Date: Tuesday, 23rd August 2011
Start/Finish: Latrigg/Skiddaw Car Park
Distance: 9.1 miles
Time Taken: 9 hours
Today was a 'Woohoo!' day :-)
My best ever, new found, walking buddy, Mick, had recently returned from holiday and we were finally going to set out on our planned attempt to reach the summit of Skiddaw and ..... get back down safely with all essential equipment in one piece and in fully functioning working order! Sounds simple enough you might think but, the route planning for this one had taken many long hours of our time in carrying out internet searches and questioning our WalkingForum contacts for photographs of paths and comments on the terrain, etc before we could finally decide that the route was 'do-able' for us and that it was worth an attempt.
So, the day finally dawned and it was with eager anticipation of the day to come that we met at our usual spot and headed out on the journey across country. We had high hopes that the weather forecast would be correct and that we wouldn't have to resort to our low-level back-up route and this did indeed prove to be the case.
We arrived at the Latrigg/Skiddaw car park in good time and, with the weather on our side, we set out on what would be a long haul of an ascent at about 8.30am. We knew that we wouldn't really have any navigating to do on this one but, we also knew that we had no easy task ahead of us. The terrain on the path and the steepness of the gradients were not ideal for either us but, were particularly unsuitable for Mick and it could well have turned out to be simply too much like hard work for both Mick and his arty leg. (In case of equipment failure, the crutches were safely packed in the boot of the car but I can tell you that I secretly had my fingers crossed all of the way up this long haul - I really didn't relish the thought of having to run all the way back to the car and then carry the crutches all the way back up again to come to Mick's rescue! However, I can confirm that I would have done, had it proved necessary!!)
As we began the climb, surprise surprise, I took a few photos....
...and the climb continued with the views getting better all the time as we made slow progress....
....this bit was particularly hard work.....
.....but we finally made it to the top....
Having got our breath back, we carried on to the summit of Little Man....
....and then the last pull up to the summit of Skiddaw.....
It was cold and windy on the summit and there were so many people coming and going, it was bit like being in the middle of the Metrocentre on a Saturday afternoon - yuck! But - woohoo- we had made it to the top and the 'reward' made all of the effort worthwhile ;-)
However, we now had a little problem - we had to get back down again.... and with the strong wind, the cold temperature and the tricky terrain - we couldn't wait for this descent to be over! Not a lot of banter passed our lips on this bit as we attempted to make as quick a descent as possible to reach the much more desirable terrain of the grassy path which would lead us over Sale How to Skiddaw House.
Ahhh....that's better :-)
The path is actually a bit boggy and wet in places but nothing to worry about, especially in comparison to those we've both encountered and got used to in the Cheviots. Nice to encounter a little piece of home now and again lol :-)
From Skiddaw House we picked up the Cumbria Way path which would lead us back through the valley, traversing the lower level slopes of Lonscale Fell, towards the car park....and, had it not been for the fact that we were plagued by midges on this path, this would have been the best part of our walk today....
Our last obstacle of the day was to cross Whit Beck but, this proved to be a fairly simple task as it wasn't deep or flowing too fast - I think it was our lucky day in more ways than one :-)
So - can we do Skiddaw - oh yes we definitely can!!!
A brilliant day out, in the best of company, in a wonderful area - just a crying shame that all good things have to come to an end and I had to be driven back to to collect my car and return to normality once again. :-(
Thanks again Mick - can't wait for our next walk - wherever that may be!!! :-)