this, just one or two places where I would not have taken my car for sure, where it is less than a single track road in width and drops away steeply, also where tyres would be ripped to shreds by jagged rocks. (Blondie)
My feet were still very warm and I developed a blister so a short rest to apply Compeed. Then a final burst to get to the top, the views are magnificent and you really get the 360 degree feeling. It was bitterly cold in the wind so I stopped to join the only 2 other occupants of the wind break at midday, just over 2 hours to get there. One of these was a young teenager to whom I dispensed a further Compeed. Why can’t people learn to look after themselves, or perhaps his father could have taken some responsibility and carried a first aid kit? Rant over!
I quickly ate my lunch of bean tortilla. Suddenly the whole place seemed to be overrun with people, I don’t really know where they all came from! Time to move off. I set off for Skiddaw Little Man. The main track was now full of tourist walkers mostly looking like they wished they were doing anything else. Some were clearly very cold and suffering. Going up was a woman in a low slung wheelchair being hauled up by 6 men by rope and pushed up by 2 men. They looked like they could have done with chest and/or waist harnesses to do this job rather than just a loop of rope which would cut into whichever shoulder it was on.
I carried on up Little Man, AW recommends doing this on the way down so you don’t have to do so much climbing. Then it was down all the way and I was back at the car by 2.30. All in all I don’t think I’ll bother with Skiddaw again, the views are fab but it will always be windy and cold up there as there is no shelter from any land mass. There are plenty of other big fells that aren’t so full of day trippers too.

The zig zag path
Getting nearer
Bassenthwaite Lake
Skiddaw Little Man and Derwent Water
Funny little dog got in my photo

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Author: Jak

Mountain Leader.

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