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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Skiddaw by Ullock Pike

starting the slope up to skiddaw

This was another of Martin Banfield’s collection of Bill Birkett’s Great British Ridge Walks, in this case number 20, Skiddaw by Ullock Pike and descent by Birkett’s Edge.

And what a fine spring morning if a bit fractious on the roads and a bit mizzly and misty at first. But as we (me, Bruno, Graham and Martin) climbed up on to Ullock Pike, the cloud top over Skiddaw gradually cleared and there were sunny patches in the fields below.

skiddaw from ullock pike

Edit: Can you see Jimmy Hendrix in the Skiddaw Screes in the picture above? He's in the snow just above the scree and right in the middle in the top third..... He may have melted by now...

We bagged Carl Side, which Bill Birkett seems to have ignored for some reason, although it does have a very fine view of Keswick and Derwentwater.

From here, the next bit looked tricky. Some people, high up on the slope up to Skiddaw, seemed to be having some difficulty with the steep snow, and a couple with a dog seemed to have turned back. A brief committee meeting was held and it was unanimously agreed in a unanimous kind of way that we’d go for the zig-zag path to the right of where the people were struggling because the snowline was higher, so there’d be less of the slippery stuff. Martin lent me a walking pole and orf we jolly well went. It wasn’t all that difficult, really. The snow was grippy enough and steps didn’t really need to be kicked. Bruno ate much of the snow anyway – so , soon we were on the sunny and snowy summit of Skiddaw.

martin climbing the snow slope

derwentwater below

The snow was thawing quite quickly and it won’t be very long till its retreated just to the edges and the gullies. There were a few small bare patches on the summit.

It was much too cold for sitting around up there, so, we had a break a little down the North side in the sun.

graham at skiddaw trig point

Bakestall and Birketts Edge followed where the supply of snow ran out. In trying to get superdawg to walk to heel instead of pulling me all over the place in search of snowballs and kicked-up snow, we broke our retractable lead. It was a bit old anyway, and so, it looks like Bruno will be getting a new lead and harness for his birthday, whenever we find out what his birthday is. His harness is a bit old and frayed too. We’ll make no mention of the old and frayed nature of the bloke holding the other end of the lead.

skiddaw retrospective

We only got lost a little bit on the way back to the car and I shouldn’t really mention it, so I won’t – and soon, we were back at the car and battling once again with others on the A66.

According to the book, the walk is 13km and 1030 feet of ascent. I could only make it 930 metres though.

Cracking walk – Thanks to Martin once again for the idea and Graham and Martin for the company and thanks a bunch to Bruno for the broken lead.

Stop Press Late Edyte and all that kinda thing.... Martin;s version of this walk can be read here complete with bonus photo album and a bloke smoking a swiss roll



The Weekend Dude said...


When did you go up Skiddaw if you don't mind me asking? We're due to go up on Saturday as training and familiarisation (we'll be ascending in the dark) for the Lakeland 3000's later in the year and noticed that there is still a ton of snow up there. I thought it would have been on it's way out now - looks like I know as much as the weathermen mind.

Views are awesome though, the SLR will be a must and fingers crossed for a clear day (as always).

mike knipe said...

This was yesterday (Tuesday 16th March). The snow is melting quite quickly - there may not be much left by Saturday. I doubt if it will cause you any significant difficulties, specially if you use the "trade" route from Latrigg col. A low pressure with wind, rain and hill fog would be more of a hindrance, I would have thought.

Phreerunner said...

Another good report, Mike. I'm struggling to resist the temptation to copy and paste...

mike knipe said...

You can copy it if you want - but just do find and replace every instance of the word "have" with the word "of" for a partial translation into blogspeak.

e.g. Can I of a pint of bitter?

LOL, obviously.