Knocking off Wainwrights "directissimo" plus
(if indeed there are any) may have noticed recently
how Bryan has been subtly influencing our outings to
cover hills he needs in order to complete his nth collection
of Wainwrights. More overtly this time, he offered
his list of 18 walks that he plans to do to knock off
the 80 or so he has left and asked if any took our fancy.
by our Blencathra walk last week, when I noticed "Lonscale
Fell / Skiddaw Little Man / Dodd" on the list, I suggested
we did this but, as we would be so close, we should
add on Skiddaw. I realise we had been there on
26th August 2004 but the visibility had been poor and
as the forecast this time was promising, it seemed too
good a chance to miss. So you can blame me for
the added height. Or at least some of it.
was another misty moisty autumnal morning, made worse
by the fact that we started out an hour earlier than
last week and the unnaturally early start was taking
its toll. Bryan found us one of his cunning places
to park, half way up the hill near Underscar, and proudly
boasted about how he had saved us 700 feet.
from car park- click for view on return
memorial - click for different view
set off up the Skiddaw "Tourist's" route, past the memorial
to the Shepherds, along the side of Whit Beck. It
was the coldest start we have had for a long time but
we soon warmed up. Lonscale Fell was our first
target and somehow we missed the path. However,
quickly realising that we should not be branching round
to the left with the tourist route, we set off directly
up the hill, another Hardaker special but he wants me
to report how his navigation was spot on and that,
despite the fact we were now in thick mist,
we hit the fence exactly where he predicted. We
followed the fence east and then its original line after
it turned left and this took us directly to the summit
our steps, accidentally or deliberately I am not sure,
we aimed off to the right . This proved to be failsafe
as we came back to the fence and were able to follow
this down and along towards Skiddaw Little Man. En
route, Tony had a lesson in navigation in mist using
a spare man in front as his marker.
the tourist motorway and before long, on reaching its
cairn, we were congratulating ourselves on the speed
of our ascent of Skiddaw Little Man and predicting lunch
on top of Skiddaw before noon.
The path, which should have fallen away, started
to climb again and before long, on reaching its cairn,
we were congratulating ourselves on the speed of our
ascent of Skiddaw Little Man and predicting lunch on
top of Skiddaw shortly after noon.
soon picked up the tourist motorway and found ourselves
behind two men. Stan and I had decided that there
would be no silly chasing people up hills today and
I was proud of the fact that I was maturely resisting
the temptation. Then I remembered how Stan had
said how annoying people found it to have someone on
their heels, so I thought that might be fun. So
I advanced to within a yard or so and the next thing
I knew I was a hundred yards in front and the old urge
had reasserted itself. Which explains why I came
to arrive at the summit a few minutes before the rest
of our party. In thick mist and in other places
that would have been a really stupid move but given
the existence of the motorway plus the fact that the
higher one got, the thinner became the clouds, it was
not too silly.
at the top was magical. Timing was perfect- the
clouds were just starting to dissipate and the views
were spectacular but ever changing. In particular,
for a brief period we had a perfect view of Blencathra
and this time it was perfectly straightforward to tell
which of its peaks was the actual summit!
glimpse of Derwentwater
took lunch in the summit shelter. Not quite before
noon but before Tony had time to complain. The
path chosen to descend to Carl Side was not the slanting
one that we had found such hard work going up two years
ago but, to quote Bryan, "directissimo". A very
loose surface and quite steep; I found it tricky going
despite the emerging glimpses of Derwentwater.
View back to Skiddaw and Little Man from
Tarn hardly merits the description, more of a puddle
really and Carl Side was swiftly ascended. The
descent however was another matter. As we needed
to take in Dodd, we had to find a way down to the right
of the main path and with hindsight we branched off
too early. Hence we pioneered a new route "directissimo"
through the heather. Again hard going but for
very different reasons. The feet had to be lifted
high to clear the heather and you never knew what was going to happen when
you put them down. Hole? Normal Ground?
Hidden Rock? It was a relief to find the
proper path at last even if we were the best part down
is a strange little hill. It used to be heavily
forested but has now been mainly cleared, leaving a
very even path to its summit. However before tackling
it we found a bench to the memory of Ruth Day (1948
- 2002) and as it
offered superb views over Derwentwater and surrounding
fells, we thought it would be disrespectful not to take
advantage of it for a LOTSW break (and second lunch).
Dodd offered similar views plus Bassenthwaite.
View from Ruth Day's seat
We came down
Dodd the way we went up and then followed a wall, traversing
the hill until we came to the Slades Beck footpath.To
be fair to Bryan, at this point he gave us two options.
One was to go down the footpath to the road and have a simple
stroll back to the car, the other was to contour round
the hills and scramble across the various becks en route,
which might take a couple of hours. Legs very
tired at this stage, we opted for the road.
and Bryan galloped off down the Slades Beck path at
a frightening speed. Tony and I gave up trying
to keep up with them, it was very steep and hard on
Bless them though, they eventually waited for
us to catch up. By now the path had turned from
stone to grass, still quite steep but as they set off down the grass I
realised that this was a surface on which I could keep
up. And then, not just keep up, but overtake them.
"Look out lads, I'm coming through," I shouted
as I barged between them, accelerating all the time.
All the time, that is, until my left foot lost
grip and I ignominiously tumbled to the ground. However,
undeterred, I managed to execute a perfect recovery
and in one continuous movement, rolled back onto my
feet and carried on, still in front! I am getting
worried. What is my problem? Why do I do this?
After all, I am 60 next year!! Fortunately the
Red Cross Green Goddess waiting at the bottom was not
reached the road and it was very pleasant. Lovely
houses, lovely views, lovely little village hall, war
memorial and church. All very lovely, until the last
half mile. And then we realised that the 700 feet
that Bryan had kindly saved us at the start of the walk
was nothing more than a debt that had to be repaid at
the end. It was a killer way to finish a very
strenuous walk and quite the most height gained (and
lost) that we have yet done.
18th October 2006
Fell, Skiddaw Little Man, Skiddaw, Carl
other than a long dead mouse.
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- BB0631 Coppermines
- BB0630 Relocation,
- BB0629 Stone Arthur and a Mystery Plume
- BB0628 Knocking off Wainwrights. Oh! Plus Skiddaw!
- BB0627 Blencathra
and the Mungrisdale Round
- BB0626 The
- BB0625 Les
Garçons de la Botte
- BB0624 The
Crookdale Horseshoe and then some
Selside Pike revisited
Round the Dunny!
The Malham Experience
Old Man Succumbs!
QH2QH High Street (the length thereof)
High Street Racecourse
Well, Well, Well, Wansfell and Troutbeck Tongue
Yewbarrow and a history lesson
Clough Head and Great Dodd
The Corpse Road and beyond
A Bit on the Side.....
Angle Tarn with Surprises!
Cragg via Dovedale
in the Sky with Brocken Spectres
Street via Gardiner's Grind)
Holme Fell, Black Fell and Electric