Monday, 3 September 2018

Skiddaw Round and a Hill Too Far – Dodd, Carl Side, Skiddaw, Little Man, Longside Edge and Bakestall.

We only have 6 Wainwright’s to do in order to complete all of the Wainwright’s in the Northern Fells.  Namely, High Pike, Binsey, Bakestall, Low Man, Lonscale Fell, and Dodd.  Of these High Pike, Binsey and Bakstall would probably have to be done as single hills, but on the map it looked like the others could linked together, albeit with a longish road walk.

Parking at the top of the Gale road in the Lattrigg car park we decided to get the road walking out of the way and go for Dodd first.  Fortunately the road below the Skiddaw range is nice and quiet with some great views south over Derwent Water and Braithwaite. 
The view towards the Coledale valley with Force Crag in the centre.

Passing through the quiet villages of Applethwaite and Millbeck, we took the Allerdale Ramble path up through deep bracken until we reached the edge of Thornthwaite Forest.

Not keen on these deep bracken paths. Ticks love these places.

After a short distance we entered an area that was being clear felled.  Here the ground was churned up so much we found it difficult to work out where the right of way went.  In the end we opted for a rather circuitous route following the forest roads instead. Once on the summit of Dodd we had a break and passed the time naming the hills while we drank our coffee.  It was quite satisfying to note we had stood on a fair few of them already.

The summit of Dodd with Little Man behind

Moving on our next goal was Carl Side, which was climbed via White Stones. Here we fell in behind a large group about to tackle the loose path up onto Skiddaw.  

Carlside with the path up on to Skiddaw ahead.
Frequent stops by us meant the group soon disappeared ahead and we were left to enjoy the views.

Carl Side Ahead

Longside Edge (Longside and Ullock Pike)

Being a Bank Holiday the summit of Skiddaw was busy so we did not hang around.  

Bassenthwaite Lake from the Summit of Skiddaw

At this point we should have headed off towards Little Man, but after getting a good look at the ground to the north of Skiddaw I suggested we could perhaps bag Bakestall.  Yes it would mean losing and regaining a lot of height, but it would at least mean we got an extra hill out of the day.   We also noticed that on the return, rather than re-ascend back over the summit of Skiddaw, we could instead traverse below it along a fence line which would bring us out in the col between Little Man and Skiddaw itself.  Moira was keen too and with plan hatched we dropped down to Bakestall.    

Bakestall itself is a pleasant summit with great views and with hindsight it is a hill we should really have left for another day.  It seemed a shame just to bag the hill for the sake of it, particularly so as the route up via Whitewater Dash falls offers a fine walk.  It’s a hill we fully intend to revisit and do justice to in the future.

The North top of Bakestall from the summit

Binsey and the view across the Solway Firth to the Scottish hills of Dumfries and Galloway from the North top.

The return felt a bit of a slog but eventually we reached the fence and began to follow it.  After a few hundred meters we had to lose some height where the upper reaches of the River Caldew cuts into the flank of Skiddaw.  The ground sloped quite steeply here placing all of the pressure on the downward foot. It made for some awkward walking, so by the time we had climbed up to the col and the path below Little Man, our aching knees suggested the short cut was not such a good idea after all.

The summit of Little Man was a great viewpoint, but it was fair to say we were starting to feel the miles a bit.  From here we could at least see that the route onto Lonscale Fell was straightforward.

Clough Head and the Dodds from Little Man

It was just as well, by the time we had crossed over Lesser Man and reached Lonscale Fell we knew we had done one hill too many.

Cairn on Lesser Man with the view towards Lonscale Fell (middle left of the cairn)

Cairn on Lonscale fell

The descent down to the main path involved a bit more traversing, but at least with the last hill of the day bagged we were in no hurry.  After this it was just a case of following the well-worn Skiddaw path past the Hawell Monument back to the car. 

Shepherds Cross with the descent path beyond (Hawell Monument). 

Judging by how much we ached and how stiff we were after the drive home it is safe to say that in hindsight we should definitely have left Bakestall for another day.

Anyway with the 4 new Wainwright’s of Dodd, Bakestall, Little Man, and Lonscale Fell bagged that leaves us 92 to go.  A couple more trips should take us into the 80’s. 

© David Forster

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