Lake District


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About Summiteer

~Bakestall to Skiddaw~

24th August 2019

Molly Collie

Molly ~ Long Side


High Side Parking

My last walk in the Cumbrian Fells was on 18th April this year. I wanted the comeback walk to be a good one in fine weather with appropriate ticks on my "lists" - stuff that hadn't been done before by me / Molly. I wasn't expecting this scene at High Side, just off the A591 close to Bassenthwaite village. A local property was undergoing major works and at least four of these vehicles belong to contractors, restricting spaces for walkers. I had to check the verge was not "soft" before parking and consciously reversed in, keeping the driving wheels on the firmest ground. Walk start time is 0840hrs.

Bridleway to Skiddaw House

Bridleway to Skiddaw House

We walked along tarmac for a short time to reach the bridleway (above). There is a fields route through Barkbeth, but I wasn't prepared to risk encountering cattle at this early stage, I didn't see any when looking over the hedges and fences to the right of this track.

Ullock Pike

Ullock Pike

At this stage, I wasn't sure of the return route, but one option was the fine ridge of Ullock Pike.



To the west are the modest slopes of Binsey. Molly reminded me that such was her first "Wainwright" back in May 2014. Some sheep are already taking shelter behind the wall. Global rotation will soon defeat their plan.

Molly Binsey


Dead Beck

Dead Beck

Dead Crags

Dead Crags (left) and the track up to Skiddaw House. For a short while we are in the shadow of Bakestall's northern slopes; a welcome break from the direct sunlight and associated heat. Why the four-month break from Lakeland fellwalking? Well....a family wedding, a minor operation cost me only two weeks, a great week in Herefordshire, a few wet weekends and with such great walking opportunities close to our East Lancashire home, I hadn't felt the need to frequent the Lake District. It feels good to back and the ascent of Bakestall is a new one for me; I have been to the summit previously but only on a descent route from Skiddaw - that's nothing to boast about!

Protalus Rampart

Dash Beck

The view down Dash Beck to Binsey and keen-eyed viewers will spot a "protalus rampart" beneath the track and wall and just above the beck. You may also be able to see wind farms.

Dash Falls

Dash Falls

Direct sunlight prevented my getting a fine photo the falls earlier and this close-up is a poor substitute. At the top of the falls there are some pools for canine cooling off opportunities. Assess the water flow before allowing dogs into the water...

Little Calva

Dry Gill, Little Calva

Late August is always a good time to witness the flowering heather on fellsides. Now for the first of two 900ft ascents, up Bakestall we go.

Up Bakestall

The Bakestall Ascent

Ladies leading the way. The one nearest the camera was one of those who walks a bit and runs the "easier" sections of the route; the other pair - maybe mother and daughter weren't hanging around either and kept ahead of me n' Molly all the way.

Molly Bakestall

Molly on top of Bakestall 2,189ft asl

Reading Wainwright's chapter reveals that Bakestall is the name of the summit, not the fell; all of this is the northern flank of Skiddaw. However, it presents a fine target for walkers and the interest beneath us in the form of the crags and becks is surely justification for the chapter in the Northern Fells book and the resultant 10 pages of commentary and sketches. Another cairn on the fence line up to Skiddaw is at a higher point, but this is the "top"!

Bakestall View

Bakestall View

To Skiddaw

The "Other" Cairn 2,207ft asl

Pity the poor fellbaggers who tap this cairn on their way down from Skiddaw to Dash Beck and tell their friends they have "climbed" Bakestall - at least have the decency to walk the short distance to the summit cairn a few yards away. Now a small dip in the landscape before the second 900ft ascent on the way to the top of Skiddaw.

Skiddaw's Northern Ridge

The fence line could be very useful in mist.

Skiddaw Ascent

To Skiddaw

This four month hiatus has cost me a yard or two of pace; there's no catching the pace setters.

Molly Skiddaw

Molly on top of Skiddaw 3,053ft asl

Molly's first time up here. It's 11:20hrs. A lady (out of view) has sat with her back to the Trig Point; two others have camped at the view-indicator putting a small rucksac on the viewing plate! It remains the case that almost all fellwalkers prize the brief moment that they are at the top and their souvenir is generally a photo of the summit cairn or Trig Point, or maybe a selfie or dog pic (my current fave momento). It continues to frustrate me when folk hog the summit territory. Two minutes maximum, then get away! Six minutes later...

Molly on top Skiddaw


Ullock Pike

To Ullock Pike

I have decided to take the Ullock Pike route back to the car. An option had been to walk to Keswick and catch the No.73 bus back to High Side but I figured we were better served by making it a circular walk and returning on foot to the car.

Carl Side Longside Summit
Molly on top of Carl Side 2,420ft asl
Moto Long Side 2,405ft asl

After much recent rainfall, Carlside Tarn was a safe refreshment opportunity for Molly and then it was case of some simple summiteering and list ticking for my four-legged companion. I was going to have lunch on the ridge to Ullock Pike, but several thousand pesky flies got there first.

Longside Top

Long Side

Ullock Pike Ridge

A fine ridge walk from Long Side to Ullock Pike with fine views all around.

Molly Ullock Pike

Molly on top of Ullock Pike 2,230ft asl

Ullock Pike Route

I had lunch on with this view, a few less flies down here. Of all the many ways I have climbed Skiddaw, I have yet to come up this way. One for another day.

Bassenthwaite Lake

Bassenthwaite Lake

This shows the works for the "new" aqueduct carrying water from Thirlmere to West Cumbria.


Southerndale Beck

Southerndale Beck

Barkbeth Hill

Barkbeth Hill

Easy walking across empty pastures back to the car at High Side.

High Side Parking

Two more cars have appeared and the owners have assumed that the farmer will not need access to the fields!

Keswick Cricket

Keswick Cricket

We had a warm-down walk around the park and I reflected that I could have stayed at home and watched a tortuous day of Ashes Cricket on tv. Little did I know what was to follow the day after today...

Walkers: Molly and Me.

Time taken: 5hrs over a distance of about 9 miles.

Route: High Side, road route to Peter House Farm, bridleway to Dash Falls. Bakestall and Skiddaw via the fence posts. Carl Side, Long Side, Ullock Pike and back to the car via the pastures above Barkbeth.

Weather and conditions: Warm and Sunny

Refreshments: Parked up in the shade round the back of Fitz Park, got the camping chair out, made a brew and tucked into some of my own home-made tiffin - cheap as chips!

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2019 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....