Apparently Skiddaw often has its head in the clouds! but if you wait 5 minutes it'll probably change. Such is the way on the high mountains. However the paths are wide, clearly marked and present no difficulty for human or canine walkers even in quite thick mist.
The Skiddaw massif standing over the town of Keswick can be seen from much of Lakeland. Its bulk made of layers of shales and mudstones formed over 450 million years ago, compressed and heated to form its own particular variety of slate then pushed upwards as tectonic plates collided. Skiddaw slate has a grey tint unlike the Borrowdale green slate mined at Honister, and can be seen in many of the buildings around Keswick. A curious feature of the way the slate was formed produced the "Musical Stones of Skiddaw". Made from hornfels which is a hard, dense rock from the interface of mudstones and hot lava, the stones ring when struck and the instrument is called a Lithophone.
Way back in the early 1900s there used to be a tea hut called the half-way house, which was as you might guess at the half way point from Keswick. Now all that remains is a small flat area next to a gateway on the slopes near Underskiddaw.
Some people like to start this walk in Keswick, but the car park behind Latrigg at the end of the Gale Gill road gives us a bit of a head start. Cheating? Absolutely not.
This walk takes you to the top of the following hills: Skiddaw, Skiddaw Middle Top, Skiddaw South Top, Skiddaw Little Man, Skiddaw - Lesser Man, Jenkin Hill, and Skiddaw North Top; and includes 1 Furth, 2 Wainwrights, 7 Birketts, 1 Marilyn, 2 Hewitts, 2 Nuttalls, and 1 HuMP.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
At the far end of the car park behind Latrigg go through the gate and turn sharp left. Follow the wall on your left to a kissing gate, go through the gate and keep left with the fence close by. Another gate is in the dip beyond the shepherd's monument. Now the climbing begins!
After a set of zigzags you reach another gate and continue on the obvious wide track beyond now with the fence on your right hand side. This is where the half-way house used to be.
In a little over 1.0km (0.6 miles) you reach another gate marked with a small sign saying "Skiddaw Summit", go through and continue on this track as it contours around Little Man. The track then steepens with a large cairn at the top of the rise. This marks the southern end of the summit ridge. Bear right and head to the trig point and summit proper.
Return is largely retracing your steps. However, we'll also visit Little and Lesser Man. So return to the cairn at the southern end of the summit ridge and bear left. Drop down to the cairn just before the top fence and gate where a small path bears right alongside the fence and then left to keep the fence close beside you. Cross the grassy soft plateau and start the climb up Little Man. The fence moves away here, but our path continues largely straight ahead on a rough rocky path.
Reaching the summit cairn of Little Man, continue on to reach the second cairn marking the end of the short ridge and the summit of Lesser Man (which is not named on OS maps).
Continue straight ahead descending towards the outward bound track rejoining it at the gate with the small sign. Bear right and keep on the track all the way back to the car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|A longer walk over Bakestall and Skiddaw||10m (11 yards) away|
|Skiddaw Shepherd's Memorial||50m (55 yards) away|
|Latrigg: a short stroll||67m (74 yards) away|
|Lonscale Fell via Burnt Horse Ridge||67m (74 yards) away|
|The Old Keswick Railway Line and Latrigg||1.9km (1.1 miles) away|
|Castlerigg Stone Circle||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|Castlehead Viewpoint from the Moot Hall, Keswick||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Keswick to Caldbeck||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|A short walk to Friar's Crag from the Moot Hall, Keswick||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Around Derwent Water||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Blencathra via Hall's Fell Ridge||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell from Great Wood||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and the Great Wood||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011