Skiddaw March 2004

posted 6 Oct 2016, 08:46 by Dave Tomlin
Just like most of our harebrained schemes, this one was formulated in the pub. Personally, I don't remember how I got roped in to it, but I found out the next day that I had said I would go, so I guess there was no getting out of it now! Anyway, the plan had been decided, it was to scale the heights of Skiddaw in the Lake District.

So we did...

...and we survived; which was contrary to the beliefs we had not long after we started our ascent, at which point we and were already out of breath and struggling with the climb, Sally and myself were, at this point, thinking that if it continues like this for much further then we really won't make it to the top.

As we continued, the same question kept going through our heads, "Why does it always sound such a good idea when you're sitting in the pub?" and "I'm never going to do anything like this again!?

Since we could not come all the way to do Skiddaw and then give up after a few hundred yards we persisted with the very energetic climb. This, I think, was the best decision of our lives. Ok, so it was quite a difficult walk for us, completely unfit, group of people, but as we got a bit further up it started to get easier and easier, the sight of snow further up the hill also helped this. So, motivated to keep going, we continued up.

As we got further up Skiddaw we had to stop more and more often to take in the amazing views that surrounded us. One thing that we found quite amazing was how absolutely quiet it was when the wind stopped blowing. There must be very few places in Britain where you can get away from the constant noise that surrounds us, usually busy roads, but half way up the hill it was absolutely quiet, we could have stayed there all day listening to ? nothing!

But alas, we had to continue, the snow was beckoning, and we had to get down in plenty of time to visit the pub, sorry, I mean to get an early night! As we got further up Skiddaw the cloud came in to make it hard to see more than 50 yards in any direction, plus it was getting rather steep again.

Well, the time had come, we had finally found a reasonably decent amount of snow, and so what did we do? Well, of course, we made a snowman! Once we were satisfied with our creation we continued up to find the peak.

As we met more and more people who were also on their way up and down, we came to what looked like the top of Skiddaw, but as we knew, it wasn't the top, we still had a few hundred yards to go. 

Fortunately it wasn't much higher, but we stopped anyway, just for a few minutes to take advantage of the gap in the clouds and get a good look around at the view that was available. Of course, the fact that I was stood in a foot of snow at the time had nothing to do with our little stop. I'm sure some of the other walkers, wearing all the clothes they could find, were giving me funny looks, I'm not sure, but I think it might have been something to do with the fact that I was wearing shorts at the time!

Anyway, once the cloud drew back in again, we did the final stage of the walk to find the very top of Skiddaw, and of course we walked most of the rest of the way in the snow, I wouldn't expect anything less.

A short while later we got there, and after the obligatory look at the very top, we settled down to have a spot of lunch. At this point we were thinking that most people would head 20 minutes down the road to Burton Dassett or wherever to have a nice picnic, so to drive all the way to the Lake District and climb Skiddaw, just to have a bit of a picnic was a little excessive I feel! Soon after sitting down for lunch we saw a couple of penguins making their way through the snow!

Anyway, I can't remember who started it (probably me!), but we some how ended up having a snowball fight, which really disturbed the locals, I think some of them decided that it wasn't worth the risk to get all the way to the top and decided to walked the other way.

After a little while it was decided that we should really start to make a move back down to the bottom, even if it's for no other reason that to get out the cloud back to some of the amazing views that are available. So we started head back down the way we came up. Once we got to the split of the path we decided it would be more interesting to go the way we didn't come up.

So we got walking down until we got to a good pile of boulders that just happened to look like a really comfy place to sit down and admire the view. The only problem being, once we sat down we didn't want to get back up! Anyway, after a little while of thinking "We really should get going now, yes, any minute now, maybe, well, five more minutes wouldn't hurt!" we finally got up and continued down the track.

We kept going down the hill and headed back to the car and made our way to the campsite where the nice warm showers awaited us.

We headed out in to Keswick for something to eat and a couple of glasses of lemonade before heading back to the site to visit the local public house for some more lemonade and a few games of cards that we all seemed to be really bad at! A little later, the fun of the day finally caught up with us and forced us to go to bed.

It was a really good day, and also a really tiring day, but definitely worth it just to play in the snow! You must bear in mind that I am writing this after almost a week of recovering from the experience, so what's the next brilliant idea, Ben Nevis?

Shep, April '04