Skiddaw up the back side

by Dan Bailey - ? Aug/2012
This route has been read 1,692 times

WalkingSkiddaw up the back side

Cumbria, ENGLAND

google map Graded moderate ?

Voting 4*
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Distance 11.84 miles (19 km)

Total ascent 935m

Steepest climb 20% (1 in 5)

Time 6 – 8 hours (Walking)

Start/finish Latrigg car park, NY280253

Summits included en route:
Hill Sale How 666 m
Hill Skiddaw 931 m

Nearest town Keswick

Terrain A very clear path as far as Skiddaw House (easily cycle-able if you like), then a much more vague trail up the easy grassy slopes of Sale How and the continuation onto Skiddaw's summit ridge. The descent via Hare Crag has an even less clear trail, and it's pretty boggy lower down.

Seasonal variations A good winter round - long but easy. It'd be fun on skis too.

Weather and hill conditions mwis: Lake DistrictMet Office: Lake District

Public transport Bus to Keswick from Windermere/Ambleside or Penrith. From Keswick, walk up to Latrigg car park via the swimming pool and Briar Rigg road.

Maps OS Explorer OL4 (1:25,000), Harvey/BMC Lake District (1:40,000), OS Landranger 89 (1:50,000)

Accommodation Skiddaw House YHA tel. 07747 174293

Find more Classifieds near this route

Tourist info Keswick (017687 72645); Seatoller (017687 77294); Ullswater (017684 82414)

Skiddaw looks its most monumental from the Keswick side, but this aspect is much nicer viewed from a distance than actually walked up. In the flesh it's a dull and seemingly endless grind. Well, someone had to say it. Easy access makes this flank of the hill the most popular by far too, and crowds don't really add much to the experience. But enough of the negativity. For a completely different day out head round to the hill's wilder northeastern side, where the wide open spaces of the Skiddaw Forest have plenty to offer lovers of remote country. OK, the hill itself is a shapeless lump from this angle, but it's blissfully uncrowded too. You can even make a weekend of it with a night in the rustic Skiddaw House YHA. One of the few hostels anywhere in the UK with no road access, it's well worth the trip in its own right.

Close this photo
+Blencathra from the peaceful east flank of Skiddaw, 108 kb
Blencathra from the peaceful east flank of Skiddaw


Detailed description

NY2799225343 The Latrigg car park is the start point for a very popular route up Skiddaw; follow this briefly, then turn off right onto the rather less crowded Cumbria Way. This crosses Whit Beck and heads east to a shoulder overlooking the deep valley of the Glenderaterra Beck. The trail now traverses the steep craggy east flank of Lonscale Fell - it's quite spectacular in places (but not at all hard or scary). Beyond this the path leads gradually uphill into the wilds of the Skiddaw Forest to reach the isolated hostel at Skiddaw House.
+Heading up the Glenderaterra path into the Skiddaw Forest, 142 kb
Heading up the Glenderaterra path into the Skiddaw Forest
© Dan Bailey -, Aug 2011

NY2859029154 Walk around the hostel grounds, and from a gate on the far side pick up a grassy path running steadily uphill onto the minor top of Sale How. Continue up the vague eastern spur of Skiddaw to join the Latrigg path, a broad and badly eroded gravel motorway.
NY2639528321 Follow the crowds northwest up onto Skiddaw's summit ridge; the high point is a short stroll north along the ridge.
+Skiddaw Forest, the quiet side of the Lakes, 82 kb
Skiddaw Forest, the quiet side of the Lakes
UKC Articles, Mar 2012
© Dan Bailey

NY2594929098 Continue north, descending the ridge above the dramatic deep scoop of Barkbethdale to reach a wide, level shoulder. Cut right here to descend the broad grassy spur of Blake Hill - there's a path of sorts, but even if you don't find it the going is easy. Pass over the slight rise of Hare Crag, then bear northeast to avoid the worst of the bogs on the lower slopes. Meet the Cumbria Way near Dead Beck.

NY2816930387 Follow the track south(ish) to Skiddaw House, then retrace your steps on the Glenderaterra path back to the Latrigg car park.

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