Skiddaw by the Jenkin Hill Bridleway
Skiddaw is visually the perfect mountain. Its form is a simple combination of steep smooth flanks and deep shadowy gills; its slopes are covered with a patchwork of bracken, grass, heather and scree which from hour to hour are in a constant state of flux displaying an infinite variety of hues and tints.
Although not as rugged looking as some of the Lake District’s peaks Skiddaw holds special qualities. Being in an isolated position, set apart from its neighbours, the unrestricted views from its summit and south side are arguably the best in the Lake District. Across the Vale of Derwent the peaks of the eastern, central, southern and western fells are laid out in a magnificent panorama.
The most popular route to Skiddaw's exposed and wind-blasted summit is by Jenkin Hill Path. This route was established as a pony route for Victorian tourists and still attracts the greatest number of ascentionists. It’s an excellent route for those looking extend their experience to the higher peaks.
Distance 16.8km (10.5 miles)
Total ascent 970m
Time 6-7 hours
Start/finish Keswick GR NY266234
Terrain Streets, bridleway, steep grassy fellside and stony summit ridge
OS Landranger 89 & 90 (1:50 000)
OS Explorer OL4 (1:25 000)
Harvey Superwalker XT25 Lake District North
British Mountain Maps Lake District (1:40 000)
- NY266234 From the centre of Keswick take Station Street to the pelican crossing across the A5271, head over the crossing and join Station Road. Follow it over the River Greta and past Fitz Park to Keswick Leisure Pool. Walk around the right-hand side of the pool, cross the car park and then turn left onto Brundholme Road. Follow Brundholme Road for 500m to the start of a bridleway on the right.
- NY267241 Join the bridleway and follow it as it climbs steadily across the flanks of Latrigg and Mallen Dodd, all the way up to Latrigg Car Park.
- NY280253 From Latrigg Car Park follow the fenced bridleway northeast then north to a fork. Take the left branch past the Hawell Monument and climb the zig-zags up the steep fellside northwest towards Jenkin Hill. As Jenkin Hill is approached the bridleway eases considerably; continue along it to a gate. At the gate you have the option to either pass through it or turn west then northwest and make the short diversion to Little Man. If you opt for Little Man head over its summit and then follow the west side of the fence to re-join the bridleway. If you opt to ignore Little Man continue on the bridleway as it skirts the northeast side of Little Man and is followed to another gate. Go through the gate and head up a final climb onto the summit ridge. Turn N and follow the crest to Skiddaw's summit.
- NY260290 The return is back down the way you came. If it’s misty when you start your descent it’s worth checking the compass to ensure you take the right path. Head south along the summit ridge then turn southeast and descend to a fence and gate. Continue southeast around the northeast flank of Little Man to another gate. Pass through this gate and follow the bridleway as it descends the steep fellside through a series of zig-zags to the Hawell Monument and onto the intake wall. Join the fenced bridleway and follow this southwest back to the car park. From the car park retrace your steps back to Keswick along the bridleway.