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Walk 2040 - printer friendly version

A circuit of 4 peaks on the flanks of Skiddaw Walk

Author - John Paterson

Length - 5.5 miles / 8.9 km

Ascent - 2500 feet / 758 metres

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference NY234293
Lat 54.652955 + Long -3.188749
Postcode CA12 4QG (approx. location only)

Skiddaw presents a problem to those who intend to climb all 214 "Wainwrights" - the fells listed by the famous guidebook writer. The massif and its outliers comprise 8 Wainwrights and no route of sensible length can be devised which climbs all of them without much doubling back. Most walkers will opt to climb the 8 peaks in at least two walks. This exhilarating and varied route is quite short but climbs the 4 Wainwrights on the western flank of the massif - with an optional ascent of the main summit of Skiddaw. There is also the bonus of a chance of spotting the Ospreys of Bassenthwaite Lake. The birds arrive from Africa in April and depart in mid September and with binoculars you may spot them fishing.

The start of this excellent Lake District walk is from a small carpark (Grid ref. NY234293)on the east side of the A591, 4 miles north of Keswick and 400 yards south of the Ravenstone Hotel. The carpark has a bus stop signed "Scarness Road End".

Take the woodland track north alongside the road for a few hundred yards until you are forced to turn east and climb steeply uphill. Pass though a gate in the intake wall onto the open fell. Head north east up the fellside to pick up a path which reaches the ridge at Ling How, a slight saddle (GR240302) It is worth detouring north for 200 yards to the "Watches" or "Watchstones" - a natural outcropping of rocks which makes a good foreground for pictures. From the Watches, head south up the ridge which gives easy walking over an airy traverse to Ullock Pike and Longside Edge. The views are exceptional - north to Scotland, west over Bassenthwaite Lake and east to the main summit of Skiddaw. The views to the south do not really open up until the tiny tarn at Carl Side Col (GR256283) is reached half a mile after Longside Edge. [ From the col there is the option of taking the very steep shaley path to Skiddaw summit which is just under a mile to the north east. This will add about an hour to the route.]

From Carl Side Col take the path heading south west to reach the summit of Carl Side after 200 yards. The path continues over the summit and descends steeply south. After half a mile "White Stones" is reached (GR254272 ). These are quartz boulders and mark the point where our route turns right (west) and leads down through heather to a col (GR250273) separating the outlying fell of Dodd from the main massif. A forest road and then a purpose built path lead to the summit after a climb of 400 feet. The Forestry Commission have felled the trees which used to clothe the summit of Dodd so it is once more a great viewpoint. From the summit, retrace your route to the col then turn left and head north west for 100 yards until the deep valley of Skill Beck is seen ahead. Bear right at the fork to follow the right bank of the beck and left at the next fork to stay close to the beck which is followed down through Dodd wood to meet the road at the carpark for the official Osprey viewpoint (May to September). A woodland footpath leads north for just over half a mile to the start of the walk.

Note - This walk takes place in the area where Ospreys are being regularly bred - after a break of 150 years. They breed on the opposite side of the lake but the viewpoint is on the lower slopes of Dodd. More information is available locally.

Walk 2040 Route Map

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