Misty Skiddaw

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.