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Date & start time: Friday 6th February 2009. 11 50 am start.
Location of Event : The Gale Road car park, Latrigg, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 281 253 )
Places visited : Lonscale Fell, Jenkin Hill, Lesser Man and Skiddaw Little Man. Back via the Jenkin Hill Pony Track and the Howell Monument.
Walk details : 5.85 ml, 2275 ft of ascent, 4 hours 50 mins.
Highest point : Skiddaw Little Man 2,837ft ( 865m )
Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Brilliant winter conditions but a cold and strong wind plus some cloud up top.
Ann and myself at the end of the walk
The forecast was for a good winter day's walking so we headed for Lonscale Fell and Skiddaw Little Man.
Despite the sunshine the high winds made it really cold on the exposed slopes
so we make sure were back down before the heat of the sun was lost.
That's where we are heading - Skiddaw Little Man - the seemingly taller and snow covered summit across the valley, as seen from Whinlatter Pass.
The true summit is set back and has a light covering of cloud and so defers to Little Man for honours of being the top looking summit today.
We drove all the way up to Gale Road car park which was a slight surprise as it wouldn't have been possible a couple of weeks ago.
The snow of the last few days has melted at lower levels and access everywhere is relatively simple.
Hardy sheep in the fields at the start of the walk.
The Howell Monument - at the junction with the path to Lonscale - which we followed shortly after.
"Great Shepherd of Thy heavenly flock. These men have left our hill,
Their feet were on the living rock. Oh guide and bless them still."
The Howell inscription.
The Skiddaw House Track and Cumbrian Way.
I climbed down the slope from the monument and joined Ann on the track below.
Rather than climb Skiddaw direct we diverted towards Lonscale Fell as we haven't been there for a while.
The track across the base of the fell gave us superb views of the Helvellyn Range
from Clough Head to Helvellyn, even though it was partially obscured by cloud.
To the right are the Low Rigg and High Rigg Fells.
The gate and our turning point for the start of the main climb.
Superb views open up again . . . Keswick and Derwent Water and the backdrop of North Western and Central Fells.
Up above the snow line and the gradient eases slightly. It's a warm climb here, sheltered from the northerly wind.
The Ullswater and High Street Fells start to make an appearance behind Clough Head.
A steep slab of wind blown snow which has turned icy in the cold weather.
We could have walked around it but decided to put our micro spikes on and continue across the slippery section of the path.
Onward and upward and the view improves as we go.
Reaching the top of the fence line we turn right and climb the to the highest point at the end of the Lonscale ridge.
Harry overlooking Lonscale Crags and the Glenderaterra Valley.
Ann stands a safe distance from the edge and admires the view of Blencathra opposite.
Turning now, we start our way along the ridge of Lonscale Fell.
Our plan is to climb Skiddaw Lesser and Skiddaw Little Man, the first two bumps on the skyline.
We'll leave the main summit of Skiddaw for another day but there's some interesting cloud hugging the summit ridge.
The fence along the way has gathered some ice and looks like an oversized spider's web.
We need to cross the fence to reach the true summit of Lonscale.
Cloud builds over the summit but it's a wonderful day.
Since we reached the ridge a strong northerly breeze has added a significant wind chill into the equation.
So it's hat, winter buff, winter gloves and warm, windproof clothing.
The fence towards Burnt Horse Ridge follows an old wall line away from the ridge.
In the distance is Great Calva and Knott Fell.
We pass the frozen peat bog at Flag Pots, half way to Jenkin Hill.
Sunshine on the partially ice-covered Derwent Water.
Another long snow and ice section and it's a toss up whether to walk on the crunchy ice or on the deeper snow covered grass.
Cresting the next part of the ridge we just have to turn round and take in the view again . . . and again . . . and again !
Artistic ice on the fence again as a reel of old wire catches more than it's fair share of wind blown snow.
More of the fence and a well decorated wrought iron corner post.
Time for a Mars bar break so that we can delay lunch till the highest point of the walk.
How come the dogs are on the other side of the fence ?
The cloud is building but it's not a problem. It comes and goes as we walk along.
The gate at Jenkin Hill.
With that depth of snow it will be a while before it opens properly again.
Gaps in the cloud create magical effects as the sun shines through.
An interesting effect . . .
as the summit cloud progresses in a narrow but direct line across the valley towards Helvellyn.
A wide snow field below cut only by the Lonscale Fence and the engineered path from Latrigg to the Jenkin Hill gate.
Harry and Bethan wait by the summit cairn on Lesser Man.
Ann stops briefly on the final climb to Skiddaw Little Man itself.
A gap in the cloud allows us to see High Street once again.
The hair on the dog's backs gives the game away about the strength of the breeze.
Now to find some where quiet for lunch . . .
. . . just down from the top and with the best view in the house.
Ullock Pike and Longside Edge from the summit of Little Man as we re-climb it after our break.
Two reasons not to make the summit - the cloud obscuring any chance of a view . . . and the clock.
There are not many people about. This group of eight more or less doubles the number of people who have passed us today.
We cross the fence half way along and cut across to join the return path to Jenkin Hill.
The ice is much thicker on the fence up here.
Royal Icing ....
Blencathra is in our sights again as we turn for home.
The main path is hidden under the snow. Only the slight leveling of the ground gives the game away.
[ Add cloud and a whiteout and navigation would be very different proposition.]
Harry chasing a snowball but Bethan doesn't wish to join in it seems.
Back to the gate and the start of the path back to Latrigg.
Have the gritter's been up here ?
I don't think so, but the dark gravel surface has melted any snow that fell on it.
On the way down we met up with Michael and Jane who were up from Manchester.
They had been to the summit of Skiddaw and commented how cold it was up there.
The raised section of the engineered path
as we drop down and leave the thicker snow behind.
The sun is sinking lower in the sky as we pass the old refreshment hut platform.
Back to the Howell Memorial.
Helvellyn is clear of cloud as the late afternoon sun adds a touch of colour.
Clough Head beyond Threlkeld from the same place.
Back at Whinlatter on the way home . . . Ann catches me taking one last photo.
I think this is where we came in !
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a set of Kahtoola Micro Spikes
Previous walk - 5th February 2009 A late afternoon Knott Rigg
A previous time up here - 31st December 2001 New Years Eve 2001 from "Morning to Night "