A longer walk over Bakestall and Skiddaw

The Skiddaw massif standing over the town of Keswick can be seen from much of Lakeland and often with its own cap of cloud. 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.

So to this fine walk. A convenient starting point is the rough car park at the end of the Gale Gill road behind Latrigg. From there you follow the Cumbria Way around the southern shoulder of Lonscale Fell with simply wonderful views from the east through to the west. A terraced path below Lonscale Crags is as dramatic as the contours on the map hint and provide a stunning way round to the remote area of Back O' Skiddaw. Passing Skiddaw House and following the supply track to Dash Falls is just the beginning of the walk. It is only here that the climbing really gets going. Views open out again to Bassenthwaite and the plains of Cockermouth. Bakestall, perched above Dead Crags on the northern end of Skiddaw's summit ridge comes after a steep path through heather. Then after a short respite another steep climb to Skiddaw North Top. The summit itself has a trig point and troposcope showing the direction of the many, many visible fells. The descent over Skiddaw Little Man and Skiddaw - Lesser Man has further interest in the views down to Keswick, Derwent Water and the Jaws of Borrowdale.

This walk may be started from Keswick, in fact many purists would insist that Skiddaw is climbed from the town, not from the car park at the end of the tarmac road behind Latrigg. However the car park makes for such a convenient start and end point that, as here, we often use it. The road up is a little rough these days but passable with just a little care to avoid the worst potholes.