Starting Point: Underskiddaw Car park
Distance: 7.23 miles (11.6km)
Wednesday started with a 05:30am alarm, pick up at 06:00 and a 1 hr 45 min drive over to Keswick. With another perfect day forecast we arrived in the Lakes just as the sun began to rise, creating some of the best lighting I’ve ever witnessed, all of the snow coated peaks turning a shade of pink. After a short uphill drive from Applethwaite we got as close to Underskiddaw car park as we could due to a fallen tree blocking the road. This was our first mountain in the snow and to say we were as excited as kids at Christmas would be an understatement!
We left the car park and followed the path north to begin the climb, the snow line began at 450m so the initial section of this walk was pretty straight forward
Even before climbing the views were stunning, above is Catbells with Latrigg in the foreground, below the view across to Red Screes.
As we continued our ascent the path turned to ice, not the easiest to stay upright on but be persevered.
With the views continuing to get better and better there was little concern put into the icy path
Below shows the view Southeast towards Helvellyn. Castlerigg Stone Circle is right in the centre of this image.
And here is Keswick and Derwentwater surrounded by snow like a winter oasis.
The climb continued up Jenkin Hill towards Littleman, as the snow got deeper the trekking poles made they’re debut and made life a lot easier!
Often whilst walking in the Lake District I’ve heard the roar of RAF fighters training at low-level but never actually spotted them until today. Here they are firstly to the North passing Great Calva and secondly to the south over Castlerigg Stone Circle ridiculously low..never have I wished I was a fighter pilot more than after watching this!
Looking east towards Blencathra
The final section of our ascent of Littleman was quite steep but the snow provided a surprisingly sturdy path
Again looking southeast towards the Helvellyn range, it just looked amazing!
Keswick and Derwentwater from the summit of Littleman
On the western slopes of Littleman some of the snow drifts were spectacular, it was fantastic to see how the wind had carved its way through the snow. If only I had some skis!
Looking west towards the coast over the slopes of Grey Crags and White Stones
“Mountain Goat Garrick” distracted from the lack of Grade 1 scrambles by the snow, we had snow angels, elbow drops and forward rolls to name a few choice moves…you could tell we hadn’t been in proper snow for a long time!
The trail ahead from Littleman up to Skiddaw Man
The summit of Skiddaw Man, not today’s highest point but the best view point!
Some more ice sculptures on the fence, I can only imagine how extreme conditions must’ve been up here when Storm Angus rolled through!
Looking back to Littleman
And here are a few from the summit of Skiddaw, another one done! I think it’s safe to say that I am hooked on this, better than staring at the wall in a gym eh!
Rather than following the path back the way we came to the car we decided to make it a loop and set our sights on Carl Side. A brief sit down and refuel before we began the decent. Here is the view west looking over Longside Edge on Ullock Pike and Bassenthwaite
The path down towards Carl Side was a steep one but great fun
So steep in fact that I struggled to capture an image that showed it..here was my best attempt
Looking back along the route we’d just taken, two other walkers for scale
The next section proved to be the most difficult by far, a steep descent down White Stones with the snow way past our knees the majority of the way down
The snow thinned again as we made our way to 450m, below is Keswick, Dodd Wood and Glen taking a moment to capture the view.
Out of the snow we picked up speed again, the sticks were returned to our backpacks and our sights set to the rather distant car park.
This is possible my favourite image from this walk, looking southeast towards Helvellyn with the last colours of autumn scattered across the valley.
We followed the road for what seemed like an eternity from Millbeck to Applethwaite and back up an excruciatingly slow climb to the car just as the sun began to lower in the sky. Probably 6 of the best hours I’ve spent walking so far, on to planning the next one!
Thanks for reading 🙂