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The northern and eastern slopes of Skiddaw are strikingly different than other Lake District fells. They are gentler and run off in great sweeps to an area of high moors and rolling hills known collectively as the 'Back o' Skidda'. The only features that relieve the uniformity of the landscape are deep cuts of becks and the odd broken crag. It is a lonely landscape and this is its great charm. You can lose yourself amongst its vastness and enjoy a bit of contemplation as you walk.
Access into this area is made easy by a well-graded bridleway that circumnavigates this northern side of Skiddaw. It can be followed to Skiddaw House, formerly a row of shepherds' cottages, and more recently a hostel, from where easy pathless slopes can be climbed to gain Skiddaw's main summit ridge. The normal path to Skiddaw makes an excellent descent route back to Keswick and maintains the relaxed style of walking.
6 - 7 hours
1. There are two ways of starting this route. If you have transport you can cheat a bit and start at the Latrigg car park. Alternatively you can do it properly and start in Keswick. To start from Keswick follow the Cumbria Way out over the River Greta bridge past Fitz Park and on up to the Leisure Pool. From the pool continue along the Cumbria Way to Briar Rigg then follow it north east along a track and across a bridge over the A66. On the other side of the A66 continue north east along the bridleway which skirts around Latrigg to Latrigg car park.
2. From Latrigg car park follow the fenced bridleway north east then north to a fork. Take the right branch and follow it north to Whit Beck; ford the beck and turn east along the bridleway. The bridleway then turns north and makes an airy traverse underneath Lonscale Crags to the broad ridge of Burnt Horse.
3. Skirt north west around the ridge to Skiddaw House.
4. From the back of the plantation climb the path west south west over Sale How to the fence on the east side of Skiddaw. At the fence join the main bridleway and follow it through the gate as it heads north west then north along the summit crest to Skiddaw.
5. To descend from Skiddaw head south along the summit ridge then turn south east and descend to a fence and gate. Continue south east around the north east flank of Little Man to another gate. Pass through the gate and follow the bridleway as it descends the steep fellside to Hawell Monument and onto the intake wall. Join the fenced bridleway and follow this south west back to the car park. To return to Keswick retrace your steps around Latrigg and over the A66.