Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Routes in the Northern Fells–Part 4 of many

This is a route that is equally great for running or a big family day out. There are several variations, in some of them you don’t reach the summit of any mountains but is a real opportunity to get in amongst some of the favourites (Skiddaw, Blencthra and others).
Obviously I do not provide any guarantee for the accuracy or current safety of these routes. They are simply a record of my own endeavours and if you decide to adopt them you do so at your own risk.

LaTrigg CAR PARK, Cumbrian way to Skiddaw House and back

On a clear day, there are some amazing views to be had of Kesiwick, a rarely seen rear view of Blencathra and of course the scree slopes of the mighty Skiddaw. I will provide two variations on the basic route which affect distance and especially ascent.
I first trialled this route (variation 1) as a family walk with my 6 year old son and 2 year old daughter (in a back carrier) – the distance made this over-ambitious.
The basic route and all variations are ideal for fell running beginners.

Basic Route


  • Distance: 11.2km
  • Ascent: 233m
  • Summits: 0
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Comments: Large sections of this are walkable by all ages (my 2 year old daughter enjoyed some of the Cumbrian Way around the base of Lonscale Fell).


  • Park in the Latrigg Car Park (NY281254)
  • Follow the path to Skiddaw until it forks (NY283256), take the right fork continuing on the Cumbrian Way.
  • It is a very clear path from here until Skiddaw house (NY287292). This is a great place to stop for lunch as there are several walls where shelter can be gained.
  • Here you can choose Variation 2 (see below), or head back along the same path enjoying beautiful views down the valley towards Keswick.
  • At a prominent sheepfold (not on the OS Map, NY292280), you can choose Variation 1 (see below).

Variation 1 – Threlkeld Extension


  • Distance: 13.5km
  • Ascent: 383m
  • Summits: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Comments: This was too ambitious for my 6 year old son to walk and he was exhausted by the end.


  • Take the left path from NY292280 and follow the clear path which crosses Sinen Gill and Roughten Gill.
  • It is a very clear path from here until the Threlkeld Car Park (NY303256).
  • Take the path on the right through the wall down to the Blencathra Field Centre.
  • Go through the Centre and follow the signs for ‘Derwentfolds’, following straight on at the cross roads (NY299255).
  • Turn left when you get to ‘Derwentfolds’ and follow the path down to a small road.
  • Turn right (North-West) to a four-way split in the paths (NY296252). Take the middle option which, after a short drag up towards the Latrigg Summit, follows the wall of a forest on your right.
  • Follow the path as it turns NNE around the far corner of the forest (NY284252) – you can take a short detour over the summit of Latrigg to gain your one summit!
  • The path leads back to the Latrigg Car Park.

Variation 2 – Loop over Sale How and Skiddaw Little Man


  • Distance: 12km
  • Ascent: 550m
  • Summits: 2
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Comments: This is a great route in good weather, but Sale How can get very boggy and the route over Skiddaw Little Man is deceptively high (810m at the joining of the Sale How and the Skiddaw ‘motorway’).


  • From the northern corner of Skiddaw House (NY287292), follow the obvious path SW towards the summit of Sale How. This path crosses a peat bog and is usually very wet (even in the best of conditions).
  • Continue beyond the short plateau and reach the summit of Sale How (NY276286).
  • Head W following a less prominent path until you reach the Skiddaw ‘motorway’ (NY266284). This is your ‘high’ point of the route at ~810m.
  • Turn left and follow the obvious path SSE – take a short detour over Skiddaw Little Man (NY267278) to bag your second Wainwright!
  • Continue over Jenkin Hill and down the steep zig-zag path back to the Latrigg Car Park.

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