One of my favorite mountains, is Skiddaw in the Lake District. At 931 m (3,054 ft) above Sea level Skiddaw, is the forth highest mountain in England and dominates the skyline of the Northern Lakes. For those attempting the infamous Bob Graham Round, it is also the first summit when doing the clockwise circuit.
Despite a rather grim weather forecast, we drove to the Lakes for the weekend with a run up Skiddaw planned for Saturday. One of the reasons I like running on Skiddaw so much is the variety it offers, you can make it as hard or easy as you want, depending where you start from. With a first time fell runner in tow, we parked at Latrigg to cut down on some of the ascent.
Leaving the van behind, we were greeted by a thick wall of drizzle, which obscured everything that wasn’t directly underfoot, as the path steepens well before the legs are even warm, on this occasion this wasn’t such a bad thing as it meant I could hide the reality of what was to come…
The path snakes steeply up hill, causing the heart to pound and legs to burn all the way to the false summit of Skiddaw Little Man at 865m. From here its a fairly easy run, if you don’t have a strong headwind like we did, across the top to Skiddaw summit, where a sheepfold provides shelter for a lump of chocolate and handful of sweets.
Just as we left the summit the cloud lifted for those magical few seconds, providing breathtaking views in all directions, with Blencathra on one side and Bassenthwaite Lake on the other. But the cloud and drizzle returned for the decent from the summit. Its a nice steep and fast decent, down towards Bakestall (673m) and then dropping off the east side on to the Cumbria Way for an easy but pleasent run up past Skiddaw House and Lonscale Crags.
True to form as we ran back towards the van the sun came out, we were greeted by blue skies and more stunning views over Derwent Water and Grisedale Pike. Tired legs were rested and more runs planned as we soaked up the sun sat on the side of Latrigg, I’m fairly sure we have a new fell runner convert, despite, rain, wind and steep ascents… Job done!
10 miles later, almost rest time… but who would run up that hill..?