Back o’ Skiddaw

North of Skiddaw there are a number of remote hills and we set off to climb most of them in a single walk.


Back o’ Skidda

Friday, 17 February 2017
12.68 miles/20.4 km
3,051 ft/930 m ascent
5 hours 27 minutes

… more photos on Flickr

North of Skiddaw there are a number of remote hills and we set off to climb most of them in a single walk.  Passed a man repairing an old dry stone wall as we climbed towards Brocklecrag.  When we reached the hause at the foot of Knott (2,329ft/710m), we changed our plans and added Great Calva (2,264ft/690m) to our itinery.

Pretty valley looking back to Great Cockup, with a lookout sheep.

From Orthwaite, we walked up the valley flanked by Burn Tod and Little Calva a very pretty route up – our ascent was watched by a lookout sheep.  Very wet and boggy route up Great Calva, but good views across to Knott from the summit.  Mist fell as we re-traced our steps and then climbed the grassy slope to the summit cairn.

Great Calva

From here we crossed to Great Sca Fell (2,136ft/651m) and then followed the ridge over Little Sca Fell (2,077ft/633m) to Brae Fell (1,923ft/586m)  with good views to High Pike.  From there we started the long trek out to Longlands Fell (1,585ft/483m), skirting the deep ravine.  Then re-tracing our steps to just below Little Sca Fell and then headed towards Meal Fell (1,804ft/550m).

Steep descent to Trusmadoor and then sharp climb with tired legs to the summit of Great Cockup (1,726ft/526m).  As we walked down the track we passed the dry stone waller who had completed a short section of wall in the time we had been walking.

High Tove

Saturday, 31 May 2014
2130ft/650m ascent
Wainwright #151, #152, #153, #154 & #155

Tove, noun
1) A Scandinavian female name (occasionally male).
2) A fictional creature created by Lewis Carroll (frequently “slithy”).
3) High Tove, a mountain in the Lake District (“shockingly wet” and “without any redeeming feature”).

We read the warnings in the Wainwright’s guidebook, but set out anyway to walk the ridge that separates Thirlmere from Derwent Water.  The photograph shows three perplexed fell walkers gazing over the ‘tove’ trying to spot a slightly less soggy route through the mire.  We encountered few other walkers on this route, and two of them had been in over their knees in the swamp.

Pat and Jim joined us as we walked from Ashness Bridge, gently climbing to Walla Crag (1243ft/379m) with extensive views of Skiddaw (3054ft/931m), Blencathra (2848ft/868m), Derwent Water and the fells beyond.

Walla CragBorrowdale

From this point onwards the ground got progressively wetter as we climbed for Bleaberry Fell (1936ft/590m) and then the highest hill on the walk – High Seat (1995ft/608m).

Bassenthwaite LakeHigh Seat from Armboth FellBlencathraThe View West

We spent the next two hours in an amusing stroll through the marshes of High Tove (1690ft/515m) and Armboth Fell (1572ft/479m) stopping when Pat and Jim (keen amateur naturalists) pointed out an interesting plant or moth.  (Once a tiny feature has been pointed out, you start noticing it everywhere).

Grange FellWatendlath

Leaving High Tove behind us we walked down an increasingly dry path to Watendlath and a cup of tea to celebrate our dry feet.  By now the sun was bright and warm and the walk back provided some fabulous views of Derwent Water.

Lodore WoodsDerwent WaterSkiddawSunshine Us


From the National Trust car park at NY269197.

High Seat Route

Raven Crag

Sunday, 25 May 2014
810ft/247m ascent
Wainwright #150

Another short walk through the woods to a rocky crag overlooking Thirlmere. We chose this pretty little hill to complete the first of our walking challenges: 150 Wainwrights.

If you like woodland walks, then the ascent to Raven Crag (1,512ft/461m) in May is beautiful.

Woods 2  Woods 1Woods 3

There are glimpses of the crag all the way from the start, and as you get higher the Helvellyn (3,117ft/950m)  ridge appears followed by Skiddaw (3,054ft/931m) to the North.

Clough HeadRaven Crag

Emerging at the rocks at the top of the cliff the whole length of the Thirlmere reservoir lies below and we sat in the sunshine enjoying the view.

Summit 2Summit 1


From the layby at (NY307190).  There is a pay and display car park at the nearby junction if the free parking is full.

Raven Crag Route


Monday, 14 April 2014
11.4 miles/18.3km
2730ft/831m ascent
Wainwright #131, #132, #133, #134 & #135

A rounded grass covered hill in the Lake District is called a Dodd, and the Northern end of the Helvellyn range is a series of this type of hill.  The start of the walk follows a track with views of Great Mell Fell (2,480ft/756m) and the huge sculpted mass of Blencathra (2,848ft/868m).

Great Mell FellBlencathra

The Northern-most hill of the ridge is Clough Head (2,382ft/726m) which has a stunning view of the Northern, Central and North Western fells, from the top it is possible to see Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwent Water and Thirlmere, and the distant Coniston fells and Scafell Pikes, while to the North, Blencathra and Skiddaw (3,054ft/931m) dominate.

SkiddawBlencathra 2

The most amazing view is the stacked tiers of mountains to the West.

Clough Head Summit

From Clough Head we followed the ridge South across Great Dodd (2,812ft/857m), Watson’s Dodd (2,589ft/789m) and Stybarrow Dodd (2,766ft/843m) before turning East to Hart Side (2,480ft/756m).

Great Dodd

DoddsHart Side

There is a distinctly different feeling to the rounded gentle grass covered slopes of the Dodds, compared to the craggy ridges of Helvellyn where we were walking yesterday.


The final stretch of the route is a decent through increasingly wet and boggy ground and then a disheartening uphill walk along the road back to the car.


From the car park at High Row (NY380219)

Great Dodd Route