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" Skiddaw Little Man & Lonscale "

Date & start time: Wednesday 12th December 2012, 12 noon start.

Location of Start : The Gale Road parking area, Keswick, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 280 253 )

Places visited : Jenkin Hill, Skiddaw Lesser Man, Skiddaw Little Man, Lonscale & back.

Walk details :   6.5 mls, 2300 ft of ascent, 4 hour 25 mins.

Highest point : Skiddaw Little Man, 2,837ft 865m

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Clear skies and sunny in the northern Lakes, but cloud building from the west.

" Skiddaw Little Man & Lonscale " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


Originally we were heading south but a complete change of plans finds us on the track to Skiddaw Little Man.

The weather over the other side of Dunmail Raise today really failed to impress us !

We park at Gale Road and head up to see how far we'll get while the daylight holds.

- - - o o o - - -

Keswick Vale looking a little cold this morning.

To be fair, as we headed over Whinlatter Pass we fully intended to climb Low Pike and High Pike above Ambleside.

We wanted to climb them to add to our total of our third round of Wainwrights, but then we've only reduced our outstanding total by about three this year

despite the number of fells we have climbed and re-climbed . . . we'll attain our target in due course . . . but there's no rush !

The forecast was for possible low cloud, sea mist spreading into the south west, with the north east being clearer.

This was the view as we drove over Castlerigg summit on the A591 heading south towards Thirlmere.

Mmmm . . . Ambleside was a bit grey to say the least.

The cloud didn't look inviting as inversions sometimes do and the weather forecast in Ambleside post office only hinted at possible clearance

so we posted a few Christmas Cards and headed back over Dunmail Raise, lo and behold, back into the sunshine !

Plan B . . . park at Gale Road (Latrigg) and head up to the snow on Skiddaw.

The inversion would probably have occurred . . . but were our fells above or below it ?

Ann looks back at that cold looking cloud spilling over Dunmail Raise into St John's in the Vale . . . we are happy with where we are !

Across the fields and we start the climb up Skiddaw via Jenkin Hill, passing the Howell Memorial on the way.

"Great Shepherd of Thy heavenly flock. These men have left our hill,

Their feet were on the living rock. Oh guide and bless them still." . . . The Howell inscription.

Click here or on the photo for a larger panorama

- - - o o o - - -

For those that love the coincidence of dates, the above photo was taken on the 12th day of the 12th month of 2012, at 12 minutes past 12 in the afternoon !!!

[ a coincidence which won't re-occur till one minute past one on the 1st Jan 2101 . . . 89 years from now . . . don't hold your breath ]

A new generation of shepherds still run sheep on these fells.

The old path climbs straight up, the new track curves right and climbs at a slightly gentler angle.

The Central and North Western Fells as we pass the monument.

The sky is clear but the valley looks cold and grey.

Zooming in on Grisedale Pike and Sail Fell.

Panning round to a cold looking Newlands Valley.

The southern cloud is spilling over Greenup Edge too.

The three triangular summits will be Eagle Crag, Pike O'Blisco and Coniston Old Man.

Helvellyn and Brown Cove Crags, with the cloud pushing north but never really advancing far up the valley.

We stood aside for two mad mountain bikers . . . who kindly stopped to say hello !

They had been up to the summit of  Skiddaw and cycled down in the snow.

It turns out of course that they were two colleagues from work . . . Paul and Mark.

We got the low-down on the snow conditions and had our photo taken for a change.

Click here to see Paul's Go-Pro video . . . his video camera is chest mounted . . . note the harness.  * not yet live

[ at present the link is to his snow ride but we may feature it when he re-drafts it to include his full ride ] 

The view improved as we climb . . . can you spot the paraglider ?

Okay . . . try spotting this one.
He passed right overhead . . . note the aircraft high above.

Changing lenses quickly I followed him as he passed in front of Great Gable and Brandreth.

Turning round in front of Castle Crag . . .

. . . and turning again over the lake.

Making his approach before he finally lands down at Gale Road.

The panorama of the Keswick Valley with the sun shining on Derwent Water . . . it still looks just as cold !

Click here or on the photo for a larger panorama

Up above the snow line now as we reach the summit of the Jenkin Hill track.

The gate at the junction where our route turns left and climbs Skiddaw Little Man.

Sunshine and snow . . . with Skiddaw in the background.

The fence extends east towards Lonscale . . . our route shortly.
In the mean time we'll head in the other direction !

The engineered path extends a short distance up towards Skiddaw Lesser Man.

The snow is not too deep but it is very icy due to recent thaw and re-freezing.

Time to put the micro-spikes on . . . to make sure we don't slide back down.

Turning round, we have a lovely view east over Lonscale, Blencathra and right across to the snow covered Pennines.

The collection of twisted fence posts that mark the summit of Lesser Man.

Ann's photo of myself and the dogs on Lesser Man.

Onward and upward to the second summit . . . Skiddaw Little Man.

A small golden dot in the distance means that Bethan is half way there already !

Ann climbs the frozen slope towards the next summit.

Part snow, part hail, part ice crystals . . .
. . . very beautiful nevertheless.

The self-timer is employed for a Christmas portrait on Skiddaw Little Man.

It has been eleven years since we first climbed this summit . . . it was out final top on our first Wainwright round.

The view onward to Skiddaw . . . the main summit.

We'll pass on that today otherwise we'll run out of daylight.

No reason why we shouldn't take a panoramic photo though . . . click here or on the photo to see it.

A few treats to encourage (not that they need a lot of that)
Sheet ice . . . the reason why the spikes are preferable.

That view is never far out of sight . . . there even appears to be a little ice on the surface of the lake.

As we walk down the temperature is dropping due to the lack of sun.

The predicted cloud is travelling north and east and quite a cloud bank is building over the central fells.

The wet ground conditions have turned to ice as we make our way out along the Lonscale Fence.

Those microspikes remain firmly ON !

Harry seems to have lost his red bootee . . .

If you find it, do send it on . . . just now it is not a problem . . . the cut is healed nicely and he can do without for a while.

The summit cairn on Jenkin Hill . . . not many folk know it actually exists.

A look back at Skiddaw from a turn in the fence.

Those extra layers we put on over lunchtime stay on now as the temperature drops.

The cloud bank continues to advance and we'll have an early dusk I would suspect.

One last view of the sun as it sets in the west.

Perfectly timed for a pause on Lonscale summit to see the final colours.

Zooming in on the Causey Pike Ridge and the High Stile Ridge over in Buttermere.

The final red colour over Buttermere's Red Pike.

The small crags on Lonscale's northern side and a final look back at our route so far.

The opposite way . . . over to Blencathra.

Who says dogs don't enjoy the view . . . neither shot was posed, the dogs walked out of their own accord.

Ann joined the dogs in this one !

Time to be getting down as the light is slowly starting to fade.

Don't use the path . . . stay a little further from the eastern crags for safety today.

Derwent Water on the descent from Lonscale . . . it seems a long way down the fence line today.

Back on the Skiddaw House bridleway.

Easy going now . . . no need to navigate . . . just follow the track.

Perfectly timed . . . it was just about dark as we got back to the car.

The time . . . . just a quarter to five in the afternoon.

- - - o o o - - -

At quarter past five we were back home and the kettle was on . . .

The ice on our other car hadn't melted all day.

Mmmm . . .  a big mug of tea . . . those mugs hold a pint of satisfaction despite being thirty three years old.

[ Thanks to Peter for the last of the Olympic biscuits by the way ]

- - - o o o - - -

Stop Press : -


Hi Roger & Ann,

I've being viewing and enjoying your website for a good number of years, but never contacted you previously. However, having viewed pictures of your walk on 12 December and noted your pessimistic comments about the weather in the south Lakes that morning I couldn't resist.

I don't visit the Lakes that often, but set off for Langdale on the 12th hoping to find a cloud inversion. People I spoke to in Langdale were not optimistic, but when I got to around 2,000' I was treated to a wonderful cloud inversion and enjoyed a fantastic walk. Photos not up to your quality I'm afraid. a happy Christmas to you all.

Charlie B.

Langdale Inversion looking south from the Loft Crag area.

Langdale Inversion looking west at Pike O'Stickle.

I wouldn't worry about the quality of the photos Charlie, they look fine to me. 

The cloud base looks to be a little below 2000 ft but even so it would even be touch and go for High Pike that day.

You must have been there fairly early to get all that sun . . . a great trip and one to remember for a long time I'm sure.

Thanks for sending the photos and congrats on a great walk . . . RmH.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D SLR digital cameras.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a refreshing mug of tea at the end of the walk.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 11th December 2012 Sunset and Grike

A previous time up here - 6th February 2009 Lonscale over to Little Man

Next walk - 16th December 2012 Loweswater Sunrise and Mellbreak with PP&M