Tour of Skiddaw
North of Skiddaw lies an area of high moors and rolling hills. Bleak and lonely – these fells do not attract the crowds, as do their southern neighbours. Great sweeps of open fells dominate the landscape relieved only by the becks. Penetrating this wilderness is a bridleway that skirts the eastern flanks of Lonscale Fell and then heads north west over Burnt Hause and around the back of Skiddaw. By starting at Latrigg Car Park and following this bridleway it is possible to make a complete tour of Skiddaw over good tracks with well-graded ascent and take in some spectacular scenery. It also possible to start from Keswick and use the Latrigg Bridleway as an out and back route to access the start at Latrigg Car Park. The Latrigg Bridleway starts in Keswick at GR NY267241 on Brundhome Road.
Start/Finish Latrigg Car Park, GR NY280253
Distance 14 miles (22.5km)
Time 4 hours
Height gain 750m
Terrain Stony, well-graded bridleways and tracks over open moorland and low fells with a return along roads
- 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)
- NY280253 From the car park follow the bridleway for Skiddaw next to a fence and wall until it splits at a gate. Take the right branch, which crosses Whit Beck in a sheltered ravine and then traverses Lonscale Fell. Until this point the going has been easy but it all changes once Lonscale Crags are rounded. The once broad track narrows to a terrace high amongst the crags providing some testing riding! The terrace contours the steep slope for 1.6km, and is followed until it meets another bridleway from Blease Fell. Continue north across the moor slowly gaining height until after 800m Burnt Horse is reached. At this point the route heads northwest, crossing a beck and peat hags (boggy) with a final short climb up to Skiddaw House.
- NY287291 From Skiddaw House follow the service track that runs northwest across the flanks of Great Calva and Little Calva easily to a ford and footbridge. The track climbs steadily for 800m until a beck is crossed, and then descends, giving 800m freewheeling to a hairpin bend and bridge. Downstream of the bridge in a gorge is the Whitewater Dash waterfall – well worth a look especially after heavy rainfall.
- NY273312The track continues to descend steeply at first, and can clearly be seen contouring below the spectacular Dead Crags, which drop abruptly from Bakestall. Exciting riding leads to the road at Peter House Farm; turn left and follow it 3.2km through Melbecks and join the A591. Head south towards Keswick for 4.8km and then take the Millbeck and Applethwaite road which after another 4.8km and a steep road climb leads back to the car park at Latrigg.