With the current good weather forecast, I wanted to get out on the fells this Saturday and my buddy Steve wanted to come too. Steve has wanted to do Skiddaw for ages and this looked a great day to do it. I have done it twice, and my daughter Steph has also done the full round as well, but hey - we cant deny Steve this awesome fell as Steph and I both agree its one of the best out there. In fact I would go as far as to say if you choose the right route, its one of the best walks in the UK. Now Skiddaw has at least 5 routes up to it that I know of, but as far as I am concerned, the only really awesome route up there is via Ullock Pike so thats the route I planned.
Today we will summit 4 Wainwrights:
Time & Distance Info
All image description text is "above" the image that it is referring to on my blogs.
This route when viewed in Open Topo map looks like this: (N/S Orientation correct)
(Walking Anti-clockwise from top left)
And the view of the route as seen on Google Earth. (Walking Anti-clockwise from bottom left)
Here is the elevation profile: (Height on the left axis, and mileage along the bottom)
Because the parking for this route up at Hill Crest is very sparce and only provides spaces for about 6 cars, we had to hit this one early. So we left my house at 6:10am, picked Steve up from his house at 6:30am and were parked up at Hill Crest with our boots on for 8:30am. The weather was looking amazing so far.
As you gain height, the view back over to Bassenthwaite is awesome.
But the view ahead to our ridge walk is on another level.
The light was tricky today due to our early start. The sun was rising up right above Skiddaw so nice images pointing in that direction were not easy to achieve. Thus a lot of my early images are pointing away from the sun. This one is looking back from the ridge after we climbed up onto it at Ling How. Thats Binsey back there - One I still havent done actually.
The view across to Bassenthwaite Lake now was beautiful. This sheep seemed to think so too.
Onwards up to "The Edge". Ullock Pike is very prominent from here.
The view across to Barf, Broom, Lords Seat and Graystones. I did all those and more in one hike last year. (Trip report here)
A quick snapshot of Steve.
And one of Steph on her way up Ullock Pike. This section is very steep. We are taking our time today. Steve however has a 60mile time trial around the Yorkshire Peaks coming up so he is keen to push himself and has dissapeared somewhere into the distance. I hope when we finally catch him up he has the kettle on as I suggested earlier to him.
Skiddaw looks very imposing, even from this height.
Our first view over towards Keswick... Look at that view!
We found Steve taking in the views just to the right of Ullock Pike Summit.
And he had already brewed up. What a star.
I had been playing with my new iPhone 7 a lot on route as I was beta testing for Viewranger on this new hardware. Now we have stopped for a rest, it seemed to be a great time to try its 12mb f/1.8 camera out properly with this decent light. I am VERY impressed! Who would have thought a few years ago that our telephones would be capable of rendering an image like this?
And while I am here with such great scenery, it would be rude not to test the all important video quality. Be sure to hit 1080P HD to enjoy this at its best. The phones image stabiliser has certainly improved the video quality for handheld vidoes no end. Very, very impressive.
Finally - A test of its panorama quality. Few words are needed, the image itself can do the talking.
Now Steve took this one of me and Steph with my Canon G7X. it proves that certainly for website sized viewing, with favourable light, there isnt much between a top end compact and an iPhone 7 at all! In low light of course things will change a lot as sensor and lens size is everything when the light gets low, but for normal everyday daytime images, this phones pretty incredible.
Best get moving. I took a quick snap of Steve and Steph and we headed onwards to Long Side.
Via Long Side Edge.
Steve near the summit of Long Side, with Skiddaw behind.
Steve was on fire today - He is super fit. I think he was considering jumping off the summit here, running along the beck back to the car and then running the route again and catching us up. Seems fair... We dont want to spoil his training. Ha Ha.
Its quite a way down though!
Hes decided to pose for an image now and then add on two extra fells instead. More about that later.
Onwards from Longside to Carl Side. The summit of which is just out of sight to the right.
After a quick break at Carl Side, the biggest ascent of the day now looms. Steph and I know we will struggle here, its a hard slog and we will be taking it easy. This is no place for me to have a heart attack! As Steve can probably run up this thing, he is going to go on ahead, go over Skiddaw, down the other side and up to summit Skiddaw Little man then come back up to Skiddaw to meet us on the summit. I have done Little Man and have no wish to participate in such super human activities and it takes the strain off Steph and I.
I took this image with the camera perfectly horizontal to try and give some idea of how steep it is. (The G7X has a built in digital level)
And then I turned and grabbed a quick panorama of Stephs ascent. What an incredible view this is. it is rare you can look back at your entire ascent path, but we can pretty much see it all from here.
When I turned back, Steve had gone. That dot at the top is his head. Off he goes to visit Skiddaw Little Man.
Giving me more time to take pictures. What a view... Ullock Pike and Long Side look incredible from up here.
Carl Side by comparison is a mere lump... Just a path onto Skiddaw really. An odd description of a 2400ft summit, but that is just how it looks from here!
We finally make the top and pause for a while to get our breath. The summit is up ahead now.
No more than 5 minutes later Steve re-appears. Hard to believe he ran off Skiddaw, visited Skiddaw Little Man summit and then got back up Skiddaw to take this pic of us in pretty much the same time it took Steph and I just to ascend that last path. He makes me feel VERY old and worn out... but hes also an inspiration and gives me the pushes I need to keep getting fitter. 2 years ago I could cough up blood if I ran up the stairs too fast, so Im doing ok I guess!
And the bugger is still smiling and bone dry too!
The view across to Blencathra and Mungrisedale Common from Skiddaw.
Summit done, its time to descend from the rear of Skiddaw. The path off is very clear and just snakes off into the distance across Broad End. We will be waiting atop Broad End for Steve while he goes on ahead to visit Bakestall which Steph and I have also already done. (See previous Skiddaw round trip report).
Off he goes. Looks hard work... Glad im not doing it. Ha Ha.
While he was away Steph and I were relaxing in the sun and noticed a bee sat near us. It seemed unable to fly, and was just wandering around, walking right up the rocks and sitting next to us. I poured a little coffee on the rock and it went over and drank from it. As it sat there drinking with its huge tongue, I figured this was a great opportunity to try out the close up capabilities of the new iPhone. Again, very impressive.
Steve was back after about 30mins and we sat around eating drinking and just enjoying the fells. Whilst we sat there, I snapped a picture of an equally happy looking sheep with Binsey and Over Water in the distance.
Its time to go. We are taking the southern path off Broad End this time. A path I have never used so it was nice to be on some new terrain.
Steve looking back up to Broad End.
The path runs along the flanks of Broad End towards Barkbeth Gill and Randel Crag. This is a MUCH better descent option to the last one we used, and will be my standard descent option from Skiddaw from now on.
Once you cross Barkbeth Gill, you turn right and follow the easy path North West through Barkbethdale towards your starting point.
I spotted this sheepfold in Barkbethdale and thought it made a nice scene with Barkbeth Gill running out towards Binsey in the distance.
A snap of Steph and Steve with Skiddaw behind them.
Eventually we reach Southerndale Beck and stop to refresh before the last mile or so to the car.
Looking back as we exit the gate from the valley.
It was at this point I remembered seeing a bench on a hill round here on my last visit with Steph. I decided to seek it out as I always figure that when someones gone to the effort of installing a bench, the view must have warranted it.
Oh... Thats dissapointing. I guess last winters storms must have finished it off. At least, I sincerely hope it was the storms. To find out this was done by humans would be terrible.
However - My hunch was right. This hill affords you the most incredible view of the Skiddaw range.
Without doubt - This is the time to test the new phones 7MP front facing camera with a selfie!
And a Panorama. iPhone 7 first. (straight off the phone and uploaded)
Canon G7X. The Canon wins, but I had to manually stitch and process this while the iPhone did it all itself.
And that marks the end of our day. The car is only 1/2 a mile from here.
Thanks for reading folks. I hope you enjoyed taking a little trip with us and that it inspired you to try the route.
Remember, take your time... never rush. The fells are there to be enjoyed, not endured.
While you are out there enjoying the beautiful fells, remember the golden rules...
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints and keep only memories".
Here is some data from my Suunto Ambit 3 peak watch.
Calories etc are pretty accurate as I use the Suunto Smart heart monitor on all my hikes. GPS data is updated every 1 second so it it records every footstep, thus mileage often looks a little different to most navigation apps as they are usually set to update far less frequently and so miss a few turns here and there. All that wandering around looking at views adds up.
Finally... Here is a nice little 3D video of the route created by Suunto Movescount.
All images in this blog were taken with my little pocket sized Canon G7X point and shoot. Its not a patch on my Canon 5D MK3 of course but I no longer lug all that around with me hiking as its just too cumbersome. When I find a scene worthy of the 5D3's talents, I usually return one day to make the best of it.
Route Completed on September 17th, 2016 with Steph & Steve.
New Wainwrights: 0. New total: 147 of 214.
New Birketts: 0. New total 203 of 541.