Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Tuesday 16 March 2010 – A Great British Ridge Walk – Number 20 – Skiddaw by Ullock Pike and descent by Birkett’s Edge

The Pie Man enjoys an occasional cigar
These ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ ventures seem to be coming thick and fast.  Today it was the Lake District’s turn, starting early, with my journey heading in a rather bizarre direction – to Graham’s house in Marple – before the battle through traffic jams to eventually gain the M6 at Preston.

Phew, at least I wasn’t driving today, and could grab a cup of coffee at Tebay  that I could sip at my ease all the way to Keswick.

Mike and Bruno were ready and waiting at the more than ample-sized lay-by at NY 237 311 near Bassenthwaite, so by 10.30 we were ambling casually up a small hill called Watches. 

Near the start of the walk, ascending to Watches

A sheep was strolling unconcernedly along a wall.  (No trickery here, I promise.)

A strolling sheep

We took our time, willing the cloud to lift off the summit of Skiddaw.

Today’s views were excellent.   Here Mike and Bruno laze on warm rocks during a brew stop with a fine view to Bassenthwaite Lake and beyond.

Man and Beast

A view from the ascent of Ullock Pike

Some competent cyclists sped down the rocky bridleway up which we had risen; we admired their skill on this technically demanding terrain.

The summit of Ullock Pike yielded more fine views – towards Keswick, Derwent Water and the central fells, but better vistas were available from Carl Side, which summit Bill Birkett strangely omits from his route.

Graham admires the view towards Keswick and Derwent Water

A group ahead was struggling on the snow slope that slanted up to the summit ridge, so we took the direct approach, with less by way of snow and steep drops.

Ascending Skiddaw directly from Carlside Tarn

It was easy going, with no ironmongery required.  There were quite a few folk on the ridge, but the summit was deserted by the time we reached the trig point.  It was pretty cool, with a cold stiff breeze keeping us alert.

On the summit of Skiddaw, with Bruno looking as if he's being blown away!

Blencathra, from the summit of Skiddaw

Bruno tugged a bit too hard in his quest for snow fights.  Mike stood his ground.  Bruno’s lead broke.  He cried.  (Mike, that is.)

An easy descent led to this glaciated valley down which Dash Beck, well, ‘dashes’.

The glacial valley down which Dash Beck runs

After which we dashed through some fields, so unobservantly that we missed the path at Hole House and finished up going along a metalled lane rather than by-passing the farm at Barkbeth.

“Never mind” said Graham.
”Never mind” said Mike.
”Ruff” said Bruno.
”It’s so nice to have such forgiving companions” said Martin.

Striding towards Barkbeth with Skiddaw in the distance

We were down soon after 4pm.  Mike sucked deeply on a curious cigar (see above) before heading back with Bruno’s guidance to the Great Wilderness known as ‘County Durham’, whilst Graham and I adjourned for fish ‘n chips in Carnforth, where it went dark.

Mike’s excellent report is here.

A slide show (32 images) is here.

And here’s our route for the day: 14 km, 940 metres ascent, taking 5 hours plus stops.

Our route - 14 km, 940 metres ascent, in 5 hours plus stops

The next ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ will see me venturing into, passport and visa permitting, the wilds of Scotland.  Watch this space!

7 comments:

Gayle said...

Assuming that your next ridge walk is sometime fairly soon, I fear that the 'Phreerunner Effect' being effected up in Scotland is not going to assist us in getting good weather Down South...

mike knipe said...

Yes the Phreerunner blue skies effect continues - this is a god omen for the TGO Chally thingy.
Incidentally, its a swiss roll, not anything Cuban. Or Cruben...

dedngmol - a rarely prescibed diuretic due to its chaotic effects

Louise said...

We could do with some Phreerunner Effect, the Easter holidays would be good...

Phreerunner said...

Just a little warning:
One person is known to override the 'Phreerunner Effect'. Her name is Sue W, and she is organising this weekend's trip to the North Lakes.
We are equipped with winter waterproofs and full rain gear. We will need them. We always do on trips organised by Sue W!
Morale: keep away from the North Lakes this weekend.

Phreerunner said...

You'll have to come to Ullapool, Louise. Gayle - you are starting at 'The Wrong End'!

Martin Rye said...

Good route that and good walk. I like Skiddaw. One superb place to walk.

The Weekend Dude said...

Oh dear, heading up Skiddaw on Saturday sounds like it may be a touch moist! Wet kit - check!