Easy Lake District Walks: Skiddaw


Lots of people come to the Lake District to walk and experience the scenery and countryside in the best way possible. If you want to do this but aren't looking for full day hikes up challenging routes, we're here to help by providing you with some easy Lake District fell walks!

Skiddaw, England's sixth-highest mountain, is a challenging walk in many ways, but it is still an easy-to-follow and non-technical route. 

Remember: although we are describing this as 'easy', you’ll still need to be properly prepared for the high fells – Skiddaw is a full 931m high! Proper boots, warm & waterproof clothing, food, a torch (just in case) and a map and compass (or other properly reliable navigation aid) are a must. Please don’t head up there in flip flops brandishing a your phone with the Google Maps app open.

Skiddaw in the Lake DistrictYou can warm up for Skiddaw with a walk up nearby Latrigg. Both routes begin from the same car park, heading in almost opposite directions, but Latrigg is a much lower mountain and better for beginners, young children, and those with lower mobility.

Drive to the hamlet of Applethwaite (1 mile away from Keswick) and park at the top of Applethwaite Lane in the roadside car park. From here, the way up Skiddaw is clearly signposted and there are a couple of interesting things to look out for on the way.

Right at the start of the ascent is the Hawell Memorial, a beautifully carved stone to the memory of local shepherd Edward Hawell. He was a renowned local sheep farmer and, following his death, his son put the wheels in motion for a memorial but sadly died a few weeks later. Canon Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust, heard of the situation and took it upon himself to finish the monument and write the inscription. It’s lovely to look at and a nice early place to pause, catch your breath, and take a moment to reflect.

Derwentwater and Keswick from SkiddawLittle Man is perhaps the most challenging part of this walk - the false summit can be a little frustrating, but your sense of elation after passing over it will be worth the effort!

The rest of the route to the summit of Skiddaw is easy to follow (assuming you haven't ventured up in thick snow!). The path is very well trodden all the way to the top, where you will also find shelters where you can rest, enjoy a sandwich, and pat yourself on your back for conquering this Lake District legend!

Once you're fully recovered and have taken your fill of the views, you can either head back down the way you came or, if you fancy a spot of navigating and a circular route, follow the track over to Skiddaw House Youth Hostel. They are very welcoming of passing guests and, if they’re open, will be happy to sell you tea and cakes while you warm your feet by the fire (they’re generally closed on Mondays and during much of the winter).

From the youth hostel simply follow the Cumbria Way (again, very clearly marked) all the way back to the car park. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

If you didn't stop off at Skiddaw House Youth Hostel on your way back down, you'll probably be ready for a hearty meal and a warm drink by this time! We recommend The Old Sawmill at Dodd Wood, The Sun Inn in Bassenthwaite, or one of the many cafés, pubs and restaurants in Keswick.

You can be practically at the foot of Skiddaw when you stay at one of our holiday cottages in Bassenthwaite, Keswick or the North West Lake District.

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