Walk 1073 - printer friendly version
Skiddaw & Glenderaterra Beck from Underscar Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km
Ascent - 2680 feet / 812 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference NY281253
Lat 54.617708 + Long -3.1149351
Postcode CA12 4PH (approx. location only)
Skiddaw is the fourth highest peak in Lakeland. This Lake District walk combines a remarkably easy and straightforward route of ascent with an interesting return. Any visitor to Keswick will no doubt have been impressed by the sheer bulk of Skiddaw with its smooth lines. The start for this walk is in the car park (Grid ref. NY 281253) on the dead end road from Keswick via Applethwaite just above Underscar. On busy days it fills quickly so either an early or late start is recommended.
The upward route is obvious heading across the open fellside. At first the fence is on your left as you climb steadily across the open fell but quite soon you cross to the other side and the going gets steeper. There are few landmarks ahead and it will be a little while before you see your main objective so plod up the path towards the indistinct col between Jenkin Hill and Little Man (Grid ref NY 271275). Just before the fence that crosses this Col fork left along a less well-trodden route to the summit of Little Man. This is a pleasant diversion adding a little ascent but nonetheless adding interest to the route.
The summit of Little Man is quite airy and gives good views in the southern sector and provides a good spot for a well earned rest. Descend to the next Col and pick up the main path that has taken an easier route around the northern side of Little Man. All that remains is a final ascent onto the summit of Skiddaw, which has three subsidiary tops, the most northerly being the highest. The view, subject to weather, is superb in all directions including most of the Lakeland Fells and some of the higher peaks in Southern Scotland.
Descend from the summit using the main path as far as the Col between Skiddaw and Little Man. Go through the gate in the fence (Grid ref. NY 264283) and, leaving the main path, strike off across grass to the summit of Sale How. There is not a clear path on this section so make sure your map reading skills are up to scratch! The descent is easy and the view ahead is typical of the lonely fells north of Skiddaw and Blencathra. From Sale How's summit the next objective, the Youth Hostel of Skiddaw House, comes into view with its small plantation of trees making it hard to miss in this treeless landscape.
Locate the front of the Youth Hostel and follow the clear path - the Cumbrian Way - heading southeast. You cross a footbridge after a short way before the path turns south and enters a wonderfully dramatic valley. On your right are the crags of Lonscale Fell whilst far below Glenderaterra Beck tumbles down to the River Greta with Blease Fell beyond. The path follows a "high level" route offering a grandstand view before leaving the gorge to turn west across the lower grassy slopes of Lonscale Fell to reach the start.