The Info List - Skiddaw

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is a mountain in the Lake District
Lake District
National Park in England. Its 931-metre (3,054 ft) summit is the sixth-highest in England. It lies just north of the town of Keswick, Cumbria, and dominates the skyline in this part of the northern lakes. It is the simplest of the Lake District
Lake District
mountains of this height to ascend (as there is a well-trodden tourist track from a car park to the north-east of Keswick, near the summit of Latrigg) and, as such, many walking guides recommend it to the occasional walker wishing to climb a mountain. This is the first summit of the fell running challenge known as the Bob Graham Round
Bob Graham Round
when undertaken in a clockwise direction. The mountain lends its name to the surrounding areas of ‘Skiddaw Forest’, and ‘Back o' Skidda' ’ and to the isolated ‘Skiddaw House’, situated to the east, formerly a shooting lodge and subsequently a youth hostel. It also provides the name for the slate derived from that region: Skiddaw
slate. Tuned percussion musical instruments or lithophones exist which are made from the slate, such as the Musical Stones of Skiddaw
Musical Stones of Skiddaw
held at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery.


1 Topography 2 Geology 3 Summit 4 Ascents 5 Etymology 6 Skiddaw
House 7 In literature 8 See also 9 References 10 External links


Sketch map of the Skiddaw

The Northern Fells
Northern Fells
make up a roughly circular upland area approaching 10 miles (16 km) in width. At the centre is the marshy depression of Skiddaw
Forest, a treeless plateau, or valley, at an altitude of about 400 metres (1,300 ft); flowing outwards from here are the rivers that divide the area into three sectors. The south-western sector, between the Glenderaterra Beck
Glenderaterra Beck
and Dash Beck, contains Skiddaw and its satellites.[1] Skiddaw
itself takes the form of a north–south ridge about half a mile long, with steep slopes to east and west. The ridge continues northwards over Broad End to Bakestall, a fell overlooking the Whitewater Dash waterfall. Further ridges fan out east and west from the southern end of Skiddaw. To the south-east are Skiddaw
Little Man, Lonscale Fell
Lonscale Fell
and Latrigg, an easily accessible viewpoint for Keswick and Derwentwater. Beyond these fells are the Glenderaterra Beck
Glenderaterra Beck
and the Blencathra
group. The south-western ridge curves round through 180 degrees to run north above the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake. This gives Skiddaw
an 'outer wall', comprising Carl Side, Long Side
Long Side
and Ullock Pike, collectively referred to as Longside Edge. The final member of the Skiddaw
Group is Dodd, a satellite of Carl Side. Between Skiddaw
and Longside Edge are the quiet valleys of Southerndale and Barkbethdale, separated by the spur of Buzzard Knott. These drain the western flanks of the fell to Bassenthwaite Lake. The eastern side of Skiddaw
drains into Skiddaw
Forest, much of the water reaching Candleseaves Bog. This marsh is the source of both the Dash Beck flowing north west to Bassenthwaite and the River Caldew, beginning its long journey north-eastward to the Solway Firth
Solway Firth
via Carlisle. Two smooth spurs on this eastern flank of Skiddaw, Sale How and Hare Crag, are listed in separate tops in some guidebooks.[2] Sale How is also a Nuttall. Skiddaw's slopes are generally rounded and convex, looking from a distance as though a thick velvet blanket has been draped over a supporting frame. On the ridges the general terrain is of loose stones, but elsewhere all is grass and heather. Wainwright noted that "Its lines are smooth, its curves graceful; but because the slopes are steep everywhere, the quick build-up of the “massif” from valley levels to central summit is appreciated at a glance — and it should be an appreciative glance, for such massive strength and such beauty of outline rarely go together."[1] Geology[edit] The bedrock of Skiddaw, commonly known as Skiddaw
Slate, is the Kirkstile Formation. This Ordovician
rock is composed of laminated mudstone and siltstone with greywacke sandstone. At the summit this is overlain by scree and to the south are areas where the underlying Loweswater Formation surfaces. Summit[edit]

from Derwentwater, by Richard Corbould
Richard Corbould

after J. M. W. Turner
J. M. W. Turner

Massif as seen from Outerside

The summit ridge bears a number of tops, which from north to south are known[1][2] as North Top, High Man (the summit), Middle Top and South Top. All now bear cairns and a number of stone windshelters have been erected. Skiddaw
has a subsidiary summit, Little Man, which lies about 1.5 km south-south-east of the main peak. Despite its limited independence, Wainwright listed it as a separate fell in his influential Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, a convention which is often followed. Skiddaw Little Man
Skiddaw Little Man
has its own subsidiary summit, known as Lesser Man. The view is as panoramic as might be expected, given Skiddaw's topographic prominence. From High Man the north east quadrant is filled by the quiet fells of Back o'Skiddaw, with the Border hills, the Cheviots and the North Pennines
behind them. To the south east are Blencathra, the Far Eastern Fells
Far Eastern Fells
and the Helvellyn
range; behind these are vistas of the Yorkshire Dales
Yorkshire Dales
and Forest of Bowland. The Coniston Fells
Coniston Fells
are visible directly to the south. On the other side of South Top is a fine view of the Scafells, Western and North Western Fells, with a portion of Snowdonia
visible between Kirk Fell
and Pillar. The Isle of Man
Isle of Man
is visible 60 miles (97 km) away, as are the Mourne Mountains
Mourne Mountains
120 miles (190 km) away (on exceptionally clear days). The final quarter is taken up by the coastal plain and the distant Solway Firth, backed by the hills of Galloway
such as Merrick, Criffel
and Broad Law. Goat Fell
on Arran can be seen at an angle of 313 degrees, 105 miles (169 km) away. Most distant view; Slieve Meelmore in Mourne, 120 miles (190 km) distant. By moving to South Top a superb view of Borrowdale
can be brought into sight.[1] Ascents[edit]


Many routes of ascent have been devised for Skiddaw; indeed, it is hard to devise a challenging approach in good conditions. The most popular tourist route starts from Keswick and first ascends behind Latrigg, before the climb continues over the slopes of Little Man to the summit. About 200m of ascent can be saved by driving to the top of Gale Road and beginning from the public carpark just behind the summit of Latrigg. Another popular route (and the one recommended by Wainwright[1]) is to follow Longside Edge, first ascending Ullock Pike, Longside and Carl Side before making the steep climb up from Carlside Col. Also from the north, a somewhat tougher alternative is to walk up Buzzard Knott between Southerndale and Barkbethdale: after crossing to the southern edge of the shoulder above Randel Crag ascend due east to the summit. Rather easier than either of these is the compass-walk due south from Cock Up (505m); reversing this route provides a safe descent, especially in bad weather. Scramblers may prefer simply to walk up Southerndale and climb Longside via a distinctive crevice seen easily from Skiddaw
summit. From the south-west at Millbeck, Carlside Col can be reached directly. A start from nearby Applethwaite can also be used to provide a variation to the tourist route. From the north-west a tough but picturesque ascent can be made to the northern end of Longside Edge before following the ridge route to the summit. Finally, ascents from due east are possible for the walker who first makes for Skiddaw House, a good distance from either Keswick, Threlkeld
or Peter House. Once Skiddaw
House is reached a fairly direct line is possible, climbing over either Sale How or Hare Crag.[1]

with Keswick at its foot

From the north-east an unmarked but quite easy and fairly well-worn path starts at Whitewater Dash waterfall (on the Cumbrian Way) where the walker can follow the fence (along Birkett Edge just south of Dead Crags) past the Bakestall
outcrop, and follow the fence until just before the unnamed top at 831m. From the 831m top, a path leads directly to Skiddaw
Man. The first ascent of Skiddaw
probably pre-dates recorded human history, however the first ascent of the mountain to be captured on film or video was made in 1995 by local Cumbrian photographer and film-maker Michael Lakey. Etymology[edit] According to Eilert Ekwall, Skiddaw's name is derived from the Old Norse elements skyti or skut + haugr meaning either "archer's hill" or "jutting crag hill".[3] Diana Whaley likewise interprets it as "the mountain with the jutting crag", but also offers the alternative that the first element may be a personal name or Old Norse
Old Norse
skítr 'dung, filth, shit'.[4] Richard Coates suggests that "it is possible that a Cumbric
solution is to be sought."[4] Skiddaw


Below Sale How is Skiddaw
House, a stone building which has variously served as a shooting lodge, shepherd's bothy and Youth Hostel. Its windbreak comprises the only trees in Skiddaw
Forest, and it is reached via a long access track up the Dash Valley. Built around 1829 by the Earl of Egremont it was originally a keeper's lodge; a base for grouse shooting and for the gamekeepers who managed the extensive land owned by Egremont in Skiddaw
Forest. Little is known of the house in the nineteenth century but it was used by both gamekeepers and shepherds beyond 1860 and there were rooms for Egremont and the shooting parties.[5] Canon Rawnsley, a founder of the National Trust, visited in about 1900 and mentions in one of his books the hospitality of the shepherd's family at that time.[6][7] Sir Hugh Walpole, author of the Lake District
Lake District
novel Rogue Herries, was a visitor in the 1920s and 30s and used the house as the scene, set in 1854, of the murder by Uhland.[8] These arrangements for accommodation continued into the 20th century up until the early 1950s. Several families brought up their children there until they were able to go to school, but the longest tenure was possibly from Pearson Dalton, a shepherd and bachelor from the Caldbeck
area, who came to stay for a month in 1952 and left in 1969 aged 75. He lived there alone for five days a week, only going home for long weekends with his sister in Caldbeck, then returning on the Monday to resume his duties. By this time farming practices had changed and the house was no longer needed and declined although there was intermittent use by various schools and outdoor groups.[5]

Kitchen range

In 1986 the house was leased by John Bothamley who had created the YHA Carrock Fell
Hostel a few miles away and eventually the building was handed over to the YHA. It closed in 2002 following a disagreement over the lease. In 2007 it re-opened as an independent hostel run by the Skiddaw
House Foundation, under the YHA's Enterprise franchising model.[5] In literature[edit] Skiddaw
is mentioned in the fourth book of John Keats's poem Endymion: "…with all the stress / Of vision search'd for him, as one would look […] from old Skiddaw's top, when fog conceals / His rugged forehead in a mantle pale, / With an eye-guess towards some pleasant vale / Descry a favourite hamlet faint and far."[9] Skiddaw
is also mentioned in the final lines of the poem The Armada by Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lord Macaulay:

"Till Skiddaw
saw the fire that burned on Gaunt's embattled pile, And the red glare on Skiddaw
roused the burghers of Carlisle."[10]

See also[edit]


"Skiddaw" is also a former name for Mount Wellington, Tasmania, which also overlooks a River Derwent (River Derwent, Tasmania, rather than River Derwent, Cumbria). References[edit]

^ a b c d e f Wainwright, Alfred: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 5 The Northern Fells: ISBN 0-7112-2458-7 ^ a b Birkett, Bill: Complete Lakeland Fells: Collins Willow (1994): ISBN 0-00-713629-3 ^ Ekwall, E. Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames Oxford University Press (1960) p. 425 ^ a b Whaley, Diana (2006). A dictionary of Lake District
Lake District
place-names. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society. pp. lx,423 p.311. ISBN 0904889726.  ^ a b c "History of Skiddaw
House". Skiddaw
House. Skiddaw
House Foundation. Retrieved 9 June 2017.  ^ " Skiddaw
House Bunkhouse". www.caldew.org.uk. Archived from the original on 24 May 2016.  ^ "Birthday party on the skiddaw fells". Cumberland and Westmorland Herald. 31 May 1997. Archived from the original on 24 May 2016.  ^ Thompson, Bryan (4 November 2000). "Bryan Thompson gives a hint to the BBC …". Cumberland & Westmorland Herald. Archived from the original on 24 May 2016.  ^ Keats, John (1915). Harry Buxton Forman, ed. The Poetical Works of John Keats. Oxford University Press. p. 151.  ^ "The Armada, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lord Macaulay (1800–1859)". 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Skiddaw.

is at coordinates 54°38′49″N 3°08′46″W / 54.647°N 3.146°W / 54.647; -3.146 Computer-generated virtual panoramas North South Index Large Sunny images of 3 Routes to Skiddaw
and Car Parking Skiddaw
photos, information and walks

in the fog from Latrigg

and Skiddaw Little Man
Skiddaw Little Man
from Latrigg

v t e

Wainwright's Northern Fells

Bakestall Bannerdale Crags Binsey Blencathra Bowscale Fell Brae Fell Carl Side Carrock Fell Dodd Great Calva Great Cockup Great Sca Fell High Pike Knott Latrigg Little Cockup Longlands Fell Long Side Lonscale Fell Meal Fell Mungrisdale Common Skiddaw Skiddaw
Little Man Souther Fell Ullock Pike

Full list of Wainwrights by area

v t e

Marilyns of Northern England

1. Northumberland

The Cheviot Housedon Hill Long Crag Peel Fell Ros Hill Shillhope Law Sighty Crag Tosson Hill

2. Northern Lakeland

Binsey Blencathra Knott Skiddaw

3. Western Lakeland

Blake Fell Dale Head Dent Grasmoor Great Gable Grisedale Pike High Stile Kirk Fell Lord's Seat Low Fell Mellbreak Pillar Robinson Seatallan Swinside Watch Hill

4. Central and Southern Lakeland

Black Combe Claife Heights Coniston Old Man Hard Knott Harter Fell High Raise High Rigg Holme Fell Illgill Head Kirkby Moor Lingmoor Fell Loughrigg Fell Muncaster Fell Pike of Blisco Scafell Pike Top o' Selside Whitfell

5. Eastern Lakeland

Arnside Knott Fairfield Grayrigg Forest Great Mell Fell Gummer's How Hallin Fell Helvellyn High Street Hutton Roof Crags Lambrigg Fell Little Mell Fell Place Fell Red Screes St Sunday Crag Seat Sandal Stony Cove Pike Tarn Crag Wansfell Whitbarrow

6. North Pennines and Durham

Burnhope Seat Cold Fell Cross Fell Dufton Pike Mickle Fell

7. Northern Yorkshire Dales

Baugh Fell The Calf Great Shunner Fell Hoove Kisdon Nine Standards Rigg Rogan's Seat Wild Boar Fell Yarlside

8. Southern Yorkshire Dales

Aye Gill Pike Birks Fell Buckden Pike Calf Top Cracoe Fell Dodd Fell
Hill Fountains Fell Great Coum Great Knoutberry Hill Great Whernside Ingleborough Pen-y-ghent Rombald's Moor Sharp Haw Whernside

9. North York Moors to the Humber

Bishop Wilton Wold Cringle Moor Gisborough Moor Urra Moor

10. Forest of Bowland

Easington Fell Fair Snape Fell Longridge Fell Ward's Stone White Hill

v t e

Most prominent hills of Britain

Northern Highlands

Foinaven Ben Hee Ben Hope Ben Loyal Ben Klibreck Ben More Assynt Canisp Cùl Mòr Ben More Coigach Beinn Dearg Ben Wyvis An Teallach Slioch Sgùrr Mòr (Fannichs) Fionn Bheinn Beinn Alligin Beinn Eighe Liathach Beinn Bhàn Sgorr Ruadh

Western Highlands

Sgùrr a' Choire Ghlais Sgùrr na Lapaich Càrn Eige Beinn Fhada Sgùrr Fhuaran A' Chràlaig Sgùrr a' Mhaoraich Gleouraich Sgùrr nan Eugallt Ladhar Bheinn Sgùrr na Cìche Càrn Mòr Sròn a' Choire Ghairbh Sgùrr Thuilm Gaor Bheinn Rois-bheinn Sgùrr Ghiubhsachain Sgùrr Dhòmhnuill Garbh Bheinn Creach Bheinn

Central and Eastern Highlands

Creag Meagaidh Ben Nevis Stob Coire Easain Binnein Mòr Chno Dearg Ben Alder Sgor nam Fiannaidh Beinn a' Bheithir Beinn Sgulaird Bidean nam Bian Ben Macdui Beinn a' Ghlò Lochnagar

Southern Highlands

Meall a' Bhuiridh Ben Cruachan Schiehallion Beinn a' Chreachain Ben Lawers Ben Lui Ben Vorlich (Loch Lomond) Beinn Ìme Beinn an Lochain Beinn Mhòr (Cowal) Doune Hill Ben More (Crianlarich) Ben Lomond Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) Ben Chonzie


An Cliseam Beinn Mhòr (South Uist) The Storr Sgùrr Alasdair Blà Bheinn Beinn na Caillich Sgùrr na Coinnich Askival Ben More (Mull) Dùn da Ghaoithe Beinn an Òir Goat Fell Snaefell

Scottish Lowlands, England
and Wales

Merrick Broad Law Scafell Pike Helvellyn Skiddaw Cross Fell Snowdon Glyder Fawr Carnedd Llewelyn Aran Fawddwy Cadair Idris P