Skiddaw from Keswick
Strating from Keswick town, this route skirts Latrigg's lower slopes and heads straight for Skiddaw summit, passing Little Man on the way.
|Time:||4 hrs 59 mins|
|OS map:||Explorer sheet OL4|
|Total Ascent:||3209 ft|
|Total Descent:||3196 ft|
- commanding views of Keswick, Derwentwater and Buttermere
- Lakeland's 4th highest peak
- panorama of Lakeland's highest ranges, including Scafell Pike and Helvellyn
- shorter route option from almost half way
Keswick, one of Lakeland's most popular tourist centres, is dominated by Skiddaw and its neighbouring peaks. With such a prominent peak in so easy reach, you must be tempted to have a go. This guide offers the choice of a long walk, starting from Keswick or a shorter option starting from part way up the mountainside.
Walk along the A 519 road (Victoria Street) leading out from the centre of town in the Windermere direction. At the War Memorial turn left into Station Road and walk past Fitz Park. Cross the bridge beside the YHA Youth Hostel and continue past the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery to the Leisure Pool. Walk round behind the Leisure Pool and out of the Car Park at the back, crossing a mini-roundabout. Go up steps onto a footpath that runs alongside the road (behind a hedge). Cross a side road and continue on the footpath until it runs out. The hill on the right is Latrigg. Carry on in the same direction up the road for about 200 yds then turn off onto a bridle path signposted 'Skiddaw 4 miles'. The track is called Spooney Green Lane and shortly crosses the main A66 via a footbridge. Continue up the hill to where another footpath joins from the right (beside a tree and a large, carved gatepost that no longer supports a gate). Where the path forks, keep left. You have now skirted Latrigg and are about to walk round Mallen Dodd. Go through a gate. The path runs alongside a conifer plantation, bounded by a wire fence. Follow the path up and round to a Car Park at the top end of a road (the start point for those who want to shorten the walk).
Go through a gate at the top end of the Car Park. Straight ahead is the ridge known as Blencathra, or The Saddleback. Turn left and walk towards a kissing gate then continue to another gate. Pass a Stone Cross (Hawell Memorial) and follow the line of the fence, which soon leads to a wide, clear gravelled path leading up the mountain.
Pass through another gate then continue up a zig-zag path that is the steepest section of this walk.
The summit peak ahead is Little Man but your route veers right just before that summit approach and goes through a gate and along a gentle incline pointing towards Skiddaw.
At the end of this gentle incline go through a gate and climb up to a cairn. From here a row of cairns accompanies the path to the summit ridge and along the ridge to the summit itself.
Return to Keswick by retracing the outward route
The well laid path makes it possible to walk up this mountain relatively easily, but it is still a mountain. Good footwear is essential as is suitable clothing, remembering that on mild days the summit temperature is likely to be 10 degrees lower than the valley and on bad weather days it is very exposed.
From Keswick10 miles (5 each way)
From top of 6 miles (3 each way)
Hawell Memorial Cross - This memorial honours Edward and Joseph Hawell (Father and son) who were shepherds on Skiddaw and prize breeders of Herdwick Sheep in the 19th century.
The inscription reads -
"Great Shepherd of the heavenly flock
These men have left our hill
Their feet were on the Living Rock
Oh guide and bless them still"
Keswick - One of the largest towns in the Lake District and invariably busy. Plenty of accommodation and places to shop and eat. Possibly the most concentrated gathering anywhere of shops for walkers.
Lakes in view - The lake that dominates the scene as you look down from most of this route is Derwentwater, a justly popular and very pretty lake surrounded by woods and green-sloped mountains. Keswick stands on its northern shore. The lake you see from the summit of Skiddaw is Bassenthwaite. With no towns or large villages on its shores, Bassenthwaite is much quieter, surrounded by woods and blessed with the presence of nesting Ospreys from spring to late summer.